R-71, Religious Association, and My Pentecostal Experience

Krist Novoselic's column runs every Tuesday on the Daily Weekly.
When I lived in Yugoslavia, most of my relatives were either dogmatic Catholics or dogmatic Marxists. The schism would manifest itself most notably at funerals, where Marxists would refuse to enter the church and stood outside for the services of Catholics.

The totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe hardly tolerated homosexuality, one of the issues on which you'd find Catholics and Marxists in agreement. And forget about any referendum on the policies of either the church or state apparatus.

Back in the U.S.A., and later in my teens, my folks had a short association with some Pentecostals. They were nice people, and I remember the preacher played a cool Gibson hollow-body electric guitar. This denomination of rollers knew how to rock!

The preacher was interested in saving my soul. I agreed to try it, so we found a private place and sat down. He started praying and speaking in tongues. It got intense, but nothing happened. I told him that it would probably come on slowly. I don't think this worked for my parents either, and this group fell out of our lives. I've had other experiences with people trying to save me, but the results were the same. I am still a believer, but it's a personal thing and I'll keep it to myself.

I know many folks who hold a faith that is a central part of their lives. I respect that. And religious associations, i.e., churches, are an important part of the fabric of our communities. And faith can be a good moral compass that not only benefits a person's life, but the others around them.

For many people, the debate over Washington's new domestic-partnership law is about a clash of church and state. People think lawmakers in Olympia, by extending domestic-partnership benefits to same-sex couples, have violated religious tenets. If I see it on the ballot, I'm going to vote yes to approve R-71 and keep our state's new domestic-partnership law. I don't have a problem with my gay/lesbian friends and neighbors enjoying state-recognized domestic-partnership benefits. But others don't share my view, and the rules say we can revisit Olympia's new law. So I guess a referendum is a fair endeavor. It's all part of this messy thing we call democracy.

In the end, if it's about personal faith, I really don't see the need for the fuss of a referendum. Regardless of domestic partnership's approval or rejection by voters, if you believe there will be another judgment on the issue--outside of this mortal realm--then things are going to be settled, regardless of where your friends and family choose to stand at your funeral.

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