Friday, July 15, 2011

Why clergy keep showin' up to fight for equality:

Because it freakin' WORKS!

This from a story just posted to the New York Times:
The passage of same-sex marriage in New York last month, just two years after its defeat here, attests to the concerted, sustained efforts by liberal Christian and Jewish clergy to advocate for it in the language of faith, to counter the language of morality voiced by foes. In so doing, they provided a kind of political and theological cover to the moderate and conservative state senators who cast the vital swing votes for a 33-to-29 margin ...

“If religious support is fractured, and supporters of the legislation can point to clergy who are on their side,” history Professor Julian E. Zelizer wrote in an e-mail, “then it’s easier to counteract the claim of religious conservatives who say there is only one answer to this question. As in previous examples, politicians draw on clergy to give themselves moral authority when taking on these kinds of social and cultural issues. We know more about how the right has done it, but liberals can do the same.”

Those previous examples, Dr. Zelizer noted, include the civil rights movement. For example, by putting their imprimatur on the cause, Roman Catholic bishops and the National Council of Churches helped persuade several conservative Republican senators to defy a Southern filibuster and ultimately pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s series of landmark laws.
Read the rest here. Me? Im going to go rest up to get back to work -- because there's nothing like affirmation that what you're doin' is workin' to give you what you need to keep on keepin' on!


JCF said...

Oy Vey. I'm probably nitpicking here, but I'm annoyed by the language that we (liberal people of faith---I'm including LAITY here!) "provide cover" or "fracture religious support". Is that the best they can say of us? Merely that we provide another POV, and not that our stand for marriage equality is (for example) "Biblical" "Judeo-Christian" or, y'know, the Truth? Why is it SO hard for the MSM to speak of religious liberals in religious terms (when they have no such difficulty in describing religious *conservatives* in religious terms)?

It's the same li(n)e which say "Oh, you liberals, you only care about Justice. Not Jesus", and I want to respond, "We care about Justice because JESUS commanded us to! (And marriage equality is part of that!)"

So I give one cheer for this article. It's praise . . . but the NYT still doesn't get us.


JCF ... with all due respect (and there is LOTS of respect due here) I think this is one of those "both/and" things.

Absolutely the mainstream media ... and much of American ... has been so brainwashed by the religious right owning the microphone labelled "Christian Values" for so long that it's been a huge learning curve for folks to "get" that thee are people of faith on the justice side of MANY issues ... not in spite of their faith but because of it.

While I continue to want Sojourners to move forward on LGBY equality they -- and Jim Wallis -- have certainly been in the forefront of that struggle. Also kudos to the Human Rights Campaign for five+ years now of funding and promoting a Faith and Religion Council that debunks the idea that you can't be queer and of faith.

All that to say we've been fighting for a long time to undo the damage done and to get our voices heard ... and this article tells me it's working. It worked in New York. And I if we look at that analysis alongside what we learned about the failed No on 8 campaign here in CA ... that the failure to mobilize religious voices was one of the most crucial mistakes ... then I'm deeply encouraged that this will fuel our efforts to raise up faith voices in other campaigns, in other contexts.

Finally (and I realize this is kind of long, but ... :) "providing cover" for politicians afraid to do the right thing is EXACTLY the right thing for us to be doing ... politically.

And remember when Madonna "came out" as a "Material Girl?" I am ... wait for it ... a "Political Girl." And in this particular fight ... for civil marriage equality ... the political reality is it doesn't matter who is "right" about the theology ... it matters that nobody has the right to write their theology into our constitution. And if we can make that point to our lawmakers ... that their job is not to be bullied by religious bigots but to stand up for liberty and justice for all ... well, then we'll have done our job.

So I give it three cheers ... the article ... and I give you three cheers as well ... for your commitment to both Jesus and Justice.