It’s a restful Saturday. I was going to go to Suds and Duds, which is a laundromat/bar I will be frequenting a lot once I move into a washerless apartment in August. The idea of having a beer and reading a book during a rinse cycle is too glorious for me to bear. But then I sliced an avocado and sat down and opened my computer and well, I won’t be getting up any time soon.
And that’s good. My extroversion functions much like a car battery in that it usually powers me through back-to-back days with no breath and then randomly gives out. So a whole gaping afternoon on a Saturday with no plans makes me nervous. Will it be a terribly lonely afternoon? Should I text so-and-so and see if I can visit? Who can I call? Should I do laundry? Etc. So sitting alone in my empty house and eating an avocado takes an hour or so to feel comfortable in, but once the initial panic of solitude wears off, I’m very much at peace.
In that peace, I’ve been scrolling. Meditating on this very hard column speaking to the church in response to the attack in Charleston. And of course, what happened in the Supreme Court yesterday. My Facebook exploded. Yours probably did too. I have a lot of friends who have people they love that this affects in a really positive way, and there is joy there. I also have a lot of friends, mostly from Grove City, who hold very strong beliefs in the opposite direction, who are angry, saddened or fearful at this news. There is vitriol disheartening to scroll through, along with celebratory pictures I smile at but am also solemnly recognize as signals of a very weighty cultural change.
So I walk delicately here. I’ve hand-picked a few well-put words from friends and news articles, all of different political and religious opinions. They do not necessarily reflect my own. I share them because I think they are good examples of some of the better ways to discuss and think solemnly, gracefully, and wisely, this matter of a clash in religion and state, this matter of the human heart and its longing to love and be loved.
Grayson Quay, via the much-abused Facebook status box, in a refreshingly-put paragraph:
I don’t see why some people are so angry about today’s Court decision. I understand thinking that homosexuality is sinful, but the way I look at it, Christian marriage is a promise that a man and a woman make to each other and to God. The way the secular state defines marriage shouldn’t matter.
Kyle Thorp on The Saltshaker:
My greatest concern following this decision is what will happen to the church. … In his dissenting opinion, Justice Thomas, speaking of the religious and governmental institutions of marriage, says, “It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.” Christians have already been attacked for refusing to endorse or be involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies. Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, the church will only be perceived as more intolerant, more hateful, and more bigoted.
Jon Tyson in a tweet:
The church should be measured by its spiritual fruit, not its cultural power.
Writer Mark Woods on Christianity Today:
Evangelicals (and others) have got themselves into a knot because they think the state is trying to define Christian marriage. It isn’t; it can’t, and it never could. But the long history of Christendom has allowed Christians to think that the two are the same. Most Americans have always been keen on the separation of Church and state; well, now’s the chance to find out whether you mean it.
Josh Martin on his blog:
The fact of the matter is, that the decision made by the Supreme Court today is one that is not exactly unforeseen in the progress of America. We are a land and a people that was founded on the essential human liberties being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. … America has taken those desires and molded them and in so doing, created the American civil religion. This religion has pushed this people throughout time to continue to fight to continue to grow these values and rights and so again I ask… Why are we surprised? This was inevitable and while it may be a sign of moral decay, that doesn’t change the fact that ideas have consequences, every rose has its thorns, and every decision has unintended consequences. America is a land that has always valued freedom, liberty, and the power of the individual in the confines of community.
The Atlantic’s Jeffery Rosen on that little word “dignity” and the implications it could have in legislation going forward:
If the Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans on the grounds that they violate a right to dignity, liberals may have second thoughts about empowering judges to decide whose dignity trumps when the interests of citizens with very different conceptions of dignity clash.
The “if you’re only going to read one of my links, read this one” one: The Washington Post covers a rare story on the Mormon church and gay rights activist groups in Utah interacting, shockingly, well with each other:
The church and the LGBT community agreed to an unprecedented face-to-face meeting, arranged by a former Salt Lake City Council member. Diane Stewart, a Mormon gay rights supporter and friend of Dabakis’s, offered her 85-year-old neoclassical home as a neutral venue. … What began as an introductory meeting quickly morphed into an exchange of stories of prejudice and misunderstanding.
“I don’t think anyone intended to be overtly emotional, but you know when you’re talking about your spouse or your partner or your children, it’s hard not to be,” said Brandie Balken, a former head of Equality Utah who attended the meeting.
After a few hours, and herbal tea and snacks in Stewart’s red-and-gold dining room, the session ended, but a seed was planted. The group would meet several more times at Stewart’s hillside home and elsewhere, creating enduring and emotional friendships.
The participants would in some cases invite one another into their homes, leaning on each other and helping to defuse confrontations.
Six years later, Dabakis and Purdy would again be at the table together, this time in the Senate lounge, closing the deal on the anti-discrimination bill.
Those are the links and words I think speak well on the matter of marriage equality. I hesitate to ask you yours in the comments, because I’ve seen others do that so poorly in the past 24 hours. But I welcome anything that will contribute, educate, challenge, love, hold up truth to the light.
Friends, please, let’s collectively be a gentle, firm presence of peace in this cultural conversation.