Proposition 1 and Polk County

Published 10:26 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

It seems that the battle over same sex marriages personified in Proposition 1, an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage between a man and a woman as the only domestic union legally valid, has come to the idyllic small towns and rural communities that make up Polk County.  Yet all of us should beware the consequences of the fight over the passage of Proposition 1 no matter its fate.  Like a Damoclean sword, it hangs by a hair over our perception of who and what we are as neighbors and as a community.  That proposition will amend the lives of many of us.
The first predictable outcome of all the attention and debate probably will be muted and long-term, namely that of “raising people’s awareness” as it was called in the 1960s. Although overly emotionalized, the debate itself brings into focus an issue more hushed than discussed, more avoided than asserted here in the foothills.  Ultimately, it’s good to know what kind of community we really have in Polk County.
The second, that of a harsh, moralizing opposition, will be instant, personal, reflexive and judgmental.  Not surprisingly, it largely will be male.  Anyone who has read the Tryon Daily Bulletin’s April 4th issue surely must be struck by that fact.
Moreover, advocates of Proposition 1 usually and often mask themselves behind religion to silence any disagreement and justify any anti-gay argument.  In a southern culture like that of Tryon’s, religion has an almost unassailable and iconic status. Why are same sex marriages and same sex practices wrong?  Simple — Rev. Warren Elliott, an advance man for God’s judgment, says it is so, and anyone who can read passages like those in Genesis and Leviticus knows that.
Yet all of us should be wary of what the Bible “says” about contemporary issues like same sex marriage and homosexuality.   Before me I have a Word in Life Study Bible of the New Testament.  I expected but could not find marriage mentioned between “lust” and “men.”  My new revised standard version of the Bible doesn’t even have a glossary or index at all.  Many older Bibles do not.  In fact, a great many but not all Biblical indexes, glossaries and references avoid contemporary subjects altogether, preferring instead timeless ones like kindness, love, grace and duty.