While I was off watching lots of exciting rugby, many smart people were writing about the fight for marriage equality and full civil rights for LGBT people and, specifically, the role of American Christianity in that struggle.
Here are several smart recent posts on the topic.
Bert Montgomery: “The Church and the New Civil Rights Movement”
We are in the midst of another renewal; we are in the midst of another set of leaders pleading with the guardians of the Christian establishment to open the life of the church to the power of the Holy Spirit already at work; and some of the same words are being exchanged and variations of the same expressions of hatred are emerging in response.
There are a growing number of “gay churches” and welcoming and affirming groups pleading with the larger Christian community to recognize the movement of the Holy Spirit among the Gay & Lesbian community. And, many of the long-standing institutionalized “straight churches” are actively resisting the work of God among those whom the religious guardians insist are not worthy.
Joseph War III: “Can We Trust Christians? A Question for LGBT People and Straight Allies”
Homophobic Christian culture is fueled by two sources: homophobic and conflicted people. But both of these groups can change. Rather than discount out of hand people who are either quietly conflicted or loudly hateful, we need to continue to challenge them on spiritual and moral terms, but terms that support faith and LGBT equality going hand-in-hand.
Conflicted people of faith along with already LGBT-supportive Christians have the power to eradicate homophobic Christianity. If for no other reason, this is why we must support “conflicted” individuals as they journey towards LGBT equality. Just as President Obama needed to “evolve” on this issue, so will countless others. Our support of this process is essential for true change to occur.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: “Obama gets better: Faith, family and LGBT equality”
This is how people evolve on LGBT equality. You ask yourself whether your faith supports prejudice, or the love of God and neighbor. You know family and friends who are LGBT and your love and friendship for them is unchanged, or sometimes even becomes even stronger as you realize how they are discriminated against.
And if you are a person of decency and courage, you become a vocal ally.
Dianne E. Anderson: “What Are We Really Asking?”
It is impossible to affirm for a homosexual friend that they are human and yet insist that their desires, their attractions, their longings – a large part of their being – are sinful and an affront to God. If I am to affirm that my own sexuality is an intertwined part of me, a vital building block in the created order that is my being, then I must do the same for those friends and neighbors who are gay.
Many churches skirt around this issue of identity by insisting that it is merely the act of homosexuality that is sinful, and therefore, you can be gay, if you just refrain from ever acting on it.
This, too, is incoherent, for what is “acting on it”? Surely it cannot simply be the act of one being engaged in sexual activity with another, because I do not have to have sex in order to “act” on my heterosexuality.
Jimmy Spencer Jr.: “Let Them Eat Cake”
I realize as I’m watching current events unfold that it’s difficult for a segment of Christians to recognize this because we’ve become so entrenched that we own the exclusive right to dictate terms to others in our society, and anyone who challenges this exclusive right is obviously oppressing us! We’re uncomfortably comfortable demanding other faiths, oriented people, races, and genders obey our specific personal brands of Jesus, which sadly, violates the very pattern of humanity Jesus shows us.
… We’re all witnessing, before our very eyes, those days racing toward a very swift culmination. The days when Christians dictate all the terms of engagement in society by crafting all the laws to reflect our specific spiritual practices are coming to a quick end.