Friday, March 8, 2013

How American Christians are moving towards equality

It is fascinating to see the steady move of mainstream Christianity towards equality for LGBT people.  Oh, the conservatives of the Southern Baptist Convention and the increasingly hysterical Conference of Catholic Bishops are using their big,bully pulpits to pound out anti-gay rhetoric--but at some level, they've lost the war even as they fight their final battles.

Item:  This article from a feminist Catholic brilliantly illuminates the disconnect between the hierarchy and the folks in the pews (remember, lay Catholics are amongst the most gay-supportive):
It’s an often lonely place here in the quiet land of LGBT-loving, pro-choice, liberal Catholics. Some days I like to imagine it’s a little party just for Stephen Colbert, Joe Biden and me. But it’s not: 60 percent of American Catholics say they don’t strongly adhere to the church’s stance on abortion, and even more don’t subscribe to its position on same-sex marriage. Nearly 80 percent think you can practice birth control and not attend Mass regularly and still be a good Catholic, while only 20 percent believe in the necessity of an all-male, celibate clergy. You can call us Cafeteria Catholics if you like, but it doesn’t change our principles or our hopes for reform. And you can say the church is unchangeable, but it’s revised itself plenty over 2,000 years. This is a body that once decided slavery didn’t contradict natural law, so don’t rule out the possibility of further enlightenment.
What she doesn't explain is how she's working to effect that enlightenment, however.

Item:  Sarah Posner profiles a "renegade" Southern Baptist:
Meet an average—or maybe not so average, but instructive—Southern Baptist, the Rev. Jeff Hood. Four years out of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the denomination’ s preeminent training ground, the 29-year-old Hood supports LGBT rights (he actually prefers to the term “queer”) and favors immigration reform with UAFA. ... .
His denomination, Hood maintains, realizes it needs to change or face irrelevance. “No one’s listening to them now. They realize they are losing ground, losing their voice. They’re trying to figure out a way to gain it back and be relevant....The reason is—it’s hurtful to even say this—because they are concerned with patriarchy and control. By promoting Calvinism and all these theologies of exclusion, they are able to maintain control. To me, Christianty is not an exclusive deal.”
 Item: Joseph Ward in the Huff Po argues that LGBT families are expanding Christian love:
Don't get me wrong; Catholics are one of the most supportive religious communities on this issue. But as the policy discussions expand, the disconnect between the church leadership and the people has become sharper. On one hand many faithful Catholics are constantly interacting with their LGBT neighbors, workmates, children and parents; and on the other, the churches leaders struggle to understand the human stories of inequality...

As a Christian community we have to ask ourselves: how can we live in a country that does not protect and defend LGBT families? How do some call themselves "Christian" and at the same time advocate for this blatant inequality?...

As gay, lesbian and transgender people emerge from the shadows, we see how the very policies created to "defend" marriage deny this sacrament to loving, committed couples.

Christians around the country are tired of watching their friends and families struggle. They're tired of a culture war that demands a separate but equal framework, and pained by bearing witness to the daily consequences it has on the lives of hardworking Americans.

They see how these couples struggle to find stability without the rights and protections granted to their heterosexual counterparts. Christians who were once conflicted are becoming new allies in the fight for equality knowing the radical love in the Gospels cannot allow them, in good conscience, to treat LGBT families as anything less than equal (Matthew 7:12).
Know hope.


JCF said...

I've mentioned several times here how beaten up I've felt at Joe.My.God as queer Christian. But a couple of days ago Joe posted a thread simply called "When Was the Last Time You Were in Church?", and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of us (queer Christians) there were! All spoke of the affirmation they receive in their congregations (mainly Episcopal, UCC, MCC and Lutheran---I'm assuming ELCA), and how their sexuality/families were basically non-issues. CHANGE IS HAPPENING!!!

[I was also surprised to see how most of these JMG commenters were NOT savaged on the thread. I don't know if it's just because the most vituperative anti-theists avoided the thread, that these commenters were male---yeah, that's an issue at JMG (the misogyny)---or just that they weren't *me*. :-/]

JCF said...

Could we all here please pray/think positive thoughts for our friend It's Margaret?