fbpx
70.7 F
Spokane
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeCommentaryLove Meets Fear: Reflections After North Carolina’s Amendment One

Love Meets Fear: Reflections After North Carolina’s Amendment One

Date:

Related stories

Foolishness As a Mirror

Explore the ancient spiritual concept of "holy fools" - eccentric figures who renounced worldly possessions to challenge society's norms and promote deeper faith across religions like Christianity, Eastern Orthodox, and more. Discover their radical role.

A Pilgrim Returns from Catholic Pilgrimage, Heart and Faith on Fire

A profound personal account of spiritual awakening and miracles experienced at the historic first Catholic National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in Idaho. The author shares how encountering the Blessed Sacrament in procession reignited their love for Jesus and the Eucharist, sparking a renewed hunger to deepen their faith journey.

Jewish Voices Protest Israeli Violence, Build Interfaith Solidarity in Spokane

Jewish Voice for Peace Spokane led an interfaith rally protesting the escalating Israeli violence against Palestinians and 76 years of ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies. The activists challenged local ties supporting the Israeli occupation, while building solidarity across Muslim, Christian, and diverse community groups against white supremacy threats.

Apology from U.S. Catholic bishops falls short for traumatized Indigenous families

Learn about the U.S. Catholic bishops' apology for the mistreatment of Indigenous families in American Indian boarding schools and how little it matters.

Machine guns and domestic violence: What is the future of gun control legislation?

Insights into the differences between two crucial gun control cases and their potential impact on future legislation. A must-read for those passionate about gun rights and public safety.

Our Sponsors

spot_img
spot_img

Prior to going to seminary, I worked in the performing arts as a stage manager. I have a lot of colorful friends from those days. And I have a lot of queer friends from those days: musical theater is one of the natural habitats of gays and lesbians. What I didn’t realize, as I discerned a call to shift from ministry backstage to ordained ministry, is that I would end up with still more queer friends by entering the priesthood. Indeed, with the likely exception of hairdressing, ordained ministry might be the only field with more gays than the stage. For someone who grew up assuming that the church was homophobic by its very definition, that was a big and a welcome surprise.

One of the practical upshots of my circle of friends is that, in addition to having access to excellent fashion advice, the question of equality for LGBTQ folks isn’t an abstraction for me. While I am white, male, middle-class, and hopelessly straight (there pretty much isn’t a category of privilege that I wasn’t born into), laws which bestow — or which withhold — dignity to homosexuals concern me because they concern people whom I love. When the state of Washington legalized same-sex marriage, when North Carolina joined the crowd which has banned it, or, Wednesday, when the president spoke his heart and said that marriage isn’t just for some of us, those news items didn’t call up the image of a theoretical marriage in my mind. Rather, each announcement reminded me of the marriages of Ben and Arthur, of Peter and Thomas, of Sandra and Laurie, of Katie and Mary Anne, and of so many other friends. All of these marriages, to use a big theological word, are generative: they add to the sum of love in the world. And, in some ineffable and holy way, they make other marriages, including my own marriage to my wife, stronger.

Tuesday’s passage of Amendment One in North Carolina was a hugely discouraging moment for many of us, especially because it came on the heels of so much good news. Prop One passed notwithstanding the passionate advocacy of a lot of people for a “no” vote, including a lot of clergy (see this, for instance). The referendum results reminded me of those moments in my own life when fear blinds me to love. But they also remind me that good news hides even in injustice. As any number of lawyers and historians have argued, human beings don’t make laws to prohibit the inconceivable. There are no laws, for instance, which speak to the responsible use of time travel or the ownership of land in other solar systems because, well,  those things are impossible right now. Ten years ago, same-sex marriage in North Carolina was in the time-travel category; it was impossible and, therefore, the law was silent on the subject. Today, in a strange and a painful way, equality in that state is a little closer.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously proclaimed that the arc of history bends towards justice. Dr. King was right: history is bending even as we speak. It is being bent into something new by the witness of people like my friends. It is, slowly but inexorably, being reshaped from fear into love.

Martin Elfert
Martin Elfert
The Rev. Martin Elfert is an immigrant to the Christian faith. After the birth of his first child, he began to wonder about the ways in which God was at work in his life and in the world. In response to this wondering, he joined Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he and his new son were baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2005 and where the community encouraged him to seek ordination. Martin served on the staff of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Wash. from 2011-2015. He is now the rector of Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Portland, Oreg.

Our Sponsors

spot_img
spot_img
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark Hudson
Mark Hudson
12 years ago

The issue is not equality before the law, or even whether I love my neighbor as myself. The issue is the definition of marriage. Throughout history and among all cultures the definition of marriage has been one man and one woman. The exception would be cultures allowing for polygamy, which i do not support. Still marriage was between a man and women, not men with men or women with women. Leave the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Eric Blauer
Eric Blauer
12 years ago

You said:
“Indeed, with the likely exception of hairdressing, ordained ministry might be the only field with more gays than the stage.”

Wow…I’ve been in this pastoral life for 20+ years and have not found that to be the case at all.

DocPolly
DocPolly
11 years ago

If we would sanction same sex marriage think of the parties. More churches would fill. There would be fine ceremonies and love once hidden made public. There is nothing better than a celebratory sacrament to bring out the best in people.

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x