the dawning of a new day
Yesterday, when the Supreme Court issued its two "marriage equality" rulings, you could almost hear the roar of cheerful approval rising up from the people of this land -especially here in California where same-sex marriages will now be possible again.
I watched the social media explode with joyful cries of victory. I spent hours listening to NPR as every program was devoted to the court rulings. It seemed as if this country had taken a giant leap for the cause of justice and the promotion of equal dignity for all its citizens.
But you could also hear another rumbling yesterday. The voices of those who strongly oppose same-sex marriage as a symptom of societal decay, and condemn homosexuality as a sinful aberration were also loudly clamoring to be heard.
Unfortunately, the most strident of these voices came from "religious" people claiming that the Bible opposes homosexuality and prohibits any marriage other than one man-one woman (actually the Bible has little or nothing to say either about marriage or homosexuaity-but I'll save that point for another day).
I listened carefully to those voices of opposition. I heard the same old arguments over and over again; and I was hardly paying attention until one prominent Southern California pastor said something that got me to stop and listen.
After adamantly proclaiming that no same-sex couple would ever be allowed to be members of his church, he pleaded on behalf of the children of same-sex couples: "How could a man possibly be a mommy to his child, or how could a woman possibly be a daddy?"
At that point I found myself talking to the radio (I do that often): "You obviously don't know too many same-sex couples, Pastor. If you would welcome them to your church and spend some time with them, you'd have an answer to your question."
Over the years, I have come to know, love and respect many same-sex couples, faithfully committed to one another, raising beautiful children. They have been members of my church and their children attended the parish school. In virtually every case, the quality of the unconditional love in those same-sex families has served as a model for us all to celebrate and emulate. They mother their children with tender affection and protect them with a fierce love. They are mentors and guides, confidantes and confessors.
Can a man be a mommy or a woman a daddy? You bet, and then some.
You can offer legal and theological arguments for accepting same-sex marriage until you are "blue in the face," but these arguments will essentially be ignored by those who believe they occupy some sort of moral or religious "high ground" by opposing same-sex marriage or condemning homosexuality.
The only way to change minds here is through personal relationships with one another.
When gay people and straight people sit next to one another in church, when same-sex couples and straight couples attend parents' meetings together or live next to each other, suddenly those different "others" no longer seem so different - strangers become friends, opponents become allies, demons become angels.
There is a great Zen saying that I want to claim for this new day:
The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that
I am here and you are out there.