I hope the President just did what I could not do today

I like to hold “office hours” every week at a local coffee house.  It gives my parishioners an opportunity to connect with me and to meet each other.  This morning Jim came in and sat down with the small House for All Sinners and Saints crowd already around the table.  I’m just so angry and so sad that people can put to a vote whether I’m worthy of the same rights as them. Jim has been, for over 5 years, in a committed monogamous relationship with his partner Stuart and last night the people of North Carolina went so far as to change their constitution to define Jim and Stuart’s relationship as legally not worthy of being validated and the Republican leadership of the Colorado House of Representatives ran out the clock, killing a Civil Unions bill in our state that had enough votes to pass.

People used the legal system to say to Jim and Stuart your love doesn’t count.

My parishioner was angry and sad and I as their pastor had nothing to say that could change that. I tried to imply that the good news is that at least we are closer than we’ve ever been.  But it’s foolish to say something when there’s nothing to say, so the 5 of us sat in a busy hipster coffee house and just stared at the floor. Then later we went to a nearby church and sung morning prayer.

So this afternoon when I saw that President Obama had finally come out publically as supporting gay marriage, my first thought was that I hope Jim saw it.  I hope that in some small way Jim was able to know that the most powerful man in America just said that he and Stuart’s love does indeed count.

Thank you Mr. Obama.

About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at www.houseforall.org

  • Russ Pollock

    Thank you, Pastor Nadia. And thank you, Mr. President.

  • Rob

    Love that your grace filled blog about the love shared by our president is on the same page right next to an advertisement for Liberty University.

    • http://www.sarcasticlutheran.com Nadia Bolz Weber

      I hate that so much and have absolutely no control over it.

  • http://www.femmeminister.com Evan Smith

    Amen. Don’t think there’s anything else to say.

  • Lorry

    After hearing our President’s words, I sobbed with relief. I didn’t think I would live long enough to hear something like this.

  • Dave N.

    This was fantastic to hear, not only on the heals of the NC vote but even more so after being being referred to as a non-human by one of the speakers at the United Methodist General Convention. It’s always nice to know that SOMEONE is on our side.

  • http://dialectofpraxis.blogspot.com/ Timothy Kellogg

    Thank you for sharing this. Love wins. Grace and peace.

  • gary stensland

    AMEN, God can even use a President to spread his acceptance of ALL of us. And you keep up your good work. Thankyou

  • Jon Spangler

    Nadia,

    Thank you for speaking–as you always do–with perceptive vision and great compassion. We all need to remember that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot/shall not overcome it. And sometimes a bit of light is added to our watch as the dawn of justice slowly struggles to appear….Blessings to you, to Stuart, to Jim, and to all who wait for justice…..

  • Chris Mayo

    The inevitable backlash against Obama, together with the hate-mongering against all those who don’t fit into some fundamentalist-imagined stereotype of what is ‘acceptable’ love, means that the war is already won by those who live for freedom for all. This is the last-ditch desperation of the haters. We will overcome.

  • http://www.mjarts.com Marty Jones

    Nadia-
    I have nearly 40 years of evangelical ‘training’ in this Walk I have chosen- you know what that means. I have a daughter that’s a ‘dresser’ for a cross-dressing performer who sometimes performs in Denver. I gather that you probably have more experience in that world than I.
    For the most part I’ve decided to try and leave “judgement” questions to the Eternal, and turn to Jesus for my daily interactions with people. I really don’t want to know what goes on in people’s bedrooms; and I’ve known more NON-monogamously-faithful people [including pastors] than I want to count. One of my dearest friends was repeatedly raped by her father for years; and her dear mother knew about it but lived in denial.
    I’ve been reading in the Annotated Jewish New Testament lately, and have learned that one of the words often translated with ‘homosexual’ connotations actually translates as “man” plus “bed,” with an implication of coercion; and that the word has no connection to the city of Sodom. Seems that it’s a century or three of interpretation by The Church.
    “Marriage” as we understand it in the US today, isn’t a Biblical concept. Culturally, the definitions of marriage have changed over the centuries. For centuries it had to do with ‘bride price’ and I have trouble seeing jewelry ads as being anything different. “Marriage” is a piece of paper; that piece of paper hasn’t kept my wife and I together for nearly 40 years. Commitment to the Eternal has kept us together. I have trouble seeing “civil union” as a different kind of paper. In an age where ‘pre-nupts’ and serial marriages are becoming the norm, I think President Obama’s decision was a sound one. I would like to think that 51% of the population agrees with him.
    But he’s going to get a lot of grief, from “loving Christian Believers” over the decision. And it won’t go over well with other religious folk, either.
    Thank you for your ministry.
    Blessings, Marty

  • John

    Speaking as a retired elca pastor, I know that what the President has said is something that most pastors and spiritual leaders will not dare say publicaly , even if they might want to. Oh, that all of us leaders had the guts Jesus had, taking a stand fot truth with no regard for personal security, popularity, or possible consequences. Is it too much to imagine the President as a spiritual leader who is unafraid to go where many of us could, but won’t?

    • Sandra Orrick

      Yes it is too much. The guts Jesus had were described in part by Garry Wells in What Jesus Meant: “He walks through social barriers and taboos as if they were cobwebs.” We are not quite there yet.

  • D.E. Bishop

    Thanks to all of you who have written here. I am a lesbian Lutheran pastor, and I find it very hurtful, as others have said, when the anti-gay people say such painful, horrible lies about us. I am feeling tearful, and the words of love, support, and encouragement I have read here and elsewhere helps. Thank you again.

  • http://faithenforcedbyreason.wordpress.com/ scotty

    I can tell you that it makes a tremendous difference when you know your pastor feels the same as President Obama. When you’ve struggled with faith and sexuality, it might even go a lot further. So, I say god bless you. Your LGBTQ parishioners are fortunate to have a pastor like you in their court — and there are many LGBTQ folks out there that would love to have someone like you or my pastor with whom they could talk.

  • Pingback: Notable News: Week of May 5-11, 2012 « unchained faith

  • Liralen

    It’s not about love.
    Before the NC vote, I used to think that civil unions made equivalent to marriage under the law in ALL respects was the solution. Marriage is a religious institution and it didn’t make sense to require the law to recognize what religious institutions would not. A kind of “render unto Caesar…” in reverse. I’m a relatively recent convert to Christianity, but I felt that way when I was an agnostic.
    After the NC vote, I finally understand that a religious institution, marriage, has been codified into law to give special privileges since the very beginning of our laws. Call me dense, but I’m in good company. Marriage has been so interwoven into the fabric of our society that even when I was an agnostic, I failed to see it violated separation of church and state. My conversion to Christianity in no way affected my opinion on the wisdom of separating church and state.
    After the NC vote, my tolerance for the marriage inequity has been put to an end. I finally understand that compromise is not possible with those opposed to giving homosexuals the same legal rights as heterosexuals. So we must either end the special privileges given by law to heterosexuals by marriage (which I’d rather not, since I’m a married heterosexual), or we should ensure that the law provides the same privileges to all.
    So that’s why I say it’s not about love at all. It’s about justice.
    Thank you, Nadia, for your blog that affirms I need not check my morals at the door upon becoming Christian. OK, that may be a low blow, but I’m really having a hard time finding a church in the Bible Belt whose morals I agree with. I agree with everything that Jesus said though.

    • Liralen

      I forgot to add that when you said “I tried to imply that the good news is that at least we are closer than we’ve ever been.” that you were right.

      There are a lot of us who weren’t angry about this before who are now angry.

  • Je

    Love does not recognize race or gender

  • Melanie Engel Unger

    It is so clear in my mind that it is not all about how we feel (love, indifference, hatred, whatever) about people everywhere and the infinite and amazing variations to us a human beings, in other words, whether we love them as Christ loved us, but about equality and justice. Viewing the sacrament of marriage as part of the law is archaic. If couples choose to have their union recognized by the state and of course, we should all have that right, then they should be afforded the privileges appropriate to that union. However if the marriage is solely recognized in a spiritual context there is no question it is not up to anyone else’s interpretation except the persons involved. Thank you, Liralen, for making that point.


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