Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Why there are no math symbols on my Facebook profile.
Yesterday, equal signs on a red background started popping up on many of my friends' facebook statuses. Not all, but a good many of them.
But I didn't change mine. Here's the thing about Facebook. In my little humble opinion, it's not a good place for political statements. There is no space for civil discourse, no opportunity for real conversation. There is no body language, no tone of voice in a facebook status or a private message.
Because of this, I feared that putting up an equal sign would "brand" me. That people wouldn't understand where my heart lies on this issue. There are people in my life that I fear would no longer feel the same way about me if I were to change my profile picture. I totally admit that this makes me a bit of a coward - I worried too much about what some people would think if I put it up.
However, although I don't get body language and tone of voice in my blog, I do get more words. So I thought I'd post about it instead.
Our Supreme Court is considering whether gay couples should have same right to marry and receive the same benefits as straight couples. In short, I think they absolutely should.
But it goes further than that. I am a Christian. I love Jesus more than anything else on the planet. I believe the Bible is true. I am still wrestling with what the Bible says about whether God blesses gay marriage. I know that's a wimpy stance to take, but it is the honest truth. (I blogged about this here.) But regardless, I know that it is not MY place to judge. I'm not wrestling with what the Bible says about that one - that is quite clear. And I believe God grants enough grace to cover all of us - I firmly believe gay people can be Christians. And he loves all of us, gay and straight, Christian and not.
And I think gay couples have the right to marry.
Because here's the thing. The Bible does make it clear that marriage is a covenant between two individuals and God. If Christians are going to say gay people can't get married because it's a religious, sacred institution, then we also have to say that two Atheists can't get married, or two Hindus, or Muslims. That's a very slippery slope, my friends.
Here's what I think should happen: I would love for the government to take their paws off of marriage. I believe it is a sacred, important, covenant we make before God. I don't want the government to have anything to do with what it is or how we define it. I think we ALL should get Civil Unions from the government. All of us. With the same rights and benefits for all. That's as far as the government should be involved as far as I'm concerned. I do not want the government involved in my faith. Not even a tiny bit.
And then those of us (gay and straight) who want to make a covenant of faith with God through marriage can do so through our places of worship. Churches (and other places of faith) should make their own decisions about whether they will or won't perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples. Some will, some won't. That is okay.
But I don't actually think that's going to happen. Our culture has already changed the definition of marriage. So, based on what marriage means now (two people who love each other who want to spend their lives together), I absolutely support gay couples' right to marry.
But I don't like the "us" versus "them" mentality of all of this. This quote from Jen Hatmaker sums it up for me:
Not every Christian who believes in 'traditional marriage' is full of hate.
Not every Christian who supports the civil rights of gay folks is a Bible-rejecting defector.
Not every gay man wears glitter and drag in Pride Parades.
We are not caricatures. We are people, and life is nuanced. Until we stop assigning stereotypes to each other and do the hard work of actually getting to know one another as friends, or at least human beings, we are going to sabotage every good, productive possibility in front of us.
As a Christian, I am called to love, to stand for justice, to fight oppression, to be a peacemaker. I am to serve all those around me in the same way Jesus did, whether they think like me, believe like me, or even like me.
So while I still won't change my facebook profile picture to a math symbol, I do stand with those who want civil rights for gay couples. But I would love for ALL of us to open our minds a bit and try to understand one another a little better. If you stand against gay marriage, you are not my enemy, nor am I yours.
I'm in danger of saying I want us all to hold hands and sing "kumbaya." But I kinda do. Let's stop stereotyping and reach out to one another. We are all sharing the same human experience.
And that should count for something.