I know I've talked about it before. I know I've talked about how I support Marriage Equality and how I'm still a Christian and all of that. I know you all know what I believe. I know a fair number of you agree... and a fair number disagree and question my faith, my beliefs, my acknowledgement of scripture. But I have to talk about it again because in just 23 days my fair state of Washington will vote to define marriage once again. And as my community I owe it to you to be straight with you.
I grew up in the Church, but I've always known gay people. That might sound strange if you didn't grow up in the Church, but if you live in a relatively small town full of relatively Christian people, there is a relatively high chance you won't know anyone who is openly gay. But I did. I loved them anyways but was never really taught anything about homosexuality outside of Church.
In Church I learned that homosexuality was a sin. A big one. A dousy. Up there with murder and divorce and masterbastion. But we didn't talk about homosexuals. The people. The actual individuals who were gay. We only talked about the sin. Love the sinner hate the sin... and so I knew next to nothing about them. The gay people I knew weren't really gay to me. I didn't know them as gay people. I knew them as Gayle and Jake. Their homosexuality wasn't a thing we talked about. It wasn't a part of my relationship with them It wasn't a part of their identity for me. So I really didn't know about homosexuals.
For years through high school and early college I talked about this sin. I talked about how it was wrong. How homosexuality was a sign of the end times. How the devil was using it to sway people away from Jesus. How homosexuality led to orgies and pedophilia and HIV. How it was caused by molestation and absent fathers. I was ignorant. Blind and naive and ignorant.
Somewhere along the way in the midst of my degree in Theology, my world began to shift. I began to see sin differently as a whole. I began to understand that my relationship with God was not about me and my sins. It was no longer about getting to Heaven so that I could avoid Hell. It was no longer about defining how we sin and what sin is. It was about being with Jesus. All around. And in that shift, my desire to define homosexuality as a sin and define homosexuals as sinners ceased.
The point here is that I don't care if homosexuality is a sin. I don't care if homosexuals are sinners because here is a news flash... they would be sinners even if they weren't homosexuals. It's not about the sin my friends. It is not about the sin. It is not about the SIN. It is about the people. It is about Jesus. It is about sanctity and love and holiness. No matter the sin inside us, those things are not negated.
You see we do not deny marriage rights to oath breakers. To cheaters. To murderers. To liars. To whores. To children who disobey their parents. We do not deny marriage to divorcees. We do not deny marriage to people who do not wish to consecrate their marriage. And all of these things stand in the way of the "sacred" definition of marriage. Yet we allow these people to marry. Legally. In the Church. Before the eyes of God. With our blessing.
The reason I must write these things is for you. All of you. Because it is not right for me to sit in community with you and not tell you these things. I must write these things because there are people I love so dearly who need to know that not only do I believe in their relationships, I commit my life to their relationships. Danny and Gareth, I will gladly stand up and witness your commitment to each other... I will gladly stand up and fight (aka vote) for your marriage. I will fight not only so you can marry, I will fight after you do because when I put my name on a marriage (even if it is not my own) I commit myself to doing everything in my power to making that marriage last.
I must write because their are people in a little country church who need to hear me say that when you speak the things you speak you hurt so many people. I will love you forever. I will worship with you forever. I will respect you forever. But hear me when I say, that it is not Godly to behave this way. It is not Godly to place your expectations of a relationship on people outside of your community. It is not Godly to turn away, to use harsh words, to segregate. It is not Godly to turn your back on those inside your congregation who disagree. I listen to you talk about your beliefs and I still trust your faith and your Godliness. I am asking you to listen to me talk about my faith.
and I believe in Marriage Equality.