Opinion

Marriage equality, Christianity and Obama | Amy Johnson

It’s hard to come out.

Recent events show that it can be a challenge for even straight allies — straight people who support LGBT rights — to come clean about our support for the LGBT community. I remember years ago, wondering how my peer group of young mothers would react if I became more vocal about my stance regarding homosexuality and other political issues. Obviously, I got over that.

When President Obama came out publicly with his statement that people of the same sex ought to be able to get married, a firestorm of responses ensued: everything from “he’s made history” (abcnews.com) to “That position is not appropriate for the president because the Bible is strictly against that.” (reuters.com)

One of the biggest political question marks around the the president’s statement is what predominantly black churches will do. Pundits are a-buzz. Will President Obama lose support in the African American Christian community because he chose to publicly support same-sex marriage? Many pastors, formerly in favor if President Obama’s administration, are now stating they “cannot” give the president their support anymore, when in actuality, it’s still their choice. It’s a free country, after all.

The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a predominantly Black Christian church, responded this way:

“The question that should be raised is, ‘Should all Americans have the same civil rights?’….The institution of marriage is not under attack because of the president’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago when men viewed women as property and children as trophies of their sexual prowess. Marriage is under attack by low wages, high incarceration, and lack of education. Marriage is under attack by clergy who think nothing of stepping outside of the bounds of marriage to sleep with ‘preaching groupies.’”

Amen! Current marriage rates are at an all-time low, without any help from same-sex couples. On top of that, 1.1 million children live in a household where divorce has occurred in the past year, according to The Huffington Post.

Straight people appear to have mucked up the institution of marriage just fine on our own, thank you. One president supporting LGBT rights is not the cause of the demise of marriage in our country.

Reverend Dr. Moss goes on: “To hold that the President of the United States must hold your theological position is absurd. He is President of the United States…..he is called to protect those who are Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, gay and straight.”

How quickly we forget. We pontificate about freedom, yet, at most, tolerate anyone who is not Christian — or not Christian like us. Some people send me Scripture and call me names and tell me I’m not a real Christian because of my views. You don’t have to share my views — our constitution guarantees free speech. However, I am not going to change my beliefs because of yours. My Christianity is my business, and I am also guaranteed religious freedom under our constitution.

“Gay people have never been the enemy,” says Reverend Dr. Moss. “Emmett Till and four little girls in Alabama did not die” (in a bombing in a church during the Civil Rights Movement) for a Sunday morning sound bite where you could show disdain for one group of God’s children. They died from an evil act by men who believed in doctrine over love. We live today because of a man who believed in love over doctrine who died on a cross.”

I hope you’ll consider joining me and Churches for Marriage Equality in believing in love over doctrine by marching in the Seattle Pride Parade on June 24.

My fellow Americans of all faiths or none, may love continue to win.

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