Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maine Next? and Marriage Equality

From the New York Times ...

Gay-rights advocates moved remarkably close to their goal of making same-sex marriage legal throughout New England on Tuesday, when the Maine House of Representative voted to legalize such unions.

LinkIn about ten years, we'll be scratching our heads and asking ourselves, "Why all the fuss?"

America is a great democracy, an on-going experiment of freedom and opportunity, that everyone might have a fair shot at life. And what is life, finally, but to love and be loved - to live safely, free from harassment and discrimination - to get up in the morning and make a cup of coffee; read the newspaper or check out the news via the internet - go to work, grab a hamburger, make a life.

There's no getting around a simple sad reality: some Christians mounted a similar campaign promoting slavery as "God's way for the races" and prohibiting women from voting, citing Bible verses and great theologians. In both cases, it was claimed that change would bring about the unraveling of society, the end of the family, and who knows what other evils lurk around the corner if we end slavery and give women the vote!

Within the Christian tradition, an interesting, if not flawed, notion: that the way things are are the way things should be - God's natural order of things, immutable and forever. This was the foundation for the "divine right of kings" and the perpetual serfdom of millions. The Medieval Church saw the world in unchanging terms,, and, of course, it was the church that correctly discerned the nature of the universe and, thus, fought Galileo and others who suggested an alternative to the church's position.

Which is why some Christians so bitterly opposed Darwin, and still do, because Darwin saw nature evolving, changing, and on the move. Indeed, change seems to be the nature of things.

Darwin himself, along with his family, was profoundly committed to ending slavery long before he began his scientific work which, as he saw it, only strengthened his notion that society need not be forever cast in concrete, that things change, and need to change socially, and that societies can evolve and make progress. In other words, slavery was not inherent in some fixed order of things determined by God. Slavery was a great evil, and we had it within our moral and political power to end it!

Why did some Christians write so eloquently in favor of slavery?
Why did some oppose the vote for women?
And fight against their ordination?

Though there are some who still stand by these notions (some still believe in a flat earth, too), most Christians today would agree - it was a misreading of the Bible and a theological mistake to favor slavery and deny women the vote.

Ten years from now, we will be wonder why such a fuss was made about marriage equality!

1 comment:

SO Katie said...

So true Pastor Tom ... and Charles Darwin was a devoted Anglican. :-D