How Clergy Helped a Same-Sex Marriage Law Pass by Samuel Freedman
I don't expect everyone to care what clergymen are saying. And I don't expect every religious person to agree with what they're saying. But even so, as a religious person, I found it very gratifying to read how so many clergymen were fighting for a cause I had to "grow into." It does me good, personally.
I wasn't always in favor of gay marriage; or of homosexuality full stop, as up until the last three or four years I believed the Bible condemned homsoexuality unequivocally. I thought that the purpose of marriage was to procreate, and that other purposes were somehow selfish or at least centred on the self rather than on the good that could come out of sex in the proper context. To become a co-creator with God seemed holy, and at one time I thought of homosexuality as drawing people away from that. I actually thought being gay was some sort of a curse - not a moral fault because I didn't think you deserved it, but still something that kept a person from reaching their creative abilities. That made sense, once upon a time.
Years of experience, in particular experiencing my good friends who tried to be both homosexual (or bisexual, in one case) and still maintain their Christian identities, challenged that idea. It's called growth, and it's a good thing, though of course it's uncomfortable at times. People like Rvd. Sweringen encouraged me to see things differently. They actually probably helped me hold on to my own Christian identity because I have never been one to sacrifice facts to preconceptions. I can't (I've tried!) and when I encountered clergy like her that reminded me that the view I grew up with wasn't the only option available to Christians - well, it helped me grow again. I think it made me a better Christian and a better person generally, because it led me to better define my views and my beliefs.
So I am proud of her and those like her. Quite aside from my personal gratitude, I like to think that these people are shaping the face of Christianity, and would do more if there were more of them, if the media made them more visible, etc. The other option seems to be the Anne Rice approach, which I understand all too well but really don't agree with. it just lets the other side define too much of what it means to be a member of a particular religion.
I did find it a bit odd that clergy would be involved in this particular legal battle. As I understand it, gay marriage is usually presented as not really the business of religious folks. And while the article makes the case that it doesn't have to be that way, I still think that clergy's involvement is a bit... odd in a way I can't quite explain. Clergy - and religious folk generally - do have a lot of work to do on sexuality, but it's not really about whether the state should recognize same-sex marriages. It's about where those non-heterosexual couples fit into the picture of love, marriage, children, and sexuality as religions paint the picture. I've always thought it was a shame that so many gay-affirming religious folk didn't challenge the idea, that marriage before God was for straight folks only.
We can only hope that people like Rvd. Sweringen continue to bring their courage to their churches as well as the public square. Personally, I'm ready for that great conversation. More than ready, actually!
A word on the new hobbit-hole:
Thanks to tree_and_leaf for the invite code. I appreciate it!
Over at LJ, I have experienced a sharp uptick in the amount of spam. There are other factors, too; really, it was just time for a move. I will still probably be reading mostly at LJ because that is where most of my friends spend time, but I am looking forward to breaking in a new DW blog. From now on I will probably post here and would appreciate it if people would comment here. We will try it for a few weeks and see how that goes.
LJ folks can comment without signing up for a new account. Two options:
- Dreamwidth lets you post using your LJ username, through the magic of something called openID. Read about it here and just use your current LJ account to comment here.
- Also, feel free to use the "anonymous" comment feature. I appreciate a name I recognize, but that can be typed at the end of the comment if you don't have an account and can't figure out how to use open ID.
FB users, I don't think you can comment using that account. But you are more than free to comment over at FB, or to leave a signed anonymous comment here.
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