Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gay Marriage and all the Bigger Issues around It

I am immensely thankful for my experiences in high school. I attended a little utopia of cultural integration, the likes of which exist few places, if anywhere, on earth. The greatest thing about it, is that while there, we, at the end of the day, all managed to work toward our individual goals and exist together. Through experience and instruction in that environment, I learned not to equate "normal" with "good" or "moral", and to regularly question  my assumptions, behaviors and comforts.

Another takeaway from that environment, was getting used to living in mixed environments with people who were different and whose lives were in direct contrast to my own. I live that way now (as is my preference) so when the discussion of Gay marriage came to a head again with our President sharing his view on the issue, I started seeing a firestorm of different opinions from people around me...even within groups. I have a lot of pastors in my life...some hardcore Right-wing, others staunch members of the Christian Left, all of various races. Even within the Black church, I'm seeing disagreement on the issue.

I think the first opportunity for Christians (or anyone for that matter) in situations like this is to examine ourselves, our behaviors and our practices. I've been disappointed and uplifted on many levels through all this...

  • Disappointed because, for many, there has yet to be any mention of the word "love" regarding addressing the struggles of our Gay/Lesbian brothers and sisters. These people are facing deprivation of the very basic necessities of life (not just marriage), and as Christians, we shouldn't sweep that issue under the rug because we disagree with their sexual practices. 
  • Disappointed in some Black people because, at the end of the day, we are talking about denying a group of people their rights, and we should be able to at least empathize.
  • Hopeful because the discussion is being had at all and I can see changes, small though they may be, in the treatment of GLBT people around me. 
  • Disappointed, because the Bible teaches against many things...especially remarriage after divorce equaling adultery, yet no one is talking about that at either a civil or a sacred level. I genuinely think that's because for 99.999% of Christians against Gay marriage, their motives are based not on wanting to apply scripture at a national level, but instead on sexual prejudices and wanting to continue to exclude and "one up" people who are different. 
  • Hopeful, because I see many Christians opening up to treating people of different sexual orientations as equals and welcoming them into the church. 
  • Hopeful because I feel that maybe, we can kick off a genuine discussion of the place the application of scripture plays in civil issues.
So yeah...this is going to be a hard one. Personally, I cannot in good conscience deny people rights that I freely grant to others who are also engaged in "sinful unions" based solely only their demographic, regardless of what I believe about their sexual practices. I'm still mulling over the concept of separation of church and state but honestly, I think we all need to go to civil unions (for both Gay and Straight) and make marriages like funerals with more religious meaning than legal.

I do, however, feel churches shouldn't have to perform ceremonies they feel support sinful behavior...yes, that might result in the loss of their tax exempt status but I'm pretty sure tax breaks are not a God-given right

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