Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Loving Day


When I was growing up in the 1970's, I remember people - very serious, studious, well dressed, religious people, with bible in hand, standing in my living room and using the Christian scriptures as a basis for their very strongly held conviction that whites and blacks should not marry.

There were verses, somewhere. Important verses.  WEIGHTY verses, of the the most serious nature and imparting the gravest of warnings to those who would disobey.

And, my God, but they *believed*.
Earnestly, in their bones, with CONVICTION! They believed.
It wasn't a game, or a ruse, or some sort of misdirection designed to justify "hate". They were all-in. It was real. A battle for the soul of America.
In their hearts, they were utterly convinced that they spoke for Almighty God, and were defending the purity of the soul of a nation against the nefarious agents that would serve to corrupt it.

And they had ARGUMENTS!  Arguments, I will grant, that inferred racial context in old testament purity codes, but, still - ARGUMENTS!

Fast forward to 2015:
Those same sorts of people now use those same sorts of scriptures and arguments as the basis for their strongly-held position that gays should not marry.
They've got verses! Important verses.  WEIGHTY verses, of the the most serious nature and imparting the gravest of warnings to those who would disobey.

And arguments! Arguments, I will grant, that seem to largely involve animals and toasters, the occasional misreading of scripture, and a bizarre position that our nation is "Christian" in the same way that ancient Israel was Jewish.

But, still - ARGUMENTS!

It's real! It's a battle for the soul of America, and they're all-in.

They don't stand in my living room anymore, because after years of being defined as their enemy and characterized in the most vicious terms imaginable, as a representative of all that is wrong in the nation and world, I could no longer bear their presence.

BUT, they stand somewhere, even now, and proclaim in the same way as before the "truth" of their position. Not a quiet, personal truth about how "I" should live "my" life, in a "sinful" world, as a "stranger in a strange land", or a "pilgrim" passing through.

By No Means!
This is a truth for all! All of US! The elite, the exceptional, the *chosen* nation, blessed by almighty God to become the almighty Empire, triumphant!

And, oh ... ( a solitary tear rolls from left eye) ... you unbeliever ... if you disobey.
... the consequences ...

But, I've seen this movie before. I know how it ends.

A) Alienated people give up on a church that is more and more focused on, in this case, their naughty bits, and less and less relevant to their spiritual life. The church, in turn, becomes ever more isolated and cut off from any opinions that might challenge their apocalyptic and culture-war-centric world-view.
B) The rest of us will roll our eyes at them, and
C) Gays will get to marry one another.
D) Good, earnest, honest believers will continue be mislead by the idols they've erected in their sanctuary; Idols of culture, nationalism, conservative politics, militarism, and on and on, because no one they can hear will challenge those positions.

It's OK, though. They are diminishing in our national conversation. My children will live free of them. Those who pass laws to force others to abide by their beliefs will be defeated. Personal Freedoms, at length, will prevail.

And maybe, just maybe, quite in spite of them, we will learn to be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for ALL.