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Kevin R. Tengesdal, Bismarck, Published March 15 2014

Letter: A kinder legacy for religious life

Is there a slow death of religious liberty? In America, race, color, national origin, choice of religion, disability and familial status are categorized as protected classes. For what reason must one’s chosen religion, which is already protected, need additional protection against an unprotected category such as gays and lesbians?

Evangelicals in the U.S. enjoy abundant religious freedom, perhaps more than any other group in this country. We are a secular state with no official religion at the federal or state level. We the people of the United States are to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and avoid preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion/non-religion over other religions/non-religion. Is your faith in God destroyed because you have chosen a religious lifestyle that differs from your neighbor who is gay?

Yes, there are Christians who are gay. Living in a pluralistic society, which grants freedom and civil rights protection to those with whom one disagrees, is not the same as religious persecution.

Regarding persecution, Jesus stated in the Beatitudes: “… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. …”

We who are Christ’s light to the world should strive for peace, mercy and humility. Why obstruct people we don’t even know from our Savior by categorizing them as “less-than”? Our legacy for God should be an altruistic mutuality in respecting and serving our neighbor. That is religious liberty.