With this, my first blog post, I am coming out. I am pro-Gay marriage. I am myself Straight Married, but my ceremony was conducted by one of my best friends in the world, who happens to be a gay man. I chose him to be ordained online to perform my ceremony because, as I matured and developed a sense of beliefs in the way I should love another person, I realized that he had introduced me to many of those beliefs. He showed me, many times without even knowing it, that love is not always easy, but steadfast. And uncompromising.
Yesterday I read Doug Hankins very well thought out blog post addressing a Christian Response to Homosexual Marriage (you can find it here http://doughankins.com/how-might-christians-respond-to-the-question-of-homosexual-marriage/). I thought Mr. Hankins words were very founded in love and empathy, with truly pure motives about how to express Christ’s love to a gay culture. That being said, I disagreed with most of the post, particularly this line, Hankins’ reasoning behind not accepting gay marriage as a Christian:
“Most pressingly, why hold to the Bible’s teaching at all if it directly conflicts with the culture? If one has to transform the Bible’s plain teaching, then just get rid of the Bible?”
I am a Unitarian Universalist, but my belief system has not always been so. I was formerly a Fundamentalist Christian, who went to China twice on the mission of spreading Christ’s message. The circumstances surrounding my change of faith are best left to another post, later on. Suffice to say, I have walked a mile in the Christian shoes.
If I put myself back in those shoes and tell myself that I still believe in everything that goes along with the fundamentalist movement, I still believe it’s possible to respectfully disagree with those who choose to be gay and still be able to afford them their civil rights. But more importantly, I need to address the other biblical statutes that I think Hankins’ statement (and many other Christian positions) are blatantly ignoring. Allow me to illustrate.
In my New York City office, one of the lawyers I work for is an Orthodox Jew. He will not eat anything that is not kosher, this includes bacon, because in Deuteronomy 14: 8 it clearly states that the “pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.”
Now, I’m not going to say that I am a glutton for bacon, but I eat it. And pepperoni pizza. And occasionally ham. And what’s more, I know there’s not a small contingency of Christians that do, too. I don’t take issue with the fact that they are ignoring the Bible’s teaching because it directly conflicts with culture. I feel that they have their own set of beliefs on how to interpret the Bible, which differs from that of Orthodox Judaism. What I take issue with is the idea that there aren’t people (Jewish or Christian) protesting the civil rights of those that eat bacon because of Deuteronomy 14:8, but there are people selecting another verse from the same book to use as argument to impede the civil rights of the gay community.
My Jewish coworker has no problem with me eating bacon. If we were to get into a discussion on it, he would tell me his beliefs and I would tell him mine and we would respectfully disagree. And at the end of the day, the way he practices his faith makes it very attractive to me. There have been many times I’ve thought how cool it would be to be Jewish based on the non-intrusive way he (and many of my other Jewish friends) emulate the faith.
That’s what I’m really getting at here. I hear Christians all the time, confounded that they “just want to demonstrate Christ’s love” but I believe the modern fundamentalist movement (and many other denominations) have developed an official position that suggests in order to “demonstrate Christ’s love” they have to do it with judgment.
One of the major reasons I left fundamentalism was proselytizing. I remember being asked to go into a poor urban neighborhood a couple of days after Christmas with a box of food and necessities they referred to as a “Box of Love” and share the gospel with the poor. It was never directly stated, but the implication was that a) the poor didn’t have the gospel b) needed me to tell it to them c) should listen to me tell them how to live their lives in order to get the food I had to give them. Every year around the holidays I was asked to do this and every year, it made me feel sicker than the year before, until finally I told them I wouldn’t.
Jesus didn’t have a thing to say about homosexuality but he had a lot to say about passing judgment. (Matthew 7 “Judge not that ye be not judged”’; John 8 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”) And that brings me to the Supreme Court.
We live in a country that has (or is supposed to have) Freedom of Religion coupled with the zesty side dish of Separation of Church and State. This is how, even if he wanted to (which he doesn’t), my Jewish coworker couldn’t stop me from eating bacon. This is why it doesn’t matter if Obama really turns out to be a Muslim (Which he won’t. Because he’s not). This is why we had the American Revolution.
Now, I understand that for many people marriage is holy ceremony. I dig that. But I also propose that marriage has transcended the state of being a religious ritual and, in fact, become a firmly instituted cultural custom. One that is so ingrained in our society that there are federal benefits and advantages to participating in it. I propose that to deny a group of people those benefits for any reason, including one’s belief in the Bible, is a civil rights violation in a country that is supposed to have religious freedom and a separation of church and state. And I believe nothing stops a person from demonstrating Christ’s love more than violating civil rights.
And I believe bacon is delicious. And I’m very thankful I have the right to eat it.