Sunday, June 14, 2015

On Marriage Equality and the church

On June 12, 2015, Out & About Nashville published an article by James Grady about Middle Tennessee’s Episcopal bishop, the Right Reverend John Bauerschmidt, and his leading the charge against marriage equality for Episcopalians ( I do not understand how a Christian bishop thinks about this issue theologically.

If this were just one man with one opinion, his views about this issue would not be so problematic. However, this bishop’s conservative stance contradicts many Episcopalians’ beliefs on social issues, especially regarding how we treat each other as human beings.

When I grew up in Mississippi as the daughter of an Episcopalian priest during the 1950’s and 60’s, we had no idea at that time that women would become priests one day. Now, my 92 year old mother and I attend St. Augustine’s Church on Vanderbilt’s campus where two women priests lead our services and preach the gospel. Becca Stevens at St. A’s preaches that “Love Heals.” I see no healing or loving compassion in denying the LGBT community (many of whom are Christians) equality in marriage.

I read the Bible as metaphorical stories about our yearning for the divine’s love and our sometimes difficulty with living as mortals, because we humans judge each other and sometimes fear those who are different from us. But, growing up with my church lady mother and my preaching dad, I was taught about how God loves all people, no matter what.

The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) often embraces LGBT people, and a task force has recently recommended resolutions that reword the church’s canon law, including changing language indicating that marriage is between a man and a woman, according to O&AN. However, Bauerschmidt and his co-authors wrote against the changes suggested by the report which “would render optional the traditional understanding that marriage is a ‘covenant between a man and a woman’ that is intended, when it is God’s will, ‘for the procreation of children’ (”

Sarah Smith, a parishioner of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church and a candidate for Master of Theological Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, says: “In this logic, why then would we allow people that are past child bearing ages to marry or people who are biologically incapable? The argument doesn’t hold and there are so many more ways of being ‘procreative’ than bearing children through one’s body.”

I wonder: What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? He taught us to love sex workers, and he blessed those who are weary, meek, sick, hungry or poor.

Although I don’t channel God like one U.S. President has, I have no doubt in my mind that our modern day Jesus would preach that all people have the right to marry, and that all people also have the right to equal pay, to food and shelter, to a fair justice system, and to love whomever they love. 

No comments:

Post a Comment