This is not supposed to be a “social justice” blog. This is supposed to be where I hang out and write occasionally funny and/or scathing book reviews. It’s where I’m supposed to come to whine about not writing. It’s where I’m supposed to let you know about new projects of mine that you can take a look at.
But last week’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage has changed that.
OK, that’s not exactly true: my friends’ reaction to that ruling has changed that.
You would think the world is on fire. (It’s not. I checked.) The level of hate and anger and proof-texting quotes from the Bible (as well as assorted stupidity in general) is off the charts. The fact is that the world is changing. And many people out there hate change of nearly any kind. I don’t know if I’d necessarily even call these people homophobes. What they often are, instead, are privileged white people who are appalled that someone else is being awarded the same rights they have enjoyed for years.
This has led to some insanity. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has issued a 25-day stay against any same-sex marriage licenses in the state of Alabama. This was countermanded almost immediately by a federal judge telling Alabama to get its shit in gear and join the rest of the fucking civilized world. I mean, the judge issued a ruling that marriage licenses were to be issued statewide.
Finally, some sense.
Sadly, it took a federal court to enforce it, just as it did during the Civil Rights era and integration. We in the South—especially in Alabama—rarely do something because it’s the right thing to do. We do the right thing only when all other options have been exhausted.
Pike County (AL) Probate Judge Wes Allen has said his religious beliefs prevent him from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, so he won’t issue ANY. To anyone.
If Allen cannot fulfill one of the key duties of his office due to his religious beliefs (not to mention his political grandstanding), then he should do the moral thing—the Christian thing, even—and resign from office. If he doesn’t, he should be removed for dereliction of duty.
Like this lady: Linda Barnette, a county clerk in Mississippi. I can respect Ms. Barnette, even though I disagree with her viewpoint, I applaud her ability to understand that if her faith kept her from doing her job, she would have to leave. (I do not applaud the article’s assertion that Christians will “lose their jobs” due to same-sex marriage. Barnette didn’t lose her damned job. She quit.)
And now we get down to the heart of the matter, where the will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter.
So many people don’t seem to understand that “Christian” law is not US law, and they end up sounding like morons. (Hey, no offense. I’m sure I’ve sounded like a moron at times, too.) A judge’s (or clerk’s) job is not to enforce his or her religious beliefs on anyone else. But many of my Christian friends on Facebook are applauding the various stands undertaken by believers who have been put in some kind of position of power. They are being held up as being faithful to “God’s Law” instead of man’s.
What if the roles were reversed, and we were placed under Islamic-centered Sharia Law? I’d bet you my conservative-leaning Christian friends wouldn’t like that one bit. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly sure there would be armed resistance. (And rightly so. That Constitution thing.) But we’d be under someone’s version of “God’s Law.” Right? Yeah, there’s a reason that the tenet of the separation of Church and State has been honored for so long. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE YOUR RELIGIOUS VIEWS ON OTHER PEOPLE. And that’s certainly true whether you’re an elected official, someone’s co-worker, boss, customer, business-owner, or just a schmuck on the street.
And then there is the contingent on Facebook who believe pastors will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. This is patently untrue, and in his majority opinion, Justice Kennedy reaffirmed that pastors have full control of the decision of whom they will—and won’t—marry. Period. End of story.
Another friend asked “You sure talk a lot about gay marriage. Do you wanna get one or something?” Hurr hurr durrrrrr.
All right, fine. I can expect that sort of thing from some people. But he also expressed sadness that I was no longer willing to defend Christian principles, and wondered if I’d wandered from my faith. The question is offensive in many parts, but the biggest, in my opinion, is the implied position that my faith must match his, or else it’s no good anymore. Quite frankly, my faith HAS changed.
I still consider myself a Christian. I believe in compassion. I believe in Love. I believe in reaching out to hurting people. I believe in clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.I believe in sheltering the homeless. I believe in caring for the widow and the orphan. I believe that we see through a glass, darkly, and each of us has to live by the light that’s in us. I believe that we all need Christ.
I don’t believe God gives a good tinker’s damn about politics. I don’t believe He cares who wins or loses a political battle. We do, because we’re human, and this world is all we see.
My faith isn’t anywhere close to perfect. I screw up all the time. But I like to think that as I’ve lived my life and learned and matured, that I am able to be more honest to my faith than I have ever been. That’s where my faith is. Make of it what you will.
A popular thing for some of my friends, lately, is to post all of the Bible verses damning (or possibly damning) homosexuality. They rail against Obama and the gub’mint, and the hell they think is being wreaked on the American church. So, just for fun, let’s see what the Bible says about that, shall we?
1. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Hey, if they’re gonna proof-text, I might as well get into the game, too.
Here’s the thing about many conservative Christians: It is as important to them that they be right/correct in their doctrine as it is to love someone in the name of Jesus.
This leads to all sorts of stuff, like “I love them, but they are sinners! Unrepentant sinners!”
Jesus didn’t call you to say that. You know what he called you to say and do?
“I love them.”
But me no buts, nimrod.
I’ve kind of crapped all over a segment of my friends here, but I do want to say that at the end of the day, they have legitimate concerns. They want to know—seem to need to know—what the future will bring.
“What kind of world,” they ask, “are we leaving our children?”
I hope we’re leaving them a more inclusive kind of world, where people can be who and what they are, and not have to hide it.
The real answer is that every time we recognize and grant people equal rights under the law, we are leaving our children a better world.
Better than the one we grew up in, for sure.