Well, it’s been four days since Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the most populous state in the nation and everything seems to be continuing as normal. Anarchy doesn’t reign, nobody’s petitioning to marry their livestock and gay people aren’t fornicating in the streets. Strangely, there’s a part of me that’s just a little disappointed. Not that I wanted, or even expected, any of that to happen. But, every time the subject comes up, those opposed to same-sex unions always proclaim that allowing our LGBT brothers and sisters to enjoy the same rights as those of us who are straight will destroy the institution of marriage and perhaps even bring about the demise of our country. And I just want to know how. Seriously, just once, I’d love to hear a cogent argument on the subject. But, that’s not possible because that cogent argument doesn’t exist. Not only that, the very idea espoused in the thought that same-sex marriage is a terrible thing flies in the face of the Gospel.
When asked how to attain eternal life, Jesus answered “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” And, I firmly believe that things like denying basic civil rights to anyone, for any reason, is in direct contradiction to that statement. So are things like the service represented in the video at the beginning of this post. I know it’s kind of long, but you get the gist of what it’s about pretty quick. I keep telling myself that the people in that video are just doing what they think God wants them to do. But, I can’t get past the fact that what they are telling those young people who are streaming forward during the altar call is incredibly damaging. A person’s sexuality is at the core of their being and telling someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning or any other orientation that’s out of the mainstream (i.e. like us) that there’s something wrong with them attacks that core. In another video, Damon Thompson (the “pastor” in ours) says that the reason gay teens commit suicide isn’t because they’ve been bullied, it’s because they’re gay; that these young people hate themselves because they’re dealing with the “demonic force of homosexuality”. I suggest to Thompson, and others who preach a similar message, that if LGBT teens hate themselves it’s not because of shadowy demonic forces. They hate themselves because they’ve been told they’re hateful all their lives. The saddest, sickest part is this message has come from the one place that should be giving them hope, the church. Instead of the grace, hope and unconditional acceptance Jesus extended during His earthly ministry, all too often the church is a place of condemnation and rejection. It’s high time that stopped.
This weekend, at the Wild Goose Festival, I was listened to a panel discussion on sexuality and justice. During the discussion, Andrew Marin stated that justice must be just for everyone, otherwise it’s not justice. I couldn’t agree more, there’s not a lot of grace in forcing someone to do something in direct contravention of deeply held beliefs. But, I say there’s even less grace in allowing anyone to deny another’s humanity. For any reason, whatsoever.