I’m taking a break from my family vacation to fully write out my thoughts and feelings on yesterdays SCOTUS ruling that legalized gay marriage in the US. Posting in bits and pieces on mobile devices just leads to miscommunication and misunderstandings. This post will be broken up into different parts.. because reactions are not always simple just as life is not always simple.
But first, a prayer. That my words might have depth and joy to them. That they explain and do not cause confusion. That all who read this feel my deep love for them. That all who read this will know that there is someone greater than all of us who loves them so much.
My initial reaction was one of deep sadness. I wasn’t surprised at the ruling (and if anyone truly was, well, you have strong faith in men that I don’t have). I pretty much expected it yesterday too, I didn’t think it was going to be delayed any more. And I was not sad at the ruling itself, per say. More, I felt a deep sadness that this ruling is only going to serve to divide us all further. I don’t think that it will pull people together. I think it will push everyone to fight more and that is just, well, sad. I also felt a deep inner drive that this will be an impetus to further the missionary work of the New Evangelization especially. That this ruling will serve as a way to continue to prove that the Church’s teaching is not bigoted (which really means “intolerant”) or hateful. That it is rooted in love, and that when embraced, like the cross, it is not easy or pain free, but it is one that will bring great joy and peace.
To my gay friends…Oh friends. I am truly truly happy for you that you will not be forced to experience the pain of a loved one whom you can not be with in the hospital, or make medical decisions for. That you will not have fight biological families who don’t approve of your choices and who choose to express that displeasure with legal means to keep you apart from sick and dying family members. I am so happy that you will get to pay more taxes (lol, jk, let’s go with a flat tax instead!). But really, I absolutely agree that legally speaking, this ruling was the correct choice. Our country is not a Christian nation, and unless someone takes it over and makes it a theocracy, this ruling was absolutely spot on. I do not expect this country to make laws that follow my faith. They certainly overlap at times (yay for no murder!), and I think in this case we all agree that people should not be discriminated against. I am not one who has fought tooth and nail to force others to live according to the moral life of my faith. Forcing people to do anything will not change hearts. And that’s all I ask of you. Do not force me or anyone to silence ourselves. Do not force me to renounce my beliefs. Do not force me to say what I believe only when I’m within the four walls of my church or my home. These are the same things that you have all asked for many years, and I just hope that you understand that this respect goes two ways. I’ve never asked you to silence yourselves. I’ve never asked you to limit your beliefs to areas where you are with like minded people. We all deserve the right to free speech and to freedom of religion, which is different than freedom of worship.
To my Catholic friends…. Please please please stop acting like the sky is falling and it’s the end of the world. It is absolutely not. If you have it in your head that God is up in heaven crying over this country and is ready to smite it because he is just done with us and our ridiculousness, well think again. Our God is not a God who gives up on anyone. Our God is sitting there in heaven saying to us “Ok guys. You can do this. You can go out there and show my love to the world. You can overcome any obstacle when you are with me. I never said life would be easy and you wouldn’t face challenges, so gird up your loins and get to work.” And what is our work? Our work is to preach the kerygma… that Jesus loves every person, no matter what, no matter who they are, no matter what they’ve done. He loves them so much that he came to save them from themselves. He loves them so much that he will let everyone have the choice to love him back. And loving him back isn’t easy. The rich young man was told to sell all he had and give to the poor and he couldn’t do it and he walked away from Jesus. Did Jesus chase after him? No. If the young man had come back, would Jesus have accepted and loved him? OF COURSE HE WOULD HAVE. Jesus lays out the steps of being a missionary easily. Show love. Eat and drink with the gluttons and drunkards so much that others say that YOU are a drunkard and a glutton. And when they ask what they must do, you TELL THEM. WHEN THEY ASK, you tell them they need to repent and believe in the Gospel and then you show them how. And if they say “thanks, but no thanks”, then you say “OK. I love you anyway”. This ruling isn’t the end of the world. We need to stop acting like it is. If further obstacles crop up and religious freedom is challenged, well, we will deal with that if it comes.
To my Catholic friends who are being wildly supportive of this ruling… oh friends. I understand why you want to celebrate. I really really do. But I really really encourage you to learn about church teaching. You profess this faith, you understand that there is something amazing and wonderful about it. I encourage you to really pray that you can understand and accept all the churches teachings. Please look into resources like the Theology of the Body, books like Christopher West’s Good News about Sex and Marriage, or even just read the original talks by Saint John Paul II. Obedience is a virtue, and we are required to be obedient to the church that we profess. We can follow and believe in the church teaching, while also being glad that our friends and loved ones won’t be discriminated against legally, yes. But our church calls us to not celebrate and rejoice in a path that will not lead people closer to God with ease. Can God work with this culture to bring people to him? Of course he can. But it will not be easy and we should not rejoice in that.
In closing.. I know that what I’ve said might sound contradictory. And in some ways, maybe it is. I AM happy that my friends are happy, but I am also so sad that this is only strengthening the divide between us. I am brokenhearted that there are friends of mine who have said I’m a bigot because of my beliefs, or that I hate them and their choices. That’s not the case at all. The narrative that is being perpetuated is not accurate. All I want is for everyone to experience joy. Not happiness, but true lasting joy and peace. And those things are not to be found in this world. There might be glimpses of them, but they do not last. I know where they are, and how to find them, and it’s not easy, but I just pray that those I love dearly will open themselves up to the life changing potential that exists. Just to be open to the idea … to trust that I truly do love you all, and that I want you to experience love and joy.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8