As last week’s Supreme Court decision and the ensuing reaction highlight, the conservative church is losing the debate over gay marriage.
Frankly, I welcome it.
For much of my life I’ve noticed the conservative church taking an approach to social issues that basically tells other people how to live. It’s judgmental, it forces beliefs on others and it denies people basic rights. I’m sure they don’t see it that way, but I think that’s how it’s coming across in the wider culture. What’s worse is that it gives the impression that blindly following a bunch of rules is what makes someone a Christian, that what is good and right and lovely in the eyes of God is wearing long skirts, not drinking beer and making sure people don’t get gay married.
I don’t get it.
I think it’s time for the church to stop expecting the world to follow our beliefs. You can’t legislate people into Christians. That’s not the great commission.
The church claims to be about love, but when all we do is argue about cultural issues and try to make people do stuff they don’t believe, we’re exhibiting the opposite of love.
It’s time the church figured out how to live in disagreement. It’s time churches figure out how to be the minority. Because guess what—that’s where we are.
Where this gets especially interesting is that the church itself is in deep disagreement. I used the phrase ‘conservative church’ above because not all churches condemn the LGBT lifestyle. Some churches are LGBT affirming and it’s interesting watching both sides try to navigate these waters. I think it’s time for the church to recognize the disagreement, let other people live how they want to live, and move on as brothers and sisters in unity.
Some other people have more eloquent things to say about faith and LGBT issues than I do:
- The Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota on the State Passing Same-Sex Marriage
- A conservative who realizes the culture war may be lost, but doesn’t despair: “You can’t hate a people and reach a people at the same time.”
- Deeper Story reactions to the Supreme Court rulings
- Scroll down for Rachel Held Evans’ response here. She hasn’t blogged about it yet, but I suspect she will. She also has a guest post at CNN about how religious beliefs can change. In the light of this week’s court rulings, I think that’s an important reminder for Christians, who throughout time have changed their minds on things like slavery, segregation, women’s rights and more. (As a side note, I think Rachel is a powerful and much needed voice today, both deeply thinking and deeply faithful. I think I was once jealous of her blogging and book deals, but it’s pretty clear I couldn’t do what she does.)
Reading stories like these (and also browsing my social media feeds and seeing a lot more joy than dismay) gives me hope.