TRAVIS WALTERS News Editor
Religion, as always, played an important role in our recent election. Issues like abortion and gay marriage draw responses from all faiths and non-believers. A priest in my home state of South Carolina asked his parishioners to repent before accepting communion if they voted for Barack Obama, the pro-choice candidate. I know a few people of the Catholic faith and I know abortion is a controversial topic within the church, so I won’t make any sweeping declaration that “all Catholics” side one way or the other. However, I think it’s quite irresponsible to vote for someone who’ll lead a nation that has a myriad of other issues to deal with.
The people I know said they felt like they were being pressured by their priest to vote for McCain simply because of this one issue. Parishioners at the church in South Carolina picketed outside for both sides. Some saying the criticism of the priest was unwarranted because abortion is murder, while others thought it was silly to have to repent before taking communion.
Another popular issue among those of faith is gay marriage, which in a breathtaking act of legislative gay bashing was banned in California, Arizona and Florida. The vote in California came under particular scrutiny because those campaigning for Proposition 8 received a lot of their funding from the Mormon Church. Why the Mormon Church thinks it has any place giving criticism on social behavior, given their own grievous failures in that arena is beyond my understanding.
Protests of the church and those in it have sprung up across the nation. The Sundance Film Festival is being boycotted this year, along with the Marriott Hotel chain. The CEO, J. W. Marriott, Jr. is an active member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Other protests swept the nation over the weekend.
The civil rights movement in this country has come far. No clearer example of that could be found than the latest; on Nov. 4th we elected our first African-American President. Yet, if we have learned anything through the civil rights struggle, it is that we cannot ever rest. As soon as we have achieved some victory, no matter how great, the next fight stands before us.
The struggle we face now would give rights to the gay community. Just as with African-Americans, women, the elderly, the infirm, the disabled and the countless other minority voices, the gay community fights for what should be theirs by birth in a free country.
I suspect abortion will take a good while longer to sort out. But, despite that, like a pro-life supporter at that church in South Carolina said, Obama is still our 44th President and as Americans we’ll support him. The struggle is often fraught with failure, humility and despair. It will accept this next thing, this next piece of the human puzzle. And it will move on to the next thing. Our nation is rich with the living history of past success that proves that adversity can be overcome and often is.