Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Four Presbyteries Vote Tuesday

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is back after a break for Easter to continue voting on amendment B. Four presbyteries vote Tuesday: Salem, San Francisco, National Capital and Wabash Valley.

The score on the amendment is 65-84, so barring the rapture of all the true believers who think LGBT people should be second class church members, it won't pass this year.

However, It is crucial that this amendment be debated and voted on in your presbytery. I talked about that here.

When you speak out you provide hope. People realize they aren't alone. Also, when you tell your story, hearts and minds change.

We need a good solid finish to counter claims that the church has "decided" against equality. It hasn't. Good momentum and witness for equality will put us in a good spot the next time the General Assembly meets in 2010.

Get out the word. Get out the vote. Make sure your presbytery has ample time to discuss this issue. Don't let the opposition get away with closing off debate because it is not likely to pass overall.

We have the national stage. The mic is open. The more conversation happens, the more people get that this is about equality and justice.

Make sure you pick up the latest copy of Jack Rogers' book, Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church (Second Edition). I gave a brief introduction here.

The chapter that is worth the price of the book for me is the one in which he looks at the arguments of the Christians who were pro-slavery in the 19th century. For them the Bible was clear that there was a distinction of races (based on the curse of Noah) and that slavery was divinely sanctioned. They read their then current philosophy of life into the Bible. The abolitionists were considered "unbiblical."

It is hard to imagine that people thought like that. From our perspective it's nuts. Yet similar arguments are given today to promote inequality. A philosophy of prejudice is read into the Bible today to justify repression of sexual minorities.

Now in response to this, I will likely receive comments that I am reading the Bible wrong and am denying Christ and Christmas. Whatever. Our descendants will look on those who have used the Bible to deny equality to LGBT people the same way we look on those who used the Bible to promote slavery, deny equality for women, and prevent inter-racial marriage.

I could be wrong. History could take a strange turn. Our descendants could end up in a fascist state that uses LGBT people as scapegoats for all the ills of society. Maybe added to the scapegoat list will be women, people of color, those with 'foreign ancestry,' holders of unpopular political opinions, pacifists, or white guys with ponytails.

Justice and equality are not inevitable. It is not just a matter of time. It is a matter of action, courage, vigilance, and speaking out. It certainly is not just about the Presbyterian church. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

Silence gives consent.
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