Introduction to Political Science A Gay-Affirming God: Equality for the Religious Homosexual Professor Hemphill Daniel Hill 11/30/2017 The First amendment has two provisionsconcerning religion. Within the established clause and free exercise clause, aperson is given the freedom to live out their religious beliefs as they wish.
The Fourteenth amendment in our constitution legalized gay marriage giving theLGBTQ equality and certain rights and privileges that were not originally recognized. Since 2015 Equality for the homosexuality inreligious organizations has been a forth coming discussion in political cultureof the United States. This essay will focus on three arguments:the growing population of LGBTQ affirming churches and organizations; thechurches’ position concerning same-sex marriage is evolving; and, many of thelaws created to discriminate against the LGBTQ community are being overturnedin support of equalityComing out’ is defined in the Urban Dictionary (2013) as,”the term used by the LGBTQ community to describe their experiences of discoveringthemselves, accepting themselves, openness and being honest about their sexualorientation and their choices to share this lifestyle with others.” The quantity of LGBTQ affirming churches and organizationsare steadily rising. One of the leadingLGBTQ religious organizations is the Metropolitan Community Church, establishedin 1968. It was “founded specifically toserve the Christian LGBT community” (“Christianity and Homosexuality,”2013).
The Metropolitan Community Church(MCC) has “222 member congregations in 37 countries. Another such organization is the AffirmingPentecostal Church International, currently the largest affirming Pentecostalorganization, with churches in the US, UK, Central and South America, Europeand Africa” (“Metropolitan Community Church,” 2013).As I began to research articles about religion, I cameacross an article titled “Importance of Religion.” The authors stated, “Religion is not only anecessary but a very significant part of our lives.
Most people would find it very difficult tolive without religion or spirituality” (2013). These gay-affirming churches believe that the Bible is largely misquotedand misinterpreted when used to vilify homosexuality. The Bible is defined at dictionary.com(2013) as, “the collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion.” Simply put, the Bible is a collection ofwritings from and to specific persons, to address specific ideas, problems, orto tell certain stories, that were relevant during that specific period oftime. Dr. James B.
Nelson (1977), aprofessor of Christian ethics at United Theological Seminary of the TwinCities, stated, “I believe that the interpreter must take seriously both thecontext of the biblical writer and the present cultural situation. We should study the Bible, aware of thecultural relativity through which we perceive and experience Christianexistence” (Homosexuality and the church). Religious and political leaders are voicing their support forequality: The Catechism of the Catholic Church makesreference to men and women who has deeply rooted homosexual behaviors; they mustbe accepted with respect for who they are, compassion for their lifestyles, andsensitivity to the daily struggle they adhere to in their communities. Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishopof Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has described homophobia as a’crime against humanity’ and ‘every bit as unjust’ as apartheid.
(“Christianity and Homosexuality,” 2013)As the number of LGBTQ churches continuesto rise, so will opportunities for religious gays to attend church serviceswhere they will be celebrated. Moreover,as the minds and doctrines of religious leaders are broadened, it is my hopethat the need LGBTQ affirming religious organizations will cease to exist,because there will be one church, where all are welcomed and celebrated!The churches’ position concerningsame-sex marriage is constantly evolving. In line with changing attitudes and policies on governmental levels,religious institutions are responding by reflecting these broader mores. “As of 19 August 2013, fifteen countries andseveral sub-jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry” (“Same-SexMarriage,” 2013).
In May of 2012,President Barack Obama made history as the first sitting president to endorsesame-sex marriage. He is quoted assaying, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” (“Same-SexMarriage,” 2013). That endorsement served as a personalmoment of great validation for many. Manywere proud to have a president who believed I had the right to have alife-partner, and a right to all the benefits that came along withmarriage. As the world and its leadersare taking stances in support of marriage equality, churches and its leadersare following suit by broadening their theology and doctrines concerning gaymarriage. The author of the article”Same-sex Marriage” said:Various faith communities around theworld support and allow same-sex couples to marry or conduct same-sex marriageceremonies. A number of progressive andliberal Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus, as well as modernHindu communities and Buddhism in Australia support same-sex marriage. (2013) This essay was written to show how churches, and world atlarge, are making advances with regards to equality for the LGBTQcommunity.
Firstly, I have discussed howthere is a rise in religious organizations that cater to the LGBTQcommunity. These organizations provide aplace where the LGBTQ community can pray and worship without judgment andcondemnation. Secondly, I have discussed how the churches’ attitudetowards same-sex marriage has evolved. Marriage should be available to all that choose it. The benefits of marriage not only enhance thelives of its participants, but the community as well. Thirdly, in the interest of social justice,many of the laws that were enacted to discriminate against the LGBTQ community arebeing overturned. Same-sex marriage is now legal in approximately 15countries.
The Supreme Court hasoverturned federal and state laws that discriminated against the rights of theLGBTQ community. LGBTQ couples thatmarry have better chances at adopting kids, should they chose to. On 26 June 2013, the Supreme Court ruledit unconstitutional for the federal government of the United States to denyfederal benefits of marriage to married same-sex couples, if it is recognizedor performed in a state that allows same-sex marriage. (“Same-Sex Marriage,” 2013) Proposition8 was a Californian law that banned same-sex marriage. There have been significant strides in theadoption laws for same-sex couples as well. “The number of states allowing gay couples to adopt has nearly tripledin six years” (“Gay Adoption,” 2013).
These laws provide same-sex couples the chance to provide a child with aloving and stable home, should they choose. These advances give people of the LGBTQhope. Where they were once insecureabout their lives in the church, they feel like these advances offer them alittle more security.
While there arestill significant battles to be won with regards to equality and the LGBTcommunity, we are headed in the right direction to ensure equality forall. I’m reminded of the Reverend MartinLuther King, Jr.’s famous quotation, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justiceeverywhere” (as cited in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” 2013).The churches’ position concerningsame-sex marriage is constantly evolving. In line with changing attitudes and policies on governmental levels,religious institutions are responding by reflecting these broader mores. “As of 19 August 2013, fifteen countries andseveral sub-jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry” (“Same-SexMarriage,” 2013).
In May of 2012,President Barack Obama made history as the first sitting president to endorsesame-sex marriage. He is quoted assaying, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” (“Same-SexMarriage,” 2013). That endorsementserved as a personal moment of great validation for me. Americans were proud to have a president whobelieved they had the right to have a life-partner, and a right to all thebenefits that came along with marriage. As the world and its leaders are taking stances in support of marriageequality, churches and its leaders are following suit by broadening theirtheology and doctrines concerning gay marriage. The author of the article “Same-sex Marriage” said:Various faith communities around theworld support and allow same-sex couples to marry or conduct same-sex marriageceremonies. A number of progressive andliberal Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus, as well as modernHindu communities and Buddhism in Australia support same-sex marriage. (2013) As the support for same-sex marriagecontinues to grow, we can no longer accept the argument that God createdmarriage for a man and a woman.
Nelson(1977) stated, “Same-sex relationships are fully capable of expressing God’shumanizing intentions” (Homosexuality and the church). I interpreted the author’s statement to mean,God’s humanizing intentions are all-inclusive! While we are making great strides in the interest of marriage equality,these efforts span decades:Metropolitan Community Church’s founder,the Reverend Troy Perry, performed the first public same-sex marriage in theUnited States in Huntington Park, California in 1969. Today, MCC congregations around the worldperform more than 6,000 same-sex union/marriage ceremonies annually. (“Metropolitan Community Church,” 2013) With the level ofprogress concerning this dilemma the level of salience for issueare as follows:· There are many benefits to marriage. Jennifer Steinhauer (1995), congressionalreporter for the New York Times noted, “The married enjoy better health, moremoney and more satisfying sex” (Studies find big benefits in marriage). She also stated: · “Married couples were generally morefinancially well off than couples who simply lived together…they were morelikely to pool money and invest in the future than were couples who merelycohabitated…. A couples increased material well-being…trickles down intoinvestments in better medical care, safer surroundings, better food and otherthings that raise the standard of living.
” (Steinhauer, 1995) · In brief, marriage, and its manybenefits, establishes a couple who will have greater resourcesto invest in a better future for them. Therefore, the society that they live in will reap the rewards of theirachievements. As the churches’ attitudeconcerning same-sex marriage continues to evolve, the benefits and rewards ofmarriage, which in the past has only been available to heterosexual couples,are becoming available to gay couples as well. Tothis end, society will operate on its best potential when the choice ofmarriage becomes available to everyone who wants it.Many of the laws created to discriminateagainst the LGBTQ community are being overturned in support of equality.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in1996, was a federal law that disallowed married same-sex couples from receivingfederal benefits, benefits the law allowed solely to heterosexual marriedcouples. DOMA defined marriage betweenone man and one woman to purposely exclude same-sex marriage: Also,on “26 June 2013, the Supreme Court…upheld the district court’s orderoverturning Proposition 8” (“Same-Sex Marriage,” 2013). As the world makes attempts to becomeaccepting of homosexuals, there are arguments being raised in the church tomake sure that it, too, follows suit.Homosexuality is an abomination to God,and this abomination will lead to Hell. Support of this belief has been frequently attributed to the Bible. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as withwomankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, King James Version), is thescriptural reference most commonly used.
Many homosexuals have chosen to denounceorganized religion because of the condemnation and judgment that’s preachedfrom its leaders. As spiritual beings,it is very important to have a safe environment where one can nourish one’sspirit. LGBTQ affirming religiousorganizations provide a safe alternative for gays who desire to maintainreligious affiliations. Justin Lee(2006), founder of the interdenominational Gay Christian Network says, “We’rejust trying to get people together who experience attraction to the samesex…and who love Jesus and say…you are welcome here…let’s pray together”(“Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees” Work Cited Bible Def. 1.
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