Monday, May 14, 2012

A religious view of Obama's "evolution" on marriage equality

President Obama’s historic statement on same-sex marriage was 122 words long, and “God” was not one of them. Nevertheless, it was an important religious statement that merits our attention—not just because it’s a slap in the face to the so-called Christian Right (neither Christian nor Right, as some of my progressive Christian friends like to say) but because of its own positive values.... 
But it is also a principled stand for a different variety of religious values. Rick Santorum believes that you have to choose between God and gay, between sexuality and religion. And although I’ve gotten in some trouble for saying so, I’ll repeat my view that Dan Savage did as well.... Savage’s view is fine as a personal religious ideology, but coming in a public statement from Gay Activist #1, it tells traditional religious people that there’s no space for them in an LGBT-inclusive world. Once again, it’s God vs. Gay, at least as that God is understood by traditionalists. 
Obama’s thoughtful statement sends a different message. It says that values like introspection, compassion, and justice support, rather than oppose, equality for LGBT people. We can interpret Leviticus, Romans, and Corinthians ten ways from Sunday. But what we can’t ignore are the calls to justice and compassion. 
What, according to the statement, led Obama to this position? The right kind of thinking. Over time, he said, he has come to understand the truth of same-sex couples: that they are as capable of commitment, love, and sanctity as opposite-sex ones; and that it is an injustice to deny the benefits of marriage to gay people. Those are religious values, expressed in a personal way.... 
Is that not the same reasoning that applies in all anti-oppression work, whether regarding sexual minorities, gender minorities, racial minorities, or issues of class, immigration, and economic justice? 
Only 122 words, but we could teach this statement in Sunday school as an example of how we grow as human beings by opening ourselves to the truth of other people’s experiences, by opening our hearts, by revising our opinions. Usually it’s religion that tries to speak to politicians. But today, we saw the reverse.

1 comment:

JCF said...

President Obama’s historic statement on same-sex marriage was 122 words long, and “God” was not one of them.

Well, I distinctly remember him mentioning "Christ", and for a (Trinitarian) Christian... ;-/