Some people in North Carolina voted yesterday. They voted on a little something called, in shorthand “Amendment 1”. This “measure defines marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, and bans any other type of “domestic legal union” such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.” It passed with 61% of the vote. Our lovely President today came out and said that he believes “same sex couples should be able to get married“, ostensibly in response to the outrage over Amendment 1 passing.
I have seen many of my brothers and sisters in Christ respond to this battle, some celebrating another law “upholding the sanctity of marriage” and some lamenting the fact that in this day and age our gay brethren are still denied basic rights, they have responded in this way each time this battle comes up for another round.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, know I come down on the side of the lamenters. That I believe gay people have every right to be married in the exact same way my husband and I are married. They should get tax breaks, hospital visitation, the legal recognition of all their peers that theirs is legitimate partnership. I sometimes take it for granted that my Christ loving brothers and sisters do not feel the way I do. That they do not view marriage as a secular institution, they believe the Bible is God breathed and God breathed a river of pain on the man who sleeps with other men, they worry about legitimizing sin, not relationships. And I understand, I do not think the way they do but I know their hearts. They love Christ and they love marriage and they believe that their marriage will be cheapened if 2 people of the same gender, people living in active sin, are allowed the same privilege.
And it makes me weep for them.
Yeah, I said it. It breaks my heart.
I know the Bible verses they quote, I’ve read 1 Corinthians, I’ve read 1 Timothy, I’ve read Romans. I’ve read em. But I’ve also read Matthew 25:40 where Jesus Christ, Himself says: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
The least of these. The ones who hunger. The ones who thirst. The orphans, the widows, the lame, the sick. The prostitues and lepers, the tax collectors. The ones society says: “we hate who you are, what you stand for. You are weak, you are flawed, you are worthless.”
What we do for them, we do for Him. What we do TO them, we do TO Him.
When we tell a marginalized sector of humanity, a group of people bullied and discriminated against for something as simple as loving a person of the same gender, when we tell gay people: NO. Because you are the same sex you cannot marry your partner and see them in the hospital when they are dying, or get a little something back on your taxes as a reward for contributing to the country as a family. NO. You can’t legalize your partnership because you are bad and wrong and hellbound. People like you deserve to be alone. People like you deserve to die of AIDS. People like you a disgusting.
When we say these things, with our voices, with our votes?
We say them to Christ.
I see pictures of my fellow Christians cutting a wedding cake in celebration of this amendment passing. And I want to rage. I want to curse. I want to call them bigots who are so filled with hate they’d burst if you touched them. I want to scream at them that they are horrible people, dead inside. I want to tell them that no real Christians would actively take joy in making a fellow human being a second class citizen. I want to tell them there is not way they can really love Christ because all that judging makes them horrible Christians.
But I’d be wrong.
Because just 2 verses earlier, Jesus Christ says the words that made me decide to become a Christian. In Matthew 22: 37-40 He says:” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I might think they are behaving in a hateful way, but I am commanded to love them. Love them just as readily as I love those I believe are being marginalized and pushed out. A very well spoken wise pastor said to me once: “If we could see what God sees, we would do what God does” And God sees us, all of us, flawed and hateful, empty and angry, and He loves us, He adores us.
Oh that I could do that with ease. With…GRACE. God is so much bigger than the hate we have for one another, He is so much larger than the box we try and put him in.
It’s hard for me to swallow that there are people who are actively behaving in a way that I think is horrible who also love Jesus. Like, legitimately love Him with all their hearts. But somehow that loving Christ doesn’t translate into them being a decent human being (as I see it) in any way.
I don’t understand it. I don’t.
And then I realize that the Christian church does not equal God. The church was made by human beings, fallible and flawed and all failed.
I realize that the God that I love is bigger than that little box we have tried to put Him in and I’m so grateful for it.
And more than that I can fight for Him.
I can fight to make sure that my fellow humans are treated with all the love and respect He is capable of pouring through me. Whether they are in the majority or minority I can fight to make sure that in spite of all the hate and discrimination we spew out into the world, we have a Father who loves us, all of us. He commands us to love each other and so I will. I will fight to love my fellow man.
I can fight like hell to make sure that people who love Christ understand that loving Him should open your mind farther than you ever thought possible…not close your heart to the hurts of others. Loving Him should open you up and out and overflowing with the love of Christ, so much love you have no choice but to spread it around a little.
So let this be my battle cry, small and insignificant though it may be, I will fight against whatever hate others may spread. I will fight against whatever ignorance you may admire.
I will fight till I take my last breath.
And while I fight that?
I will love you…just so you can see how it’s supposed to be done.