So…it finally happened.
Late Tuesday night, the main Presbyterian Church of the United States said that same-sex marriage was OK.
I’m glad that same-sex couples can marry in the church and that their relationship is given more respect. Respect for same-sex couples is necessary in all areas of American life. But, mostly, I’m pissed off.
For years, we were to think that God disapproved of same-sex marriage. Many LGBTQ individuals were left out in the cold by the church. But this vote shows, in the largest Presbyterian group in the nation, that this is something that this church says can be voted on. It wasn’t a command from God. It was something people could disapprove of and then approve of in the changing times.
But what about all those same-sex couples who were mistreated by the church or thought that their marriages weren’t legit? What about all those lives? If all that can simply be taken away by people’s opinion…then the only reason we didn’t have same-sex couples in the Presbyterian church in the United States before was because of opinion. And people lied and said it was God. That is fairly upsetting.
That’s why changes like this confirm my decision to leave the church. Because it doesn’t really have anything to do with following God — more with people’s prejudices that they reinforce with a supposed God’s morality so that individuals don’t question it.
The flexibility of such beliefs, and the way this flexibility reveals the use of God as a cover for bigotry, makes me upset when churches discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. For example, take yesterday evening. An Adventist University cancelled a bake sale to benefit a homeless organization — because the homeless organization didn’t speak up against the LGBTQ “lifestyle,” as, you know, God (read: the bigots in the church hiding behind “God”) would prefer for them to.
Fundraiser bake sales for the homeless are allowed at Andrews University – as long as the homeless aren’t LGBT kids.
A planned bake sale had to be abruptly cancelled last week, after student members of the unofficial LGBT group, AULL4One, were told they couldn’t raise money on campus for a Chicago-based homeless organization, Project Fierce, because the western Michigan university felt the charity didn’t align with its mission.
Their “mission” suggests they would help LGBT homeless organizations, as long as they don’t “advocate behaviors contrary to Adventist beliefs”. (Read: actual acceptance of the youth being LGBT.)
It seems to be the latter. A student at DePaul University, near Andrews University, encapsulated the helplessness of those who follow church leaders who exercise the tyranny of their opinions on groups of LGBTQ youth when she said:
“Discrimination justified by Christian beliefs may be particularly harmful, as faith carries powerful weight … how do you argue with someone who believes they are doing God’s work when hurting the LGBT population?”
You vote on it, apparently, among the leaders who seem to be in charge of God’s opinion.
It’s upsetting. I don’t want to take a poll from religious leaders who rely on a Bible that commanded stoning for same-sex couples to take a cue on how to live my life and form my opinion on how others should live theirs. No thanks.
So many people depend, in fear, on a god of humankind’s own creation for permission to love each other and to love the love they see between each other…
As Langston Hughes put it:
The ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond and jade, Sit silently on their temple shelves While the people Are afraid. Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Are only silly puppet gods That the people themselves Have made.
Kinda makes me relieved to be an atheist, to tell you the truth. But it still makes me upset. Wake up, guys.
Don’t let worry over what a human-made “God” thinks steal the love in your heart or anyone else’s. It’s a crime that some people are convinced they have to wait on church opinion to live the beautiful lives they so badly want to live.