I Corinthians ch 13
Everyone has been celebrating for almost a week now. The Supreme Court decided to include LGBT people in the legal protections under the law as granted by the Fourteenth Amendment. People have changed their Facebook profiles into rainbow shades. This past weekend there was a huge celebration at the Gay Pride events all over the country. It has been especially gratifying to see so many straight people who joined in the celebration. Thank you all.
A woman climbed the flagpole and took down the Confederate flag on the state grounds in South Carolina. Then she was arrested. About a gazillion people offered to post her bail.
The families of the victims spoke at the white supremacist-terrorist’s court appearance and forgave him for his hate and ignorance. President Obama delivered a powerful, beautiful eulogy urging everyone to act as if they are graced by God. Then he sang a hymn about grace written by a slave trader who got converted. By grace we are led. By grace we are saved. By grace we are better, stronger, more loving, more forgiving. Through grace we come together. That white supremacist was welcomed into the Bible study group at the historic AME church, he was included in prayer, and then hate and ignorance of the grace of God made him stand up and start killing people who had just prayed for his soul. The families forgave him.
Then several black churches were burned to the ground.
One step forward, two steps back.
The Supreme Court upheld the right of LGBT couples to marry. Then the state of Alabama refused to issue marriage licenses. Then a federal judge ordered the county probate judges to stop acting silly and comply with the SCOTUS decision. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/probate-judges-opposed-gay-marriage-stand-firm-32146429
Then there’s this.
It was posted on Facebook by someone close to me. Huh.
Herewith, my response:
I saw your post about God’s definition of marriage. I am sorry you feel that way. As a Christian, as a gay woman, I can’t agree. Man’s law and God’s law are separate. I can’t allow myself to read the Bible selectively. I have to read it as a whole. Christ said, Love one another. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. I have to give that just as much weight as the passages against divorce, slavery, and stonings. If civilization has surpassed some passages, then I have to believe it can surpass others. I cling stubbornly to the words of Christ, and believe that God is inclusive of all of us. Even Paul said “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” He also said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13.
Chapters 12 and 13 are some of my favorite passages in the Bible. Verse 8: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
I don’t mean to preach, but I do love quoting the Bible, certainly the most powerful book ever written, God-breathed, God-inspired, and also one of the most beautiful.
I know you love me. I know you do not judge. I am so happy that the Supreme Court decided to include me in the protection guaranteed to every citizen in the Fourteenth Amendment. Section One says:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Specifically, the justices said that gay people cannot be denied the equal protection of legal marriage.
They said nothing about weddings, which are and will always be, a function of religion.
Marriage is a legal institution granted by the government. You go to the courthouse to get a marriage license, which is a legal document. It has nothing to do with a person’s faith or beliefs. There are over 1100 different laws, privileges, and benefits that are acquired through marriage, not least of which are tax rules which benefit married couples, Social Security benefits, the right of a spouse to make life and death medical decisions, legalities pertaining to the privileges and rights of parents to raise their children.
We agree on this: I support God’s law over man’s law, but I live in this world, and it means a lot to me to be recognized as a full citizen with the rights of all others. This year I will raise my American flag with more joy, honor, and celebration than ever, knowing that the Supreme Court says that I am a full citizen, with equal protection under the law.
Amen to that.
But there was also this.
So, this weekend I will be flying my American flag, not the rainbow flag, because the Supreme Court just validated me as a full citizen with access to equal protection under the law granted to every other citizen. This weekend, I fly the red, white, and blue, with more pride, honor, and celebration that ever. It’s nice to be included.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Thus endeth the lesson. And the people said.
Ya’ll stay safe and have fun.