I came across an article about two United Methodist pastors who defied the United Methodist Church’s denominational law, the Book of Discipline, and oversaw a same-sex wedding in their Methodist church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Here is the article:
United Methodist Pastors Defy Law to Oversee Same-Sex Wedding
This article brings to mind a very important point about the existence of unjust laws and what our reactions should be towards those unjust laws.
Just because a law is in the books, it does not necessarily mean that that law is fair, just, or being equally applied. The fact that there is a law prohibiting one group from enjoying the same rights and privileges as any other group should tell you that there is an injustice inherent in the law. But rather than act out in violence to try and right the wrong, react with non-violence and compassion and care– but in defiance of injustice all the same.
I think back to Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how they answered unjust laws through peaceful civil protest and peaceful demonstrations. Non-violence! You cannot turn back a wrong by committing another wrong to do so. You must stand for what is right and be willing to defend the cause of morality and justice but not at the expense of committing acts of violence or hatred.
The interesting bit about this story is that North Carolina and the rest of the United States has made same-sex marriage legal. Religious institutions however, have not followed suit and seem to be the only bastion of resistance to marriage equality. The claim from the United Methodist Church is that homosexuality goes against their fundamental religious teachings and principals. Therefore, the church cannot condone same-sex marriage.
But to maintain this position is to say that committed, monogamous relationships are the sole property of heterosexual couples who intend to be and are able to be fruitful and multiply. It is also to say that healthy love is the sole property of heterosexual couples who are married or eligible to be married. It is also the suggestion of the United Methodist position that anything that isn’t of the presumed heterosexual normative is not fundamentally compatible with God’s teachings.
Any theologian worth his or her degrees in divinity and any academic with an understanding of science as a means to understand and investigate and question God’s creations would understand homosexuality as a normal, naturally occurring state of being for a percentage of humanity. And while the debate may go on about the sinful nature of homosexuality… it would be just as sinful to be oppressive, judgmental, discriminatory, hateful, or exclusionary towards others. We have been commanded Biblically to love each other and love our enemies and to be hospitable towards others regardless of their race, culture, religious faiths, and politics. It is also noted Biblically that sex without marriage is of equal sinfulness as idolatry and ritual homosexuality in homage to false gods and goddesses as in the traditions of the ancient Egyptians and Canaanites. Refer to your Deuteronomy!
We all know that Christ established a new covenant and made the old Moasic Law obsolete. We know that it is not by law that we are saved but by God’s grace alone.
Bringing two people together, in my mind, is a lot less sinful than tearing two people apart. It should be that simple and I am glad others see it this way too.