Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Some Thoughts on Equality.

(I have a few more India related posts almost ready. But in light of some more recent news, I wanted to take a few minutes to address an issue that has been on my heart a lot over the past few weeks.)

Today I overheard a few students at my Christian college discussing the whole gay marriage issue. And yes, it is an issue. It's an issue because for some reason people think it's okay do deny equality to other people. As if any person has enough power to dictate whether another person is allowed the same ability to get married.

The particular conversation I overheard was especially upsetting. These individuals were complaining about signs stating that in forty years those opposed to marriage equality will look as foolish as those who were opposed to civil rights look now. These students were arguing that the two movements can't be compared because the civil rights movement was about skin color and the gay rights movement is about sexual orientation. Apparently they aren't the same.

Well, duh.

What these students failed to realize is that the critical similarity isn't something about the people being victimized. Yes, one issue is about physical appearance and the other is about love. The similarity in these two issues is people. Being victimized.

For whatever reason, America is still trying to pretend that church and state are separate. Whether or not that separation will ever be real remains to be seen. I think what is really important is that Americans acknowledge the fact that we are living under a set of rules called the constitution and bill of rights and by continuing to live in this country, we give our consent to adhere to those rules. Through these documents, we have asserted the fact that all people have the same rights.

NOT "all people who fit into how my religion determines people should be".

NOT "all people who comply with heteronormativity".

Just "all people".

I still don't know exactly how I feel about reconciling sexual orientation with the Bible or with God (I mean, how can I possibly know what God thinks about his gay children? But he made them! So it's not like he totally hates them, that's for sure). But I do know that Jesus loved the outcasts. Jesus hung out with the sinners. And I know that it is through faith that people are saved, not by their works or deeds, or even their sinlessness. Because if it were, we'd all be screwed.

So why bother using the Bible as a way to deny people basic human rights? I don't think it's doing Christianity any favors, and I don't think it's making God proud. I'm not saying he's ashamed (Like I said, I can't by any means speak for what God thinks and feels). But really, do we think God's up there with a big foam finger, #1 fan-ing all the people with the "one man one woman" signs? I doubt it.

Anyway, back to the conversation I overheard: it scares me a little that those people next to me are the future of Christians with a college education who will go out into the world and populate churches and be a part of society. Could they really miss the point of those signs so greatly? Do they really think two equal rights campaigns are that different because one addresses skin color and the other sexual orientation? The point here is that they are about the rights of people.

In America, we have stated that people get rights.

In the Bible, Jesus told us to love people.

How could we be getting this so wrong?

...because I couldn't resist.