Mark Saucy, professor of systematic theology at Biola University will speak in favor of Prop. 8. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena will speak against the proposition. Following the main speakers, four local religious leaders, two from each side of the issue, will respond to the main speakers and then open up a question-and-answer session to the audience.
And that's pretty much what happened. Mostly.
Except that, IMHO, Dr. Mark didn't so much speak in "favor" of Proposition 8 as he did in favor of his theological perspective -- which I found a few things to say "Amen" to ... and a bunch of other things to say "Not So Much" to.
Not surprising, that.
What I kind of DID find surprising -- even after all this time in the trenches -- was the staggering arrogance of the unexamined privilege of the "Yes on 8" speakers. The two other "yes" guys were "local religious leaders" -- a nice Morman man and a pastor from Grace Baptist Church -- who really seemed to see no "disconnect" between the freedom this country gives them to practice their religion AND the freedom this country gives us from having them practice it on us.
They can talk until the cows come home about what "Father God" has planned for "mankind" and how the Bible is their blueprint for moral decision making and I'm still going to find their arguments non-responsive to the question, "And how does that give you the right to write discrimination into the Constitution of the State of California?"
AND ... all that being said ... it was a high privilege to be there. It was a great joy to be able to bring an alternative perspective to the monolithic bias of the those working to eliminate the right to marry for same sex couples here in California. It was an honor to share the stage with Rabbi Mark Blazer and UU Pastor Ricky Hoyt and a great joy to talk to those in the audience afterwards who are committed to getting out both the vote and their voices into to the debate on this important issue.
Perhaps the most moving moment of the evening was when Rabbi Blazer noted that we are smack dab in the middle of his high holy days -- and that in the spirit of repentence he wanted to ask forgiveness from those who had been wounded by the Torah ... by the Scriptures he holds holy ... which had for too long been used as a weapon of human exclusion rather than a vehicle for God's love.
So, like I said ... one down, two to go. Tomorrow morning is the Roundtable L.A. gig with Pastor Jack from Calvary Chapel (see YouTube in post below for the scoop on him and his perspective) and then another panel on Wednesday night at Cal State L.A.
I'm chalking it all up to "the things we do for Jesus."