My youngest son recently attended the wedding of two co-workers. It was evidently a very lovely affair–formal, at an expensive Chicago hotel, conducted with meticulous attention to detail. One of those details was a program book, listing the numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen and each one’s relationship to the happy…
My youngest son recently attended the wedding of two co-workers. It was evidently a very lovely affair–formal, at an expensive Chicago hotel, conducted with meticulous attention to detail. One of those details was a program book, listing the numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen and each one’s relationship to the happy couple.
The program book had another entry, however, that merits recognition. On the back page was a message from the bride and groom. It began by reciting how enthusiastic they were to enter into wedded life together, how sure they were that matrimony was the right choice for them. In fact, they said, there was only one hesitation, one fact that gave rise to a certain reluctance to marry: the fact that others were legally prevented from doing likewise. It seemed unfair that the status of matrimony was available to them, a man and a woman, and not available to others merely because they were of the same gender. The message concluded with a request that those present, who had shared the happy day with this particular couple, work toward a time when everyone will be able to enter into the institution of marriage and have their union recognized by society and the state.
My son shared the program with me on a recent trip home, and I couldn’t help thinking about the implications of this simple, powerful statement.
Will a paragraph in support of gay marriage on a pamphlet distributed to friends and families change the world? No, of course not. But the simple, revolutionary act
of a black student sitting down at a counter and ordering lunch was ineffectual individually, too. It was only when hundreds, then thousands of blacks were challenging the status quo that laws and attitudes began to change.
What would happen to the pervasive bigotry against gays and lesbians if hundreds, then thousands, of heterosexuals added similar paragraphs to their wedding programs? What if every church and synagogue that believes in human dignity added such language to their bulletins? What if businesses catering to families advertised for business by interpreting "family" in an inclusive and affirming way?
That WOULD change the world.
What a contrast I see between my son’s friends and the group of shrill and homophobic clerics who called a press conference in Washington last week to announce that God hates homosexuality. (It constantly amazes me that people who claim to speak for God are so certain of His (or Her) opinions. Personally, my conception of deity is a bit more inscrutable–and immensely more loving.)
I am confident that, if there is indeed a judgment day, a good and just God will offer a special place in heaven to the young couple whose love extended beyond each other to embrace the human community and all its members.
The real question is, how would that good and just God respond to those who used the name of the Lord to justify their hatreds and excuse their bigotries?