Friday, November 10, 2006

Bittersweet

So, I've been intentionally avoiding the blog for the past few days lest my emotions get the best of me and I were to write something overly incendiary. It was particularly providential that I didn't bring my computer home on Tuesday night, election night, because I saw some interviews with proponents of Amendment One (no gay marriage) that sent me through the roof. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the week.
  • First, I'm psyched that the democrats took control of both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Along with that comes some major excitement that we're about to have a woman serve as Speaker of the House. I can't wait to see the next State of the Union address with her back there. I'm eager to see how the democrats address the war, the economy, and various other issues.
  • Second, I'm utterly disappointed in the 80% of Tennesseans who voted to introduce prejudice to our state's constitution. Yes, the amendment defining marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman passed overwhelmingly with an 80/20 majority. I'm still not sure that the semantics are entirely accurate. I mean, can only one man and one woman be married at any given time? What about all the other people who want to get married? All sarcastic academic semantic joking aside, I am deeply saddened by the injustice that's represented in such an amendment. Last night, a colleague pointed out that, with the exception of prohibition, all other amendments to the United States Constitution grant rights to people rather than taking rights away. Why is it that we're now using the constitution to limit the rights of citizens? What happened to equal protection under the law?
  • I heard this guy giving an interview about how he and the proponents of Amendment One respected families and wanted to protect them. What a bunch of horse manure. I'm feeling my blood boil just thinking about the audacious arrogance and unbelievable insensitivity it takes to stand there and say that his definition of "family" is somehow superior to those of us who would affirm the rights of homosexuals to join together in love and form families of their own. What a punk. I could have reached through the TV and slapped him around. I'm still waiting for someone to give me a rational, well reasoned argument as to how homosexual marriage adversely affects the family life or the marriage of anybody else. Seriously, I'm waiting.
  • Finally, i'm thankful to Tim Reynolds for his words last night at the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Student Fellowship worship service. He reminded us that we ought to be citizens, first, of the kingdom/city of God, and only secondarily citizens of America. He reminded us that the world will not be transformed by republicans, democrats, presidents, senators, representatives, or by the empire itself. Am I excited that we have a democrat controlled house and senate? Yes I am. Do I believe that this will bring about wide societal change and a peace that passes understanding? I do not! I place my faith in a Christ who came to break down barriers and who calls us to serve one another in peace and love. I believe that we Christians can best transform the world, not by amending the constitution of the empire, but by witnessing to the gospel of a crucified and risen savior...a gospel of reconciliation and love...a gospel of care for the poor, oppressed, and those who are case aside...a gospel that has transformed and continues to transform the world.

7 comments:

noell said...

alan bancroft, you are one of my most favorite persons(people?) in the whole wide world! thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Stushie said...

So, Allan, where's the biblical statement that specifically says marriage should/can be shared by homosexual partners? I'm waiting for that one.

Alan Bancroft said...

Stushie-thanks for your question. It will allow me to clarify myself a bit. I have two things to say, and I'm running on approximately 4 hours sleep, so hopefully there's some coherency.

First, I'm not sure we need to get into a debate about what the Bible has to say about marriage and families. Besides a few words from Paul that actually show a preference for singleness..."To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well from them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion."...the Bible is rife with polygamy, planned marriages, and misogynistic understandings of marital bliss.

Second, I've never made a claim that the Bible says "marriage should/can be shared by homosexual partners." The Bible doesn't say that. But, and here's my major point, the last time I checked, the United State Constitution is pretty clear about prohibiting the establishment of religion by the government. The way I see it, making arguments for legislation about marriage based on Christian principles is in flagrant violation of the Constitution. Churches can decide who they marry. I just don't think it's the job of government to say what kind of love is "legal."

I hope that helps to clarify my position a bit. Push back if you feel like I'm being unfair or not hearing your question.

Peace,

Alan

Alan Bancroft said...

Oh, and thanks to a good friend for pointing out that there's no biblical statement that specifically says that we should drive cars, wash our dishes in a dishwasher, or elect a president. Are those things therefore sinful by nature?

Feeling a bit fiesty today,

Alan

Anonymous said...

OK, Right Reverend, so let's say gay marriage is passed into law. Let's say everyone is gay. How would people continue to exist with no babies being born? Would God cause life to continue unabated? Would He simply create more men and women? You either believe in the Bible or you don't. You can't accept some Scripture as Gospel truth and others as anachronistic statements which bear no relevance upon modern society. That is the epitome of relativism, which weakens the Christian faith.

Just because I don't believe gays shouldn't be allowed to marry doesn't mean I want to see them burn in hell. I have many gay friends, in fact. It's all about hating the sin and loving the sinner.

But I suppose you'll simply brand me an ignorant and callous heretic since I'm (gasp) a Republican, just like everyone blames ME for the war in Iraq simply because I voted for W. Whatever . . . when we Americans are speaking Arabic in four years at least it won't be Bush's fault.

Anonymous said...

Oops. I contradicted myself in the second paragraph (first sentence). I DO NOT believe gays should be allowed to marry. And your statement about the Bible not saying anything about cars is a non sequitur. Cars weren't invented yet! That's like getting mad because Paul didn't say anything about AIDS.

Alan Bancroft said...

Anonymous-it would be awesome if you would leave a name with your post. I'm not a big fan of anonymous posting.

I'm also not a big fan of the slippery slope fallacy, which you have committed in implying that if we legalize gay marriage, all people will be gay. That's kind of ridiculous. By that reasoning, by defining marriage as only being appropriate for heterosexuals, everybody will be heterosexual. So, I'm unwilling to grant your premise and therefore have a hard time with your conclusion.

OK, one more time: Legal matters such as who gets married in the United States, under the law (not the church), should not be a direct reflection of Christian/Biblical morality. I continue to wait for a logical, rational, non-religious argument for prohibiting homosexuals from getting married.

I don't think that you believe gay people should burn in hell because you are opposed to their marriage. If I implied that, I apologize.

It seems to me that all of us hold some Scriptures up as more normative than others. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, at some point, the Christian church decided that polygamy wasn't such a good thing, although it's held up as a model by some of the great patriarchs in the Old Testament. Christian women don't cover their faces. Plenty of us live in homes and wear more than the clothes on our backs. My point here is that some texts have to be read in context. We all do it. Also, in the end, I don't place my hope and faith in Scripture or doctrine, but in the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ. I will eventually rest in the loving arms of the baby in the manger, not the manger itself.

I think your supposition that I would brand you a heretic and whatnot is unfair and mean-spirited. Why the attack on people who speak Arabic? Are they somehow lesser than? I try not to be in the habit of reducing people to the labels that are placed on us and that we sometimes claim for ourselves. You are still my brother (or sister...i'm not sure) and will thus treat you as one who bears the image of God.

As always, I welcome further dialogue, but I'd prefer you at least attach a name to your comments.

-Alan