Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happily Ever After

Okay, I may be excommunicated for this but I’m actually kind of hoping they pass the whole Gay Marriage thing in New York. Now I don’t particularly have a desire to go to a gay wedding. Unless I knew and was especially fond of the groom or… the groom; I would not really care one way or the other. Of course, in that case I would probably not be invited anyway, but more power to 'em.

I'll admit, seeing a guy making out with a guy or a gal making out with another gal is still a bit weird to me. Blame it on my upbringing. Blame it on my religion. Blame it on society. Blame it on whatever you want. It just doesn't make me sigh in an "oh isn't that romantic" kind of way. If I'm being honest, liberal as I am, I'd have to confess to wincing on occasion. (Come to think of it, I've winced at a few hetero kisses too, but probably not for same reason.)

But still I am rooting for legal gay marriage. I didn’t just jump on the band wagon. I wrestled with the Catholic thing. I wrestled with the tradition thing. I wrestled with the vision of wedding pictures that have no bride and receptions where two bouquets get tossed. I prayed a lot about it.

But it came down to law and religion. Church and State. There is simply no way you can read the Constitution of these United States and its treasured Amendments and conclude that banning gay marriage is anything but discrimination. You just can’t. We are all created equal. Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not predicated on race, gender or gender preference. Happily Ever After is for Prince Charming and his Mr. Right too, whether you like it or not. And if you don’t like it, well then that just sucks for you doesn’t it?

I don’t mean to be cruel to the fundamentalist Christians and Catholics whose sensitive stomachs are roiling at the thought. But that’s life guys. I know you’re thinking, “But this is a Christian nation founded by Christian men whose values and faith are the reason we have such a great nation. If we validate this abomination we will offend our Creator.”

Uh…no. Seriously, Don’t you think racism, poverty, greed and violence offend our Creator a heck of a lot more than two dudes declaring undying love? Let’s shift some priorities folks. And the whole “Christian Nation” thing necessitates a bit of clarification.

Yes, our founding fathers were largely, if not entirely, Christian. Yes, Christianity is very likely the largest single faith professed by our population. But that’s where the term “Christian Nation” ends its accuracy. It does not mean that the USA is a nation ONLY for Christians. It does not mean the laws are made only for us and to hell (literally and figuratively) with everyone else. We don’t get to make the rules and force them on everyone else. You can’t make it mean that no matter how many times you spam your buddies with adulterated copies of George Washington’s Prayer for our Nation. If that’s what Christian Nation meant there would be no identifiable difference between living here and living in say, Iran.

And it it’s dangerous to argue that because we are the majority that we have the right to exclude others from the same rights that we enjoy. Think about it people. You know there’s a lot of folks getting into the occult these days. What if one day THEY are the majority and decide to slam us? Precedent can be dangerous if it’s set on injustice. In fact that is exactly what our founding fathers were guarding against. Injustice, I mean, not Satanism.

These were men who still remembered the religious persecutions suffered by the Pilgrims who first ventured here. In fact, some of them lived through such things themselves. The guys who INVENTED this country were the same guys who INVENTED SEPARATION of CHURCH and STATE. They knew that religious totalitarianism is by far the worst kind.

So it begs the question: Why would they as Christians establish a government and endow it with the capability to refute and reject the very Author of their faith? For the same reasons God would create the human race and endow it with the capability to reject Him out of hand too. Because Faith and Freedom are inextricable. Only a people who are free to reject God can develop the faith to truly love God. Only those who are slaves to their own self-loathing will feel redeemed by ramming God down the throats of others. After all if nobody questions Him, then maybe the doubts in their own secretly tormented souls will subside. Our founding fathers established our laws to preserve our freedoms and keep the peace between us. But only a true Faith, freely practiced, can give us peace within ourselves.

Denying the Gay and Lesbian community the rights that they were born with as Americans (even if we haven’t acknowledged it yet) will give neither them nor the Hetero community any peace. Homosexuals will still be there. If you are homophobic you will still have to live in a reality where they exist. So you will still be frustrated. You will still refuse to Tivo "Will & Grace." I will still wince at girl-girl french kissing.

The only way you will find peace is to trust God. Love gays and lesbians as they are and allow them the freedom to hear Him without your condemnation ringing in their ears. If He wants to change them He’ll do it. And if it turns out that He made them that way on purpose and didn’t bother to inform the rest of us, then you won’t be annoying the crap out Him anymore with your insistence that he HEAL them.

“But it’s IN THE BIBLE!” you say, “The Bible says it’s evil. We have to make it law.” You are SO barking up the wrong tree with that argument. The Bible has historically been used to justify all manner of atrocity and injustice. Here’s just a few… racism, spousal abuse, child abuse, vigilantism, genocide, animal cruelty and, oh yes, SLAVERY. Remember, BLACK WOMAN here! If we were still singing that song, I'd be pickin' cotton right now. You buy yourself no brownie points with the “It’s in the Bible” argument. And, by the way, every one of those “Bible sanctified” injustices is now ILLEGAL in this Christian Nation!

Now that does that mean I think that Christian Churches should start performing Gay ceremonies left and right. HECK NO! Are you kidding? We as Christians are not ready for that? We may never be. Because there is a biblical basis (notice I say a “basis” not a “justification”) for not accepting homosexuality. Until we hear otherwise from the Big Guy, it is necessary for the faith that such weddings be conducted outside the Church. Is that a cop out? Maybe, maybe not. I think it was Paul who advised the early church in its internal disputes between Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles over which dinner menus were divinely acceptable (food and sex are so closely intertwined in the human psyche that I think it applies here too) ...

I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; still, it is unclean for someone who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being hurt by what you eat, your conduct is no longer in accord with love. Do not because of your food destroy him for whom Christ died. Romans 14; 14–15

I think for Christians who are convinced of the wrongness of homosexuality it would be damaging to their faith to see it condoned by the church. Maybe that makes us all weak. But rubbing a social victory in someone’s face spiritually is wrong regardless of whether it’s your civil right or not. It’s not good to ram spiritual reform down people’s throats in the church any more than it is to do it in government. So don’t look to me to write any protest letters to churches supporting gay marriage or gay clergy or anything like that.

You know, I sometimes wish there was nothing about homosexuality in the bible. But it’s there and I don’t pretend it isn’t. I just keep thinking with all I know of God; not just that harsh handful of verses, but EVERYTHING; does it jibe? Honestly I don’t think it does, unless I’m missing some key piece of the puzzle. I’m sure I am because God is complicated and we are complicated children. But who’s to say what piece is missing.

So much of the Bible was based on the cultures of the time. We could never live in those cultures today, should we really be living with their prejudices? You don’t give your 5-year-old to the same responsibilities as your 15-year-old. You wait for them to grow up some more. Maybe God wants us to be able to spiritually grow beyond our sexual hang-ups one day. But Heaven knows that day ain’t today. I’ll be happy if we can grow just a little beyond those hang-ups in our politics first.

In any case… Best Wishes to the Happy Couples!

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