it’s easy to be against equal rights when we have them

kathyescobar equality, injustice 39 Comments

its easy to be against equal rights when we have them

one of the reasons I like synchroblogging is because it forces me to write about topics that I wouldn’t necessarily come up with on my own.  liz dyer decided to really stir the pot with october’s topic—“legalizing same-sex marriage.”  whoa!  these kinds of moments help me think through the issue a little more clearly & hear others write about the same topic from different perspectives, too.  links i have so far are at the bottom of this post, but the complete list will be on liz’s blog.

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one thing I can never get my head around is how we as “christians” can spend so much energy around certain hot-button topics and ignore so many other important ones.  it makes me so sad that somehow we are known in this world for being anti-gay, republican, and extremely judgmental.  i remember years ago seeing the study that was done somewhere in california where people were asked “what do you think of when you hear the word ‘christian’?” the responses were:  “judgmental, mean, anti-homosexual, republican.” when asked the question, “what do you think of when you hear the word ‘Jesus’”, they responded with “loving, kind, compassionate, merciful.” christians on the whole aren’t known for our love.  it’s a little like what Gandhi says—“I like your Christ, but your Christians are not like your Christ.” that makes me sad.

so when it comes to this issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, it follows that somehow we’d be known as being some of the biggest, angry proponents against it.

i am not gay.  i don’t know what it feels like to be gay.

but I have a lot of friends who are.  and I do think that they have the right to legally marry if they want to be.

i completely respect that there are people who view the Bible as crystal clear against homosexuality and I understand how this law is one that they wouldn’t necessarily agree with.  at the same time, I can’t for the life of me think why they’d spend so much time and energy jumping up and down about it when it really doesn’t affect them, really.  people can keep on doing their thing as heterosexuals & mind their own business.  but that’s not how it often works.  instead of respectfully seeing the issue differently, somehow some have to use a bullhorn and make their position known and “fight for what they’re sure is right.” I think it’s kind of ridiculous, really, especially when Jesus came to cut across the crazy religious and political systems that everyone was ascribing to.  when i read the gospels, i don’t see Jesus clamoring for “family values.”  i see him advocating for mercy, grace, and healing for the outcasts & marginalized & chastising everyone who thinks that “right religion ” is the answer.

i honestly think some of the religious clamoring when it comes to politics & religion comes from just plain ol’ being scared (years ago, i was there, and i think that was my predominant feeling–fear).

  • we live in fear instead of trust in a big, big God.
  • we try to control instead of let go.
  • we think we have to be the policeman and gatekeepers of our interpretation of “God’s truth.”
  • we have to create an “us and them” to keep the riff-raff out.
  • we have to “win” or else somehow “God loses.”
  • we refuse to let ourselves feel what it might really, really be like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
  • we want to separate ourselves from what we don’t agree with instead of engage in kind, loving, respectful relationship together despite our differences.

while we don’t have to agree wholeheartedly with all of the principles & doctrines of every church or every law that gets made, i think we need to respect that laws that are made to protect individual’s rights.  history tells us that equal rights for women & for people of color have faced (and continue to) uphill battles.  and we can’t forget how the Bible has been used to support oppression of both of those groups, too.  the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage is about giving people equal rights & value as human beings.

i also do not think every church or individual needs to support gay marriage; if it violates the tenants of anyone’s interpretation of faith, then of course anyone should have the freedom to kindly not participate.   but the key word is “kindly.” this is what gets us into all kinds of trouble.  i have a dear lesbian friend who communicates her heart well.  she is so clear about respecting that “not everyone has to agree with who i am but please, oh please, just at least be kind and loving and honor that you don’t understand what it’s like to be me.” I do not think that’s too much to ask.  if i were gay, that is what I would hope from my brothers & sisters.  not hate.  not judgement.  not ugliness and division.  just some understanding.  and maybe some application of “the golden rule.”

personally, i want to be known as a dignity restorer, not a dignity stripper.  i want to be willing to walk in another person’s shoes and have some understanding of what it must be like.  and i hope that some day “the church”  is known for its heart to love & advocate for the marginalized across all kinds of dividing lines instead of feeling the desperate need to be God’s policemen.

i’d love to hear some of your thoughts, too.

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other bloggers participating this month:

Kathy Baldock at Canyonwalker Connections – Marriage “I Do” For Who

Dan Brennan at Faith Dance – Sexual Difference, Marriage and Friendship

Steve Hayes at Khanya – Same Sex Marriage Synchroblog

Sonja Andrews at Calacirian – In Defense Of Marriage

John C O’Keefe – Exactly What Is Gay Marriage

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – Nobody knows why or how same-sex marriage is harmful

Herman Groenewald at Along The Way – Same Sex Debate

Margaret Boelman at Minnowspeaks – What Have We Done

David Henson at unorthodoxology – ban marriage

Erin Word at Mapless – Synchroblog: Legalizing Same Sex Marriage

Joshua Jinno at Antechurch – The Church Is Impotent

k.w. leslie – mountains, molehills & same sex marriage

Peter Walker at Emerging Christian – Synchroblog – Same Sex Marriage

Tia Lynn Lecorchick  – Conservative Christians and Same Sex Marriage