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With “The Donald Show,” sometimes referred to as the 2016 presidential election, still sucking most of the air out of political news coverage, it’s not surprising that almost any issue worthy of discussion has been relegated to a back-burner. And, so it is with LGBT issues.

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Religious and LGBT Folk Look to the Constitution —Carl Matthes

However, out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.

As an example, conservative religious folk held sway at the writing of the GOP platform committee. They were able to get four of their important religiously inspired issues written into the platform. They are:

1) “The American family...natural marriage (is) the union of one man and one woman...we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

In 2016 America, we already know that families consist of more than a “union of one man and one woman.” The Constitution supports this. Today’s diverse family continues to be the foundation of society. Religious leaders need to project this truth and the faithful may open their hearts even more and welcome all - as equals - into His family.

Christians want to make sure that all families are strong and safe while protecting their health and securing an education for each child. Loving congregations need to find additional ways to help families facing divorce and the scourge of drug or alcohol abuse. I am amazed at the growing number of married (and unmarried) LGBT couples who are raising and caring for children.

2) “We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.”

Religious folk take seriously the rules and guidance of their particular religion. One of the basic rights of all Americans is to practice a religion of their choice. The rules and beliefs of Catholics differ from the rules and beliefs of Baptists. I think LGBT folk agree that Congress must not overturn the Constitution and institute a national religion or favor one religion over another. Of course, everyone is free to choose no religion.

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I don’t know of a single LGBT person who argues that Christians should undergo aversion therapy to cure them of their Christianity. However, some well-meaning devout Christian folk, don’t yet understand that you can’t pray the spots off of a leopard.

People of the Muslim faith are being singled out for particular scrutiny. There are calls to not allow members of that faith from coming into our nation and, worse, that American Muslims should be watched with suspicion. Denying basic rights and services to fellow Americans based on how they look, how they worship or who they love, is not Constitutional. I think religious leaders can perform an important duty to their faithful congregants, and our nation, by fully implementing Mark 12:17, "Jesus said, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

3) “We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.” (The platform makes no specific mention of gay conversion therapy, but critics say that passage is aimed at accepting the notion that one's sexual orientation can be changed.)

I don’t know of a single LGBT person who argues that Christians should undergo aversion therapy to cure them of their Christianity. However, some well-meaning devout Christian folk, don’t yet understand that you can’t pray the spots off of a leopard.

4) “...reaffirmed language...regarding bathroom and locker room use for transgender people that aligns with the sex on their birth certificates.”

According to reports, Donald Trump has kept his distance from the transgender bathroom issue, saying in the spring that “Caitlyn Jenner is welcome to use whichever bathroom she wants at his properties.” Despite pleas from some delegates asking the platform committee “to strike language that condemns the Obama administration for telling schools to allow students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their gender identity, the RNC draft platform says the guidance is 'illegal and dangerous' and 'alien to America’s history and traditions.'”

However, even on this newest LGBT social issue, religious folk are not finding it easy to accept what is actually happening around them in the secular world.

For instance, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the so-called “bathroom bill.” The bill requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender at birth. Opponents of the bill said it targeted transgendered individuals and could lead to LGBT discrimination. The NBA and the Charlotte Hornets failed in its lobbying efforts in the state legislature to change the law.

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I think LGBT and religious folk need to keep looking to the U.S. Constitution for strength and guidance.

Carl Matthes