I grew up in a Christian church and one of the biggest lessons I learned while I was there was love. I was taught that Jesus was the type of man who hung out with thieves, prostitutes, and the poor and loved each one of them in the same way he loved others. I was also taught that our place is not to judge others lest we be judged ourselves. The whole “he who casts the first stone” lesson.
The U.S. supreme Court decision on Friday that supported the right of same-sex couples to marry created much joy in the hearts of those who have been in support of equal rights for gay people. Those supporters include individuals from all walks of life. For those individuals, the fight has always been about love, not about any hidden “gay agenda” and definitely not about discrimination or hatred.
Mixed in with all the love and celebration of that decision came a strong dose of fear-based, judgemental, and at times hate-filled words. While those reactions were expected from the clearly bigoted, hateful groups of individuals who still exist in our country, it was disappointing to see some of these same reactions coming from people who claim to be “Christians.” The response was not Christ-like from a space of non-judgment and love. On the contrary, it was harsh, judgmental, and oft-times hateful.
There seems to be a great misunderstanding amongst some Christians (note I said “some” not “all”) of the Fundamental, Evangelical, or Conservative persuasions, that you cannot be gay and be a Christian. They take a stance of “us against them.” The “righteous against the sinners.” The “good against the bad.” The “moral against the immoral.” What an unfortunate, disillusioned, and limiting stance. In reality, a great number of gay people are indeed Christian. They go to church, they hold Bible studies, they pray for your souls, they feed and clothe the hungry. There are also Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics, Sikhs, Atheists, Wiccans, etc.; the same mix of faiths and belief systems as the rest of our wonderful country.
We are all human beings. We all deserve love. We all deserve equal rights no matter what our religious or spiritual stance may be. Basic human rights has absolutely nothing to do with your religion. We all should have equal protection under the law. The law of our country is not the Bible or God’s law. It is the Constitution. If the law of the land were based on one religion, then that would impede on the rights of others who choose to believe something different.
Gay people were given the Constitutionally protected right to marry the person they love. This in no way, shape or form infringes upon your right to choose who you will marry. It in no way, shape, or form infringes on your right to choose the religion you want to practice. You can still go to your churches, still read your Bibles, still pray for the souls of those you care about. Nothing has changed except for a new challenge to your own hearts. Acceptance.
We all have the opportunity right now to choose love and acceptance. There has been way too much judgment, hatred, fear, and misunderstanding surrounding the issue of gay rights coming from all sides. It’s past time for all who call themselves “Christians” to be the example and reflect how Jesus would want us to be. He would expect nothing less than for us to love one another in both word and deed and cast all judgment aside.
Love always wins.