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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Peoples, Two Elections

North Carolina and France face elections that are very important in the lives of their citizenry -- and not merely in the lives of a minority.

In North Carolina the question is a proposed constitutional amendment to define the only kind of "domestic legal union" as "marriage between one man and one woman". It is a horrid proposal. It's poorly written, even by the admission of some of its original proponents in the NC General Assembly who cannot predict its unintentional consequences. Worse, it would pour discriminatory and inflammatory concrete into the very document that is supposed to protect minorities from whims of the majority.

Conservatives/evangelicals know that their grip on politics during the last 15 years is passing, and so they are desparate for a legacy that will be difficult to undo. I hope the amendment is rejected, but the outcome is uncertain. Even if it is adopted, its tenure will be short. Either repeal or voiding at the federal level is inevitable. As the song says, We Shall Overcome.

In France the issue is the future of the country given the influx of Muslims and a subsequent cultural and religious discontinuity. The percentage of Muslim population in France is difficult to know with precision, but at the national level it's between 4 and 10%. In some cities such as Marseilles the percentage is higher, and in some suburbs of Paris the percentage is higher still.

Backlash against Muslims is a major theme of the election, and backlash is not limited to supporters of the Far Right.

A gay person in North Carolina and a Muslim in France have reason to fear the outcome of these elections, but so do straight persons in North Carolina and adherents of other faiths (as well as atheists and agnostics) in France. The majority must not turn back the clock to the bad old days when minorities were identified and persecuted simply because they were different. Let's embrace a better future -- and, if you happen to be Christian, a future that is more consonant with the Gospels -- instead of striving to preserve a regrettable past.