Thursday, November 5, 2009

Are gays people? Christian? American?

NO ONE should put the rights of a minority to the ballot. They will always lose. NO CIVIL RIGHTS BATTLES ARE WON AT THE BALLOT BOX. It's outrageous that we have to beg our fellow citizens for citizenship. And they aren't going to give it to us now, any more than the majority would have voted to end slavery, to give women the vote, to give African-Americans full civil rights, or to allow mixed race marriage.

We did not vote on any of those issues. Why is MY citizenship up to the ballot? Why are gay people uniquely required to be approved by a majority vote?

As quoted by Susan Russell,Harry Knox wrote,
Once again, when American voters have had an opportunity to affirm my humanity and the loving commitment I have made to my husband, a majority of those voters have made a conscious decision to deny my humanity and treat me as if my citizenship and my marriage mean nothing; all the while patting themselves on the back for their piety. The slap they intended is received. I am made to wonder – Am I human? Am I an American? Am I a Christian? Am I married?

It is clear that most voters in Maine, like majorities in other states before them, intend for me to feel less than human. People we respect as sisters and brothers in the human family, we treat as equals. Those majorities have reserved to themselves a legal right they feel specially entitled to – in spite of the fact that my husband and I face all the health, financial, familial and social challenges they do, and need the same supports they enjoy.
Once you dehumanize, it's not a long step to seeing no problem with imprisonment, or even death. Here's a sample of the hate language from the Maine Campaign: "evil", "sickness", "perversion", "unspeakable".

Let's look at a few issues in the broader world/Anglican-Episcopal flavor on these lines.

Item 1: The nation of Uganda plans to increase the criminal penalties for "homosexual behavior" up to and including the death penalty. There are also penalties for "advocacy". This "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" has been met with surprising silence. US Rep Tammy Baldwin has written Hilary Clinton asking for a response. THe US and French Embassies have decried it. But there appears to be no response from TEC or the Anglican Communion overall, outside of the blogs.

Item 2: In the almost-schismatic Dio South Carolina, which is holding its breath so as not to be contaminated by the cooties of the rest of TEC, they had a resolution as follows:
Whereas the Diocese of South Carolina recognizes we have all been created in God‟s image and are precious in his sight, and
Whereas we acknowledge we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and stand equally in need of his mercy and grace, we thankfully and humbly,
Resolve that this Diocese will not condone prejudice or deny the dignity of any person, includingbut not limited to, those who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Nevertheless, we will speak the truth in love as Holy Scripture commends for the amendment of life required of disciples of Christ. It is love of neighbor and the abiding concern for their spiritual well being that compels such honesty and will never allow us to remain silent.
Despite basically being a resolution allowing them to slap around gays with the literalist bible, this nevertheless was defeated, 182-117. As commented by LIsa at My Manner of LIfe, this makes it official: the Dio South Carolina WILL condone prejudice and deny the dignity of gay people. (Of course the "believe themselves to be" is another slap in the face, but given that South Carolina is a hotbed of anti-science creationism, perhaps not surprising).

The official TEC responses to these? ::crickets::

But at least there are a few bright lights. The Episcopal Bishop of Maine has a sad statement of regret about Question 1,
Many faithful Episcopalians are deeply grieved at this decision. They had hoped that they and their families might enjoy the recognition and protections afforded heterosexual couples. The rejection of the law also feels like rejection of them as persons. I join in their grief that the right of same gender couples to enter into a lifelong, monogamous marriage has been denied. ....

The Episcopal Church in Maine will continue to offer a warm welcome to all people including those for whom the results of this referendum are disappointing. Especially in this tender time, I offer our assurances to gay and lesbian Mainers that you, your relationships, and your families have our support and blessing.
Yay, Bishop Lane. We saw in California a number of RC seeking solace from their church's institutional hatred in the Episcopal Church. Look for Mainers to do the same thing, I think, especially because their Roman Catholic Bishop of Maine was the major supporter of the anti-equality alliance (a view not necessarily shared by Maine Catholics).

The gay marriage issue is challenging Christianity's credibility just as it is challenging Constitutional credibility. Really, the challenge of radical love, just like the challenge of true American liberty, is applying those principles to those who are distinctly Other.


JCF said...

The gay marriage issue is challenging Christianity's credibility just as it is challenging Constitutional credibility. Really, the challenge of radical love, just like the challenge of true American liberty, is applying those principles to those who are distinctly Other.

Amen, amen, and AMEN!!

Seriously, IT: if you should discern a call to ordination in TEC, and desire a letter of recommendation... ;-)

Wormwood's Doxy said...

FWIW, I received an e-mail this morning from Miguel Angel Escobar, who works with the Presiding Bishop. He told me that a statement is "forthcoming." I have no idea when...

IT--I hope you will take this in the spirit with which I mean it: It's a sad day when the atheist is far more Christian than the people who claim the label...

IT said...

Thanks for the kind words, both.

David said...

Doncha just love the Dio of South Carolina ? I can just hear them now, smacking someone around with Holy Scripture...

But we love you ::SMACK:: we love you ::SMACK:: (ad infinitum, ad nauseam)

Paul (A.) said...

"South Carolina is a hotbed of anti-science creationism". They have problems with geography, too: The Appalachian Trail just bypasses the state but runs all the way to Buenos Aires.