Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Almighty, She/He has spoken ...

Positive response from U.S. religious leaders to Friday's 5-4 Supreme Court decision making marriage equality the law of the land has been kind of hard to find --- in part because it's easier and more fun for media types to report upon the rantings of whack jobs on the Christian right.

So I thought I'd post the response issued yesterday by the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori (left), presiding bishop and primate of my own Episcopal Church: 

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. [1Corinthians 13:4-8]

I rejoice that the Supreme Court has opened the way for the love of two people to be recognized by all the states of this Union, and that the Court has recognized that it is this enduring, humble love that extends beyond the grave that is to be treasured by society wherever it exists. Our society will be enriched by the public recognition of such enduring faithful love in families headed by two men or two women as well as by a woman and a man. The children of this land will be stronger when they grow up in families that cannot be unmade by prejudice or discrimination. May love endure and flourish wherever it is to be found.

A similar celebratory tone could be found within the United Church of Christ, long a support of full inclusion for LGBT people.

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, in declaring the ruling a cause for celebration, added, "In celebration of this historic victory for equal rights, selected Unitarian Universalist ministers and congregations will offer free weddings for same-sex couples nationwide.

"Marriage equality illustrates that love has no boundaries. And while today we celebrate this victory in the name of love, tomorrow we rededicate ourselves to achieving full legal protection for LGBTQ people in all spheres of our society.”

There certainly were other supportive voices within what's generally called the progressive church, but even there official response has been muted because of overriding fear --- that more conservative brethren might take offense if leaders seemed to be too supportive of LGBT people.

So the overwhelming impression of Christians in America after Friday's ruling is that they're a fearful, angry and hostile lot, quivering in their pews as rainbow forces advance.


I've had 60-plus years of experience with Christians --- more than enough to reinforce a conviction that far too many are a bunch of scaredy cats, horrified that grace might extend beyond the narrow confines of their own communities or sects; so insecure in their own faith that they're compelled look for others to diminish, scorn and condemn.

If I were a conventional believer, I'd make a case that the hand of the Almighty has been clearly evident during the last 50 years as his/her LGBT children have been led out of the shadows, sustained and strengthened during the horror of AIDS to arise phoenix-like, forged into an effective force to advocate for our own worth.

Friday's decision was a remarkable milestone, although much work remains to be done.

But for today, at least, I'm entirely comfortable saying, as Episcopalians are prone to do, "thanks be to God."

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