Saturday, February 26, 2011

Claiming the blessing

Many of you followed me here from my other blog and know all about this, but for those who haven't, I want to tell you a story.

Too often LGBT people, attacked and injured by conservatives and fundamentalists, see religion as their enemy. This is because those opposed to equality and justice for all often coat their bias with a cloak of religion, particularly Christianity. But it isn't religion, or Christianity, that's the enemy of love. It's those who misuse it, through their fear, or ignorance, or hatred.

So while we endure the right wing claiming the mantle of "Christian", there are many, many Christians who welcome their LGBT brothers and sisters,and work tirelessly to change their churches to do the same. These folks aren't giving us a free pass; they want LGBT people to be called to the same standards and expectation they have for straight people -- a call to enter at the strait gate, so to speak.

Although I'm not a believer, my wife is quite devout. She left the Roman Catholicism of her youth to join the Episcopal church, which in core doctrine is almost indistinguishable. The Episcopal Church (TEC) has come a long way, although like any institution, it moves slowly in mandating nation-wide recognition for LGBT couples. Still, TEC is known for two openly gay and partnered bishops (as well as numerous clergy), and in many cases, generous local options for same sex couples, at the discretion of their bishops. So in many Dioceses where marriage equality is the law of the land, those Episcopal bishops will allow you to be married in church. Others may not perform the actual marriage, but will perform a blessing.

In parts of Europe, of course, civil marriage is …uh, divorced, if you will ;-) from religious recognition. So there's nothing new in having the civil celebration separated from a religious blessing.

Last summer, our local Bishop gave permission to our parish to bless faithfully partnered same sex couples. We went through the process, which included obligatory counseling, copies of our marriage license, and letters to the Bishop seeking his approval, which he gave. So, today, my wife and I will have our marriage blessed in the church community in a special mass with our friends and family.

Not a gay marriage. Not a same-sex marriage. Just a marriage, like any other marriage, now with the added expectations of a religious community. As it should be.

Next time someone tries to tell you that "Christians" are all opposed to equality, remember this.

And don't be afraid to claim the blessing.

Theological resources for fighting the anti-gay Christians
1) From the Episcopal Church, "Doing the Theology":
2) Dealing with the Bible arguments:
3) The book, Reasonable and Holy: engaging same sexuality, by the Rev. Tobias Haller, BSG


JCF said...

Mazel Tov!!! :-D

{{{IT & BP}}}

Want Some Wood said...

Congratulations and God bless you!

Jim said...

Mazel Tov!