Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On living in interesting times

Are we smack dab in the middle of that proverb about "living in interesting times" or what???

When the Claiming the Blessing coalition formed in 2002 our focus was moving the church forward on the blessing of same sex relationships. Ten years later here we are -- barely able to keep up with the paradigm shifting under our feet as both the church and the culture lurch along that arc of history bending toward justice for LGBT people.

Today over at ECafe there's a great "post in point"... a review of the different positions Episcopal bishops have taken regarding marriage equality in general and the impact of the availability of civil marriage for same-sex clergy couples in specific. You'll want to go read it yourself here ... like I did ... and add your own comments ... which I did, too. (Which is where this blog came from -- it's the comment that grew into a blog post!)

Suffice to say the responses range from the Bishop of Albany --who has taken the "not with a barge pole" approach to both civil and religious marriage equality -- to the Bishop of Long Island who is not only permitting the clergy in that diocese to serve as agents of the state by signing marriage licenses but is requiring same-sex clergy couples to marry within the next 9 months.

It is a great update -- and for me it illustrates anecdotally how critically important it is that we move forward as a church on the issue of marriage equality.

We're back in Indianapolis next summer ... the place where we voted in 1994 to end discrimination against sexual orientation in the ordination canons. So let's invoke the good "canon karma" of Indianapolis and get to work ending discrimination against same-sex couples in our marriage canons.

Let's be a church that leads the way in protecting the sanctity of all marriages.
Let's be a church that embodies family values that value all families.
Let's be part of a National Organization for All Marriages.

Anybody in? Operators are standing by. Call me.


IT said...

Love seeing this renewed focus!

I have argued numerous times (including right now) at Friends of Jake that the church should be at the forfront of demanding civil marriage equality to solve many of the institutional complications caused by the patchwork of different treatment.

Michael said...

I hate to make a comment that disagrees with something you wrote. But, I have a problem with the "marriage is a human right" mentality. How is it a how human right? No one has the individual right to be married without the consent of another human, so it is not a fundamental right that is inherent to human dignity such as freedom from oppression, or the right to fair treatment under the law, etc. Also, in the religious context, marriage is created within a union blessed by God, none of us deserve on our own merit for God to bless us, it is through his immense generosity God blesses our endeavors.

Just my thoughts,


Michael ... you can disagree all you want -- and I'm happy to "push back."

The right to "fair treatment under the law" ... the right to equal protection guarantees by the 14th amendment ... is exactly what we're talking about. Opposite sex couples immediately have 1138 federally protected rights the minute they say "I Do" that same sex couples don't get -- no matter who presides, pronounces or blesses their marriage/union/partnership.

As far as the "religious context" goes, we're a nation of freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion ... with the freedom for faith traditions to make their own decisions about what they do or don't bless.

All of which means I stand by the "marriage is a human right ... not a heterosexual right" graphic. What makes a marriage is the values, love and commitment of the couple ... not their gender.

And there you have it.

LGMarshall said...

I agree with Michael, no one has the 'right' to marry anyone/anything they choose... I humbly accept that limitation that society & the bible has put on me.

All humans have the same rights. Homosexuals are under the same law that heterosexuals are.

Gods ways are very narrow. But I trust that he has my best interest in mind! 'Thank you God, for looking out for us, your creation.' amen.

As far as being a society 'free from religion', .... I sure hope we keep the Laws that God handed down to Moses re Murder, & Theft a little while longer... :-)

Jay Johnson said...

I too am uncomfortable with using rights language for marriage. Is getting a driver's license a human right? Is ordination? I don't think equal protection under the law means that everything in a society becomes a basic human right. I prefer Mary Hunt's approach when she noted recently that marriage is a privilege; health care is a right. We must detach what is a basic human right from a relationship status in which not everyone will be involved.


And loathe though I am to push back yet again (especially against the brilliant, fabulous Jay Johnson!) I would argue that when a society heterosexually privileges the 1138 federally protected rights it offers some families and not others it IS a "rights" issue -- a "rights" issue within the context of those who choose to; desire to; are vocationally called to; opt to ... however you understand it ... be married to each other.

uffda51 said...

Conservative Christian Checklist.

1. Wake up.
2. Write a blog post which demeans LGBT persons.

“ . . . it is through his immense generosity God blesses our endeavors” – if you’re straight, drunk and it’s 4 a.m. in Vegas. But not if you’re gay.

“ . . .no one has the 'right' to marry anyone/anything they choose...” Yes, let’s equate LGBT persons with “things.” Unless I missed the post where anyone here ever advocated marrying their car or their fridge.

As a heterosexual, no one ever told me I could not marry my wife. No legislature, no judge, no referendum, no church, no pastor, no vote of the people. No one sent millions of dollars from other states and religions to stop us.

But please don’t point out this blatant inequity because it makes people “uncomfortable.”

LGMarshall said...

'Free' Health-Care is not a Right. [and it's not free - someone pays.]

There is only one God-given Right in this Fallen World... "to all who received Him (Jesus) and believe in His Name (Jesus), he gave the Right to Become...Children of God"

John 1.12

Everything else is up for grabs...


I'm starting to think LG may actually work for The Onion.

Jay Johnson said...

Susan -- I totally get your point. I don't outright object to "rights" language for marriage; I'm just a bit uncomfortable with it. Here's why (and it's probably just splitting hairs, I don't know): there are some things on which both church and society place restrictions (an 8-year old cannot get a driver's license nor can that same 8-year old be ordained a priest). If one is qualified and meets certain criteria, one may have access to something. I suppose you could say that under those conditions, one has a "right" to it. But then I want even stronger language for something like the "right" to healthcare, which I do not believe should have any restrictions whatsoever, like the ability to pay, country of origin, etc. So I guess I'm uncomfortable because if we used rights language for everything, the notion of rights itself becomes diluted. But maybe not. Maybe it's like grace -- there's always more of it than we imagine and certainly enough to go around.


And I totally agree.

AND ... as we continue to live out the promise that our founders imagined -- that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights named as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- I want to continue to point out that there's no * there that says "*for heterosexuals only."

If opposite sex marriages are granted 1138 rights and responsiblities by our federal government then same sex marriages should be treated equally.

Period. (IMHO! :)