Here is a long essay mulling over North America’s shifts within the same-sex marriage fight. Although I don’t fully agree with it all, it is a good read and makes me think / form questions.
Should the Catholic church be forced to evolve or rethink its stances via laws against its stances on adoption and same-sex parents?
I appreciate the honesty of the author and his lamentations over fanatics with signs hijacking the evangelical/Christian movement. Here’s a big statement worth quoting:
Worst of all, we have failed to deal honestly with the major threat to marriage and the family: heterosexual adultery and divorce. Evangelicals divorce at the same rate as the rest of the population. Many evangelical leaders have failed to speak against cheap divorce because they and their people were getting divorced just like everyone else. And yet we have had the gall to use the tiny (5 percent or less) gay community as a whipping boy that we labeled as the great threat to marriage.
Here are some other worthy quotes:
The former vice president of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Ed Dobson, got it right. After he left Liberty to become pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he regularly visited a former parishioner’s hospitalized son who turned out to have AIDS. Slowly, he sensed a call to serve other people with AIDS.
He decided to visit the local AIDS resource center run by the gay community. The director was shocked that the pastor of the largest evangelical church in town would visit. Dobson’s church was soon deeply engaged with the gay community. Calvary placed a church member on the board of the AIDS resource center, bought Christmas gifts for families affected by AIDS, paid for funeral expenses for impoverished people who died of AIDS, and welcomed the gay community to attend the church.
Of course, it was controversial. One church member warned that the church would be “overrun by homosexuals.” Dobson responded in his next Sunday sermon: “If the church gets overrun with homosexuals, that will be terrific. They can take their place in the pews right next to the liars, gossips, and materialists.”
At one point in this essay, I reflected on the topic of “witnessing”. I first knew the phrase as an approach to sharing one’s faith with non-believers (or who we thought were non-believers). I have heard quite a bit before from evangelical circles or individuals that being a good “witness” is important. They were referring to one’s lifestyle and how it may be interpreted by others and especially those outside the church. Christianity is seen by non-church goers as anti-gay (held by 91%) as well within its own pews (held by 80%). That is a witness that is buttressed by the Westboro Baptist Church, wing nut evangelicals, and various other pundits. In the end, the church at large has been branded, as Dobson has noted, as “better at hating than loving”, better at focusing on the differences between other children of God than the similarities, and most notably better at not communicating, listening, or learning others stories (the grey areas – everything is not black and white).
Finally to the procreation point:
But everything depends on the definition. If marriage is not about bringing up children, but about how adults solemnize their emotional commitment to each other, gay marriage becomes plausible.
Is emotional commitment between two adults what the state should care about in marriage? What should a state that does not establish any religion understand marriage to be? I think the answer is clear. The state must promote the best setting in which to nurture the next generation of wholesome citizens.
Evangelical wing nuts, such as Bryan Fischer, see marriage as meant for birthing a minimum of 3 kids and should be ready for our youth by the time they are 16. I don’t know why marriage has been hijacked and held up with a “procreate or your marriage is not a true marriage’ mantle. Many couples, I bet, have contemplated not having kids after being married and spending time with friends and their children. It is extremely ignorant and hurtful to imply that couples who get married and don’t have kids are not fulfilling an unwritten duty.
In the end, this comes down to what we each define as Truth, what black and white stereotypes we hold up as molds everyone truly fits into, discerning how our houses of worship and communities have turned from communal (seen as evil socialism!!!!) into a narcissistic individualism (free capitalism! America!), and asking the questions or taking down the guards to see these situations/battles/ideological wars in a softer, more pragmatic frame of being.