By Bill Spadea
This post originally appeared at NJ 101.5
It’s that simple, the Washington Blade lied in an attempt to damage the reputation of New Jersey’s longest serving Member of Congress. Shame on all the advocates who took the Blade headline and ran with the smear campaign against a man who has served his constituents faithfully and successfully for decades. Shame on all the opinion pieces that immediately launched in an effort to pile on to the #AgendaNews being pushed through a false headline and story. Thankfully, honest journalists like Jeff Edelstein, despite his political opposition to Smith’s positions, did not hesitate to speak out.
Beyond the disgrace of lying to damage a person innocent of the accusation is the outright condemnation of his positions, which are in line with his faith. Like me, Congressman Smith is a faithful Catholic. Many Christians, Jews and Muslims around the globe believe that children are best raised by a mother and a father. Billions of faithful Christians, Jews and Muslims also believe that there are some actions that are sinful and they purposefully teach their children to embrace their faith. Most religious people also understand that as much as they “hate the sin”, they can in turn “love the sinner”.
This is hard to digest by many people raised in our current society of “anything and everything” goes. We have parents telling kids who have not yet begun puberty that it’s OK to identify as a gender other than their birth sex. We have advocates bringing intense pressure against religious institutions and private businesses to conform to the modern definitions of marriage and family. We have people who are gay immediately condemning anyone who doesn’t accept their lifestyle as bigots.
Congressman Smith spoke correctly, the law of the land is settled. Government recognizes that marriage and family units are no longer confined to traditional, faith-based definitions of one man and one woman pro-creating and raising children. So why the continued effort to attack people of faith?
For Christians, Jews and Muslims, who choose to continue to practice their faith and raise their families in a traditional way, the laws do not influence their faith. And that is perfectly fine. If the LGBTQ community advocates are free to exercise their liberty under the law, then certainly it’s time for them to accept that there are those who disagree and exercise some tolerance of their own.
Remember, disagreements are not bigotry. Bigotry and discrimination certainly exist in our society. And as society evolves, we have achieved a level of tolerance in America that is far beyond the rest of the world. Despite how great America is and how many diverse opinions and lifestyles are accepted, we still have advocates willing to lie to disparage people of faith.
What are they afraid of? Why lie about a man who has been nothing, but open and honest about his faith and beliefs? ‘Group think’ presumes that the modern definition of marriage and families is the right definition. But if only one view is accepted as right, then surely, the opposing view must be wrong. That’s a dangerous place for our nation to be headed.
It’s time for two things. First, if you are an advocate for LGTBQ rights, then look at the success of the changes in laws around the country and celebrate. Second, stop vilifying people of faith who don’t agree with you. Certainly, if you’re gonna pick a fight, at least don’t lie to disparage good people simply because they have a different opinion.
On the other side, it’s time for people of faith to stop apologizing for their beliefs. As a Catholic, I’m proud. Proud of our traditions. Proud of our acceptance of people who practice lifestyles that we believe don’t fit into a Christian model. Proud of being able to balance interaction in society with people of all different faiths, lifestyles and attitudes and not allow ‘group think’ to change our core principles. Be proud of who you are. And be proud of who you want your children to grow up to be. Tolerance is a two way street.