Tuesday, June 06, 2006

pride of the day

One thing I forgot to mention in my loves of the day post: the church where my first son was baptised and where we went this weekend (and will continue to go). I was crazy about many of the people in the congregation of the church I was involved with on the other side of the water, but occasionally, the politics of the church were diametrically opposed to mine. For example, I've often used a church's views on hommosexuality as a litmus test. While the issue itself is important to me, it is also reflective of a larger world view. It's interesting to note, for example, that Jesus is never attributed as saying anything regarding homosexuality. In the entire Bible, I believe there are 8 references to homosexuality (and some of those are debatable). In other words, views on homosexuality are hardly a cornerstone of the religion. And yet, to hear the most vocal religious "leaders" today, one would think it's one of the church's most vital issues. So... I want my church, at the very least, to be ambivalent about the issue, and preferably, to welcome homosexuals into the congregation with love. The pastor at my previous church and I disagree, at least to an extent, on this. I like him a lot, and I think he is a good man, but on this issue, we are in disagreement. And it's an important issue to me.

The church that I'm now attending, on the other hand, bills itself as "an open and affirming congregation." I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I believe that close to 50% of the congregation is gay. At church on Sunday, for example, I saw an older lesbian couple very comfortably holding hands in the pews. In other words, I saw a committed and loving relationship that was allowed to express itself in the same way that a heterosexual couple would. Also, the pastor made a point of mentioning a meeting about participation in Seattle's upcoming Gay Pride Parade, where our church will have both an information booth and a float. Not what you'd generally expect from a church based on what is portrayed in the media, no?

And on that note, please do click on the headline for this post. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today is an article about local religious leaders speaking out against an initiative attempt currently in the works that seeks to roll back gay civil rights laws recently passed in Washington state. Much of the signature gathering has been done at conservative churches. Some quotes from the article:

"Not all Christians feel that way," said the Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr., the regional minister for the Northwest of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). "God confers dignity and worth on all people."

Opponents of gay rights "use discrimination to sanctify wrong and to sanctify themselves," said the Rev. Jon Luopa, the senior minister of University Unitarian Church, who vowed to mobilize his ministry if the anti-discrimination measure were challenged.

"There are not to be any second-class citizens," said the Rev. Paul Benz, the director of the Lutheran Public Policy Office for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Benz, like many of the others present, was irked that the state's religious voice was perceived as prejudiced against gays.

"Let the world know we are Christians not by our support of discrimination but by our love," Sullivan said.

I'm thankful for leaders such as these. This is what Christianity should be.


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