A Comment on Carrie Underwood Endorsing Gay Marriage & the Backlash

The following is a guest post by an American reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

Country superstar Carrie Underwood has gone 180 degrees against the Country current by endorsing gay marriage. In an interview with The Independent UK, she had the following to say on the matter:

“As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry,” she said. “I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”

“Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me’. No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”

I am not pro-gay marriage. Not for religious reasons but for reasons I will talk about later on.

The responses her endorsment has been getting are mixed between those who approve based on liberal ideologies and those who disapprove based on a twisted understanding of the bible.

The infamous verse that is quoted nowadays is Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Bible-nazis are taking this sentence and flaunting it around. If you don’t follow it, then you are not a proper Christian.

Well, I’ve got a few words for them. And what better words than from the Bible itself.

Exodus 21:7:  “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do.” Would those Bible-loving men and women sell their daughters as servants? I don’t think so. That’s one thing of the Bible they wouldn’t abide with.

Leviticus 25:44: “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.” According to another Leviticus passage, I’m allowed to have slaves provided they are from neighboring countries. Does that mean illegal Mexican immigrants are our slaves now? The Bible says so. It must be. No?

Leviticus 11:10: “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.” The Bible forbids me from eating things coming out of the Sea. But I’m a seafood lover. Do you eat seafood? If you do, then you must stop. Immediately. The Bible demands it.

Leviticus 19:27: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” This states that men are not allowed to cut their hair nor shave. Do you cut your hair?

Leviticus 19:19: “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” To the awesome Americans of the Bible-belt, many of you have farms, right? Do you have different types of animals in your farms? Do you grow different crops? Because if you do, then you are committing blasphemy, in which case Leviticus would also demand that the entirety of your town comes forward to stone you.

The thing about Leviticus, my fellow Christians, is that it is part of the old testament and it is what Jesus Christ came to Earth to change. The thing about Leviticus, my fellow Christians, is that the only part of it that you know is the part pertaining to homosexuality.

When it comes to my Christianity, it’s about the message Jesus wanted to bring forward: a message of love.

Jesus Christ forgave those that were killing Him before he died on the Cross. Leviticus would call upon those people to be stoned and burned. Jesus Christ called on those without a sin to cast the first stone. Jesus knew that none of us is without sin. Jesus knew that when it comes to life, compassion is the most important emotion to get us by. Compassion makes everything else seem so small.

So next time you want to quote the Bible to prove a point, make sure you quote the part that makes you a Christian today: the New Testament, whose pages are all about the redemptive power of love.

When it comes to me, I’m not pro-gay marriage but that doesn’t mean I’m against those who are homosexual. How’s that? As I look around, I see families crumbling around me. The concept of a family sticking together like my grandparents did, for more than fifty years, is becoming more and more nonexistent. My parents got divorced when I was ten. My cousins’ parents divorced when she was twelve.

Out of my high school friends, at least half of them came from houses where they were raised by a single parent – and not because “death did them part.”

With crumbling family values and surging divorce rates, I don’t approve of adding another portion of society to the whole mess of marriage because, like it or not, homosexuals feel the way we do and they change their mind. And because the notion of marital love fades away after the initial infatuation and many are left wondering: Is this really what I signed up for?

Moreover, you don’t want the kids gay couples will adopt to be more disoriented than those of heterosexuals couples as well in case of a divorce.

And as a cherry on top, I think there are way more important issues that are worth the discussion today than this. Just a quick question to illustrate this point: how would any married couple, regardless of what that couple is, have an optimal marriage in the horrid economy we live in?

When it comes to Carrie Underwood’s comment, I am neutral. I like what she said because it doesn’t seem forced. She’s not telling people what to believe like many other celebrities do. She’s stating her belief. On the other hand, in a time when much more serious things are happening around the world than accepting gay marriage or not, I think other stances precede this in importance. And for an artist who had publicized her refusal to comment on anything of a political nature, regardless of how she spins it, I wonder what changed her mind.

There will be backlash. It has already started. It won’t be pretty. But kudos for Carrie for saying what she believes in, despite it coming out of the blue.

To conclude, here’s a quote for you all:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Ghandi.

You have your Christianity and I have mine.

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AUB Purposefully Losing Its Identity

Whenever you recite the following Bible verse: “that they may have life and have it abundantly” in Lebanon, the first thing that comes to a person’s mind is the country’s most prestigious educational facility: the American University Of Beirut.

The moment you walk into AUB’s campus, you are striken by how different it is from the city in which it is found. It’s a piece of land inside Beirut where buildings are, unlike their Beiruti counterparts, being preserved, where trees grow freely (and where cats roam without being disturbed). College Hall, the building that first welcomes you when you enter through AUB’s Main Gate was totally destroyed in a bombing that targeted it in the 1990s. However, the university rebuilt it exactly as it was. AUB was an example of cherishing legacy in a country that is running away from its past as fast as it could do so.

Next to College Hall is a building that looks like a chapel. It has the Protestant architecture of a chapel. It even has an Organ inside. And to make its original purpose even less inconspicuous, it has a Cross on its roof. However, what used to be a church was transformed into what is today AUB’s Assembly Hall – a place where students gather for commencement, concerts, etc…

The change that “Assembly Hall” faced was considered as the ultimate change in the face of AUB, previously known as the Syrian Protestant College, which was founded in 1866 by American missionaries Daniel Bliss and Henry Jesup.

AUB today is a secular campus in a country that is striving to attain a secular situation. It is a place where people from all sects and religions can attend and expect to obtain the best level of education that Lebanon has to offer – and that is a great amount. However, no one expected the decision taken by the AUB administration to change the university’s most famous slogan into one that does not have any religious affiliation.

Yes, the verse “that they may have life and have it more abundantly” will apparently be changed into some other phrase, as part of the university’s new marketing campaign – to “better the university image”.

The questions beg themselves. Does the AUB administration think the current reputation AUB has cannot withstand the fact that its founders chose a very poignant Bible verse to anoint the university with? Do they really think AUB benefits from anything that takes away of its 150 years of history, let alone a meaningless campaign to attract more students, one that will be forgotten in a few months? And do they really think that the current AUB image is improved by changing the verse that is written on its Main Gate as a way to tell all the ultimate purpose of attending the university?

AUB is slowly eating away at what makes it a special beacon in Lebanon and the Middle East. AUB used to be a revolutionary facility where scholastic evolution merged with a sense of historical belonging. It looks like the strings of this sense of belonging are being slowly chipped away by the lure of more dollars flowing in to an already overflown treasury.

You’d think what has already taken place at AUB regarding the separation of religion from the university is enough. The steps taking place today can be described as a form of administrative theophobia.

The improvement of AUB’s image does not start by removing the phrase that would make any AUB student proud to hear. It starts by improving the university programs to a point where they can compete better with universities abroad. It starts with giving us better labs, where we can stretch our wings a little outside the tiny boxes in which we are bound by professors whose knowledge in their courses has been hampered by their sense of megalomania and it starts by getting down from the high-horse this administration has fabricated around itself and realizing that, if AUB continues on the path it’s on, the only way to go is down.