Recent statements by our President and rulings by our courts has created once again a firestorm of commentary, statements of support as well as condemnation, and within the church across denominational lines sermons preached and blogs written.
The first lately was President Obama’s statement in support of same gender marriage. It took a lot of courage for him to make a potentially fatal political move like that. Though I have not agreed with every decision he has made in his Presidency, as if I do with any of our politicians, I find him to be genuine and willing to do the right thing at times even at the risk of his political aspirations. Whether his statement of support will continue to gain any traction and affect change in our country regarding the civil rights of our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered family and friends is yet to be seen. I commend President Obama and thank him for his willingness to take a stand.
The second recent incident was in relation to The Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional by a Boston Federal Appeals Court. This was another courageous move by the legal system in our country to address injustice for those who long for the same rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexuals in our country. The language of “defending marriage” has long been of concern to me as I try and figure out what the government and others are trying to defend marriage from? With the current rate of divorce and abuse among heterosexual marriages it would seem to me we would welcome two consenting, committed, mutual, loving adults who want to live in a married relationship.
Currently our own denomination, the United Methodist Church, does not support same gender marriage nor am I allowed to officiate at a ceremony celebrating such joy and love even among our own members. I continue to work toward the day when love will be celebrated in our church whether it is between two opposite gender persons or two same gender persons. May that day hasten on.
It saddens me that so many have turned this into an opportunity to go on the attack, especially in the church. One preacher suggests we round up all the homosexuals and put them in a fence until they all die off. Another preacher here in Kansas suggests we encourage the government to kill them. To hear these words come out of churches is horrendous, disgusting, and not church or Christ worthy. These words of hate do not come from the Spirit of the gospel of Christ nor do they come from “the church.” They are wrong and pollute the image of Christ and the church.
As for me, I believe we must continue to be persistent in the message of welcome, inclusion, grace, and love. These are the fruits of the Spirit, these are what it means to be church, a community of faith. There are signs of hope, but change does not come without its risks and struggles. The wheels of change grind slowly and there are days when I think they have ground on long enough and it is time to throw up my hands and toss in the towel, but I am reminded by the words of Martin Luther King Jr. I keep near here in my office that reminds me to persevere.
“I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you will reap what you sow. How long? Not long, because the arm of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
May the journey be hopeful, may the light be bright, may our voice never fade, and may justice never tarry.
Peace and Light for Your Journey. ~ Pastor Kent