Tuesday, March 26, 2013

my barbarous ancestors

On March 14th I received this email:
[non-essential portions removed for brevity]


[Denomination] President's Alert - Please Act !

Please read this important message. Please act!

Yesterday a group of 12 Lutheran pastors met to discuss and determine what we could possibly do in regard to a bill that is right now being presented and discussed in our Minnesota state legislature which will legalize gay marriage .  The way things are right now it is very likely that those in favor of this bill have enough votes to pass the bill.  The bill was approved in both the house and senate committees on Tuesday and it will radically redefine marriage for all Minnesotans.  If this bill is passed the state will impose this redefinition of marriage upon our people by force of law.

What is needed?  
First of all we band together in prayer, calling on our Lord to move and change hearts and minds of those that are voting on this important matter in our behalf.  
Secondly, we as a people must stand up and speak up for what we believe God has to say in His Word about this. 

Our state representatives and senators need to immediately hear from us that we stand in opposition to such this bill and encourage them to speak and vote against the bill. Use as many means of communication as you can to get your message to them.  Phone calls, e-mails and snail mails should all be utilized. If possible, talk to your legislators face to face in love.


I could talk about the fear just wafting off this letter. I could talk about how they made a mockery of their founding motto: Free and Living Congregations. I could rant about their language of "must" and "please act!" and generalizing every member of their denomination in the state of MN as believing what "God has to say in His Word about this." (about what, exactly? Gay marriage? Or legislating your religion?) Or I could talk about how they were either deliberately ignorant or deliberately LYING with the wording of "If this bill is passed the state will impose this redefinition of marriage upon our people by force of law."  WHEN the bill in question has language that strengthens and supports religious exemption, including exemption of goods and facilities. I mean, the gays can't even use your CHURCH BUILDING if you don't want that to happen. And "our people"???!! How much more tribal and exclusive can you get?

Personally, I believe in legislating against liars.* If Pastors lie to congregations, I think we should take away their right to speech. I mean, liars speaking is dangerous, right? And lying is a sin. And no sin is worse than another, so we need to legislate them all. And lying, well, that impacts everyone around you. It impacts the decisions of others and, in this case, impacts the legal rights of others. So why not? If we are legislating our version of morality now, why the f*ck not?

I'll tell you (my version of) why not.

I fell in love when I was 19. I married when I was 20. I was an ignorant, ridiculous child. And I married the love of my life and I never once had to wish for a marriage that would not happen because other people thought it was bad or wrong. I knew that my financial life and my future would be easier. I knew that I could visit my man in the hospital. I knew I could make legal decisions for him if he was incapacitated and he for me, without parental or other interference. I knew I could choose any place I wanted to get married and anyone who was willing could marry us. I knew that he got health care through work and that I would qualify for that as well. I knew that I would benefit from his pension, his social security, his estate, etc.

Never once did I doubt that it would happen, or it even cross my mind that anyone would be able to prevent it. No one could, really. I was an adult. I could decide if, when and whom I would marry.

I had this thing called FREEDOM. And like most people who have had freedom, along with privilege, their entire life, I never gave it a second thought. I had freedom to be stupid enough to marry at 20, and no one could stop me.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the next part. 

In our "free" and democratic society, some people are NOT free. Why? Because a segment of a religious group deems that their choices are sinful, harmful, or not valid.

When it comes to marriage, they have no freedom. 

That, my friends, is a problem. 

It is especially a problem when you fight for and believe that your religion and religious preferences should have unlimited freedoms that are under no oversight. Despite centuries of documented abuses of all kinds.

(It is even more especially a problem when you are a church body with Free and Living Congregations as your motto.)

Freedom for you, yourself and those who sin like you, isn't actually freedom.

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” - Thomas Jefferson

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." Martin Luther King Jr.

*shockingly, I don't actually believe in legislating against liars.

1 comment:

  1. It's so true. I have been thinking a lot about how ironic (sad?) it is that many married people refuse equality while LIVING the benefits of marriage. We don't even realize our privilege...