July 15, 2010 | by Robert Turner
Ain’t I an American?

More than 230 years ago, 56 of our forefathers signed their names to a document that stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today, there are millions of Americans who are denied these self-evident truths daily. Today, there is talk of liberty, freedom and patriots. But there is only liberty and justice for some. To be considered a patriot, one has to subscribe to a narrow scope of ideas and beliefs. And religion.

It is sad that the mantle of religion continues to be used to keep certain groups of people down. We condemn the radical Islamic Muslims who attack our country and seek to do us harm, but remain deafeningly silent when those attacks come from within. You know who they are.

In one breath, they demand religious freedom from the government, while seconds later, insist on their religion being the status quo.

Groups like the Concerned Women for America, who on the one hand say they support the rights of individuals to pray, worship and express their beliefs without fear of discrimination or persecution, while the other hand is trying to keep us in our place.

I’m a Christian, but I am not a religious man. Many will declare that that to be a contradiction in terms. But I would offer them the fact that they used the crutch of religion to prolong slavery. They used religion to deny equal rights to women. And now, in this latest dark chapter of our America, they are trying to use religion to deny equal protection under the law to gays and lesbians.

My response to them and to anyone who will attempt to deny me is simple: Ain’t I an American?

What is socially stable about denying American citizens the basic human right to marry? Champions of “traditional marriage,” as it were, are often on their second and third marriages themselves. But I guess they are a different type of American.

Martin Luther King famously wrote in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” “An unjust law is one that a majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.”

Liberty is supposed to be the positive enjoyment of social, political and economic rights and privileges; the power of choice. Liberty is supposed to represent America and her ideals. Well, ain’t I an American?

If we are to let the mantle of freedom ring from every mountainside, we must remove the shackles and restraints of the religious culture wars hell bent on exerting their views on others. Freedom should be readily available to all of this country’s citizens.

It is a logical antecedent that if the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the backbone of this great nation, then every American citizen must be treated equally and afforded the same rights. If not, then we must lay claim to the fact that we indeed live in an oligarchic controlled society.

And I refuse to accept that we are willing to continue to accept a fate where every few years, we go knocking on the doors of Congress and the White House, asking piecemeal for a few loaves of bread. We must all now stand up and demand our equal rights. We should no longer let those who would oppress us dictate the terms of the debate. And to this point, I specifically speak to members within my own Republican Party. We must show that our “homosexual agenda” is not one of special rights, but of equal rights – equal protection under the law. Because after all, we are all Americans.

Robert Turner is president of the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. Reach him at robert.turner@dclogcabin.org.

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