Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The UCC decides to accept gay marriage

The NYTimes online has an excellent article about the UCC's decision to support gay marriage. (You need to register, but it's free and quite worth it).

ATLANTA, July 4 - The United Church of Christ became the first mainline Christian denomination to support same-sex marriage officially when its general synod passed a resolution on Monday affirming "equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender."

I think you discover the most amazing thing about all this when you reach the stories about the priests who weren't entirely for the resolution, and then changed their minds, an idea that is (unfortunately) often foreign to the church.

Hector Lopez, a minister from a small Latino church in Southern California, said he was not at first enthusiastic about same-sex marriage. But after officiating at about a dozen such ceremonies in Oregon and seeing the respect and commitment of the couples, he said, "I experienced a passionate conversion."

This utterly blows me away. I've always idealistically nursed the idea that if I met someone opposed to gay marriage and showed them my relationship, I might be able to convince them to accept me. But I've always recognized that desire for what I thought it was: nonsense. Yet here these people are, changing their minds, and admitting that the church needs to be changed. I stand as a person who grew up in the church, and I find this revolutionary. But perhaps I've just been in the wrong church.

The United Church of Christ prides itself on being in the forefront of human and civil rights issues. On its Web site, the denomination says it and its predecessors were among the first churches to take a stand against slavery, in 1700, the first to ordain a woman, in 1853, and the first to publish an inclusive-language hymnal, in 1995.

The UCC's apparently always been a little revolutionary. I don't look forward to the day (I'm sure it will come soon) when the UCC is dismissed as an "activist church" or whatever other nonsense the right wing will come up with. If only other churches could be so "activist."

The article on the NYTimes online goes on, but I'm going to end with the paragraph that really grabbed me.

Its slogan, "God is still speaking," is meant to suggest that the Bible is not the sole source of divine instruction, and that Scripture must be interpreted in today's context.

The equal marriage rights resolution states, in part, "Ideas about marriage have shifted and changed dramatically throughout human history, and such change continues even today." It continues, "In the Gospel we find ground for a definition of marriage and family relationships based on the affirmation of the full humanity of each partner, lived out in mutual care and respect for one another."

And there you have it: a living, breathing church, capable of admitting mistakes and revising old, outdated principles.

It's enough to make a girl find her faith again.


Anonymous alicamel said...

Gosh, that's incredible. As you said, it almost enough to make me find some faith again. Alas, I don't think the UCC exists this side of the pond. It is nice to see a Christian church taking a lead in issues like this and showing some compassion. Let's hope it starts filtering out into other churches.

4:42 PM


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