Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Defending the Sanctity of Marriage
Here's the text for the radio commentary I gave on Air America's March 26th
State of Belief show defending the sanctity of marriage.
OK -- I'm convinced. The sanctity of marriage DOES need defending and I want to sign up to be on the defense team. I want to be part of making the case that two people making a life-long commitment to each other benefits not only the couple and their family but all of us. I want to argue that such relationships are indeed foundational to so much that is good and strong and solid and healthy about our society -- our culture -- our civilization.
I want to make the case that Britney Spears did more in the 55 hours of her quickly annulled Las Vegas marriage to undermine the sanctity of matrimony than any gay or lesbian couple I have ever known. I want heterosexuals to take responsibility for what has happened to the institution of marriage on their watch -- and I want those determined to save it to partner with gay and lesbian couples yearning for the kind of commitment and responsibility so many straight couples take for granted. I want us to work together to shift the conversation from the gender of the individuals who make up a couple to the quality of the values that make up a marriage – challenging the ridiculous fiction that somehow the orientation of those seeking to love and promise themselves to each other is more important than the values, love and commitment they bring to the relationship.
As a priest and pastor I want to make it perfectly clear that the James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons who claim to have sole possession of “Christian Values” on the issue of marriage equality do not speak for me. They do not speak for All Saints Church, Pasadena. And they do not speak for countless other faithful Christians who understand God’s inclusive love as available to all: rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight. We have Christian Values, too – and they are values of love, inclusion and justice standing in direct opposition to the narrow, exclusivist bigotry being marketed by the rabid Religious Right.
As an American citizen I am horrified by the concerted efforts of these narrow ideologues to derail our democracy with their theology by writing discrimination into the Constitution. In a country where we proclaim “liberty and justice for all” as a core collective value is it unconscionable that the 2006 mid-term election campaigns are once again making gay and lesbian families sacrificial lambs on the altar of partisan politics. In a nation where separation of church and state is an essential aspect of our very identity as Americans it is unacceptable that any faith-based perspective should be allowed to elevate its theological positions above our democratic principles.
Marriage clearly needs a defense team – and so does democracy. Where do I sign up?