Archive for June, 2013

Christians vs. Gays: The Damage Done

June 30, 2013

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENT HOLDS SIGN IN PROTEST OUTSIDE STATEHOUSE

Excerpt from “Christians v. Gays: The Damage Done,” by David Gushee. Published in Religion Dispatches, 6/26/13.

Many [conservative Christian activists] are already arguing about the great damage that will be done to marriage with today’s decisions [U.S. Supreme Court rulings of 6/26/13 on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8]. I would suggest that a more important damage to Christian witness in American culture has already been done, not by the Supreme Court but by the Christian activists; and not just today but for a generation or more. And that damage will intensify in proportion to the Christian outcry in days to come.

What has that damage been?

  • Christians (understood to mean here heterosexual activist traditionalists) have become identified with actively pursuing the denial of rights and benefits to others that they themselves enjoy. In other words, the “Gospel” has been identified with the cause of self-benefiting social discrimination against a minority group, a losing hand if ever there was one.
  • Christians, claiming to follow Jesus, have become identified as the chief enemies of gay and lesbian human beings (some of whom are also Christians), and of the moral and legal rights of lesbians and gays, whereas Jesus’ enemies tended to be people who performed exactly this kind of marginalization on the despised ones of their era.

Continue reading this article.

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Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and Evan Wolfson discuss DOMA defeat

June 30, 2013

I Believe

June 27, 2013
Michael Knaapen and his husband John Becker react outside the US Supreme Court in Washington DC on June 26, 2013. By Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty.

Michael Knaapen and his husband John Becker react outside the US Supreme Court in Washington DC on June 26, 2013. By Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty.

by Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, 6/26/13

Some final thoughts after so many years of so many thoughts. Marriage is not a political act; it’s a human one. It is based on love, before it is rooted in law. Same-sex marriages have always existed because the human heart has always existed in complicated, beautiful and strange ways. But to have them recognized by the wider community, protected from vengeful relatives, preserved in times of illness and death, and elevated as a responsible, adult and equal contribution to our common good is a huge moment in human consciousness. It has happened elsewhere. But here in America, the debate was the most profound, lengthy and impassioned. This country’s democratic institutions made this a tough road but thereby also gave us the chance and time to persuade the country, which we did. I understand and respect those who in good conscience fought this tooth and nail. I am saddened by how many failed to see past elaborate, ancient codes of conduct toward the ultimate good of equal human dignity. I am reminded of the courage of a man like Evan Wolfson who had the vision and determination to change the world.

But this happened the right way – from the ground up, with argument, with lawsuits, with cultural change, with individual courage. I remember being told in the very early 1990s that America was far too bigoted a place to allow marriage equality – just as I was told in 2007 that America was far too bigoted a place to elect a black president. I believed neither proposition, perhaps because I love this country so much I knew it would eventually get there. I trusted the system. And it worked. From 1989 (when I wrote the first case for this on the cover of a national magazine) to today is less than a quarter century. Amazing, when you think of how long it took for humanity to even think about this deep wound in the human psyche.

So to those who are often tempted to write off America’s ability to perfect its union still further, to lead the world in the clarity of its moral and political discourse, and to resist the pull of fundamentalism when it conflicts with human dignity, let me just say: I believe.

Because I have seen.

 

Sam Harris: Islam and the Misuses of Ecstasy

June 12, 2013
Hajj pilgrims in Mecca

Hajj pilgrims in Mecca

“Islam marries religious ecstasy and sectarian hatred in a way that other religions do not,” writes Sam Harris.

Read his essay here.