The Oct. 1 letter, “Federalism offers best path,” suggested a return to the concept of federalism in resolving the divisions between groups of Americans. The author was specifically addressing the conflict over granting equal legal rights to marriage for people of the same gender.
The idea of federalism is to allow maximum flexibility concerning the people with whom we choose to associate and, if I understand the author’s point, to whom we should grant certain legal rights.
The author stated, “People don’t want to compromise their values …” and “We need to remember that no set of laws can be completely fair to every citizen.”
I share his preference for flexibility but strongly oppose, as did the “framers” whom he mentioned, the idea that religious prejudices should be incorporated into laws.
Also, I insist that any law, in order to be legitimate, must be fair to all adult citizens.
We have all the flexibility we need, right now, in our abilities to change our attitudes. Our differences need not and should not be institutionalized with laws.
The Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge is a shining example of such voluntary “flexibility.”
We are a community of people with tremendous differences, all getting along happily and helpfully under one roof.
Our ranges of differences exist from homeless to wealthy, liberal to libertarian, devout followers of all major and minor religions to atheists and, I’m sure, many other differences of which I am not yet aware.
One of the principles upon which we insist is the acceptance of all humans, indeed, all life, as being of equal value and a part of the “interweaving web of creation.”
Is this not the same idea as that professed by Jesus when he told the Pharisees that the “kingdom of God” is within each of us?
How can people who profess to worship Jesus turn their backs on others simply because they don’t share their views? Given their claimed beliefs, how can they even desire to do so in the first place?
I have a profound fondness for the many different people that I know at my church and find that I, even with my notable quirks, am also loved and accepted.
Being one who has worked all his life to eradicate his ignorance and prejudices, I gladly associate with people of differing views and backgrounds, in part because they show me different ways of viewing and understanding the world.
But then, perhaps that’s what sets my friends and me apart from much of the rest of the populace. We desire to embrace the infinite diversity of all creation, whereas others, it seems, wish to shut it out — by governmental dictate, if necessary.
Wayne L. Parker