Introduction religious organizations has been a forth coming

Introduction to Political Science

A Gay-Affirming God: Equality for
the Religious Homosexual

Professor Hemphill

 
 

Daniel
Hill

11/30/2017

 

 

 

The First amendment has two provisions
concerning religion. Within the established clause and free exercise clause, a
person is given the freedom to live out their religious beliefs as they wish.

The Fourteenth amendment in our constitution legalized gay marriage giving the
LGBTQ equality and certain rights and privileges that were not originally recognized.  Since 2015 Equality for the homosexuality in
religious organizations has been a forth coming discussion in political culture
of the United States.

 

This essay will focus on three arguments:
the growing population of LGBTQ affirming churches and organizations; the
churches’ position concerning same-sex marriage is evolving; and, many of the
laws created to discriminate against the LGBTQ community are being overturned
in support of equality

Coming out’ is defined in the Urban Dictionary (2013) as,
“the term used by the LGBTQ community to describe their experiences of discovering
themselves, accepting themselves, openness and being honest about their sexual
orientation and their choices to share this lifestyle with others.” 

The quantity of LGBTQ affirming churches and organizations
are steadily rising.  One of the leading
LGBTQ religious organizations is the Metropolitan Community Church, established
in 1968.  It was “founded specifically to
serve the Christian LGBT community” (“Christianity and Homosexuality,”
2013).  The Metropolitan Community Church
(MCC) has “222 member congregations in 37 countries.  Another such organization is the Affirming
Pentecostal Church International, currently the largest affirming Pentecostal
organization, with churches in the US, UK, Central and South America, Europe
and Africa” (“Metropolitan Community Church,” 2013).

As I began to research articles about religion, I came
across an article titled “Importance of Religion.”  The authors stated, “Religion is not only a
necessary but a very significant part of our lives.  Most people would find it very difficult to
live without religion or spirituality” (2013). 
These gay-affirming churches believe that the Bible is largely misquoted
and misinterpreted when used to vilify homosexuality. 

The Bible is defined at dictionary.com
(2013) as, “the collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion.”  Simply put, the Bible is a collection of
writings from and to specific persons, to address specific ideas, problems, or
to tell certain stories, that were relevant during that specific period of
time.  Dr. James B. Nelson (1977), a
professor of Christian ethics at United Theological Seminary of the Twin
Cities, stated, “I believe that the interpreter must take seriously both the
context of the biblical writer and the present cultural situation.  We should study the Bible, aware of the
cultural relativity through which we perceive and experience Christian
existence” (Homosexuality and the church). 
Religious and political leaders are voicing their support for
equality: 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes
reference to men and women who has deeply rooted homosexual behaviors; they must
be accepted with respect for who they are, compassion for their lifestyles, and
sensitivity to the daily struggle they adhere to in their communities.  Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop
of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has described homophobia as a
‘crime against humanity’ and ‘every bit as unjust’ as apartheid.  (“Christianity and Homosexuality,” 2013)

As the number of LGBTQ churches continues
to rise, so will opportunities for religious gays to attend church services
where they will be celebrated.  Moreover,
as the minds and doctrines of religious leaders are broadened, it is my hope
that the need LGBTQ affirming religious organizations will cease to exist,
because there will be one church, where all are welcomed and celebrated!

The churches’ position concerning
same-sex marriage is constantly evolving. 
In line with changing attitudes and policies on governmental levels,
religious institutions are responding by reflecting these broader mores.  “As of 19 August 2013, fifteen countries and
several sub-jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry” (“Same-Sex
Marriage,” 2013).  In May of 2012,
President Barack Obama made history as the first sitting president to endorse
same-sex marriage.  He is quoted as
saying, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” (“Same-Sex
Marriage,” 2013). 

That endorsement served as a personal
moment of great validation for many.  Many
were proud to have a president who believed I had the right to have a
life-partner, and a right to all the benefits that came along with
marriage.  As the world and its leaders
are taking stances in support of marriage equality, churches and its leaders
are following suit by broadening their theology and doctrines concerning gay
marriage.  The author of the article
“Same-sex Marriage” said:

Various faith communities around the
world support and allow same-sex couples to marry or conduct same-sex marriage
ceremonies.  A number of progressive and
liberal Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus, as well as modern
Hindu communities and Buddhism in Australia support same-sex marriage.  (2013) 

This essay was written to show how churches, and world at
large, are making advances with regards to equality for the LGBTQ
community.  Firstly, I have discussed how
there is a rise in religious organizations that cater to the LGBTQ
community.  These organizations provide a
place where the LGBTQ community can pray and worship without judgment and
condemnation. 

 

Secondly, I have discussed how the churches’ attitude
towards same-sex marriage has evolved. 
Marriage should be available to all that choose it.  The benefits of marriage not only enhance the
lives of its participants, but the community as well.  Thirdly, in the interest of social justice,
many of the laws that were enacted to discriminate against the LGBTQ community are
being overturned. 

Same-sex marriage is now legal in approximately 15
countries.  The Supreme Court has
overturned federal and state laws that discriminated against the rights of the
LGBTQ community.  LGBTQ couples that
marry have better chances at adopting kids, should they chose to. 

On 26 June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled
it unconstitutional for the federal government of the United States to deny
federal benefits of marriage to married same-sex couples, if it is recognized
or performed in a state that allows same-sex marriage.  (“Same-Sex Marriage,” 2013) 

Proposition
8 was a Californian law that banned same-sex marriage.  There have been significant strides in the
adoption laws for same-sex couples as well. 
“The number of states allowing gay couples to adopt has nearly tripled
in six years” (“Gay Adoption,” 2013). 
These laws provide same-sex couples the chance to provide a child with a
loving and stable home, should they choose. 

These advances give people of the LGBTQ
hope.  Where they were once insecure
about their lives in the church, they feel like these advances offer them a
little more security.  While there are
still significant battles to be won with regards to equality and the LGBT
community, we are headed in the right direction to ensure equality for
all.  I’m reminded of the Reverend Martin
Luther King, Jr.’s famous quotation, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
everywhere” (as cited in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” 2013).

The churches’ position concerning
same-sex marriage is constantly evolving. 
In line with changing attitudes and policies on governmental levels,
religious institutions are responding by reflecting these broader mores.  “As of 19 August 2013, fifteen countries and
several sub-jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry” (“Same-Sex
Marriage,” 2013).  In May of 2012,
President Barack Obama made history as the first sitting president to endorse
same-sex marriage.  He is quoted as
saying, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” (“Same-Sex
Marriage,” 2013).  That endorsement
served as a personal moment of great validation for me.

 Americans were proud to have a president who
believed they had the right to have a life-partner, and a right to all the
benefits that came along with marriage. 
As the world and its leaders are taking stances in support of marriage
equality, churches and its leaders are following suit by broadening their
theology and doctrines concerning gay marriage. 
The author of the article “Same-sex Marriage” said:

Various faith communities around the
world support and allow same-sex couples to marry or conduct same-sex marriage
ceremonies.  A number of progressive and
liberal Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus, as well as modern
Hindu communities and Buddhism in Australia support same-sex marriage.  (2013)  

As the support for same-sex marriage
continues to grow, we can no longer accept the argument that God created
marriage for a man and a woman.  Nelson
(1977) stated, “Same-sex relationships are fully capable of expressing God’s
humanizing intentions” (Homosexuality and the church).  I interpreted the author’s statement to mean,
God’s humanizing intentions are all-inclusive! 
While we are making great strides in the interest of marriage equality,
these efforts span decades:

Metropolitan Community Church’s founder,
the Reverend Troy Perry, performed the first public same-sex marriage in the
United States in Huntington Park, California in 1969.  Today, MCC congregations around the world
perform more than 6,000 same-sex union/marriage ceremonies annually.   (“Metropolitan Community Church,” 2013) 

With the level of
progress concerning this dilemma the level of salience for issue
are as follows:

·       There are many benefits to marriage.  Jennifer Steinhauer (1995), congressional
reporter for the New York Times noted, “The married enjoy better health, more
money and more satisfying sex” (Studies find big benefits in marriage).  She also stated:       

 

·       “Married couples were generally more
financially well off than couples who simply lived together…they were more
likely to pool money and invest in the future than were couples who merely
cohabitated…. A couples increased material well-being…trickles down into
investments in better medical care, safer surroundings, better food and other
things that raise the standard of living.” 
(Steinhauer, 1995)

 

·       In brief, marriage, and its many
benefits, establishes a couple who will have greater

resources
to invest in a better future for them. 
Therefore, the society that they live in will reap the rewards of their
achievements.  As the churches’ attitude
concerning same-sex marriage continues to evolve, the benefits and rewards of
marriage, which in the past has only been available to heterosexual couples,
are becoming available to gay couples as well. 

 

To
this end, society will operate on its best potential when the choice of
marriage becomes available to everyone who wants it.

Many of the laws created to discriminate
against the LGBTQ community are being overturned in support of equality.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in
1996, was a federal law that disallowed married same-sex couples from receiving
federal benefits, benefits the law allowed solely to heterosexual married
couples.  DOMA defined marriage between
one man and one woman to purposely exclude same-sex marriage: 

Also,
on “26 June 2013, the Supreme Court…upheld the district court’s order
overturning Proposition 8” (“Same-Sex Marriage,” 2013).  As the world makes attempts to become
accepting of homosexuals, there are arguments being raised in the church to
make sure that it, too, follows suit.

Homosexuality is an abomination to God,
and this abomination will lead to Hell. 
Support of this belief has been frequently attributed to the Bible.  “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with
womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, King James Version), is the
scriptural reference most commonly used.

 

Many homosexuals have chosen to denounce
organized religion because of the condemnation and judgment that’s preached
from its leaders.  As spiritual beings,
it is very important to have a safe environment where one can nourish one’s
spirit.  LGBTQ affirming religious
organizations provide a safe alternative for gays who desire to maintain
religious affiliations.  Justin Lee
(2006), founder of the interdenominational Gay Christian Network says, “We’re
just trying to get people together who experience attraction to the same
sex…and who love Jesus and say…you are welcome here…let’s pray together”
(“Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees”

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

 

Bible Def. 1.

(n.d.).  In Dictionary.com.  Retrieved November 10, 2013, from

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bible?s=t

 

Christianity and
homosexuality.  (2013). Retrieved
November 10, 2013, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Christianity

 

Coming out Def.

1. (n.d.).  In Urbandictionary.com.  Retrieved November 10, 2013, from

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coming+out

 

Gay
adoption.  (2013). Retrieved November 19,
2013, from            http://www.loveandpride.com/GayAdoption

 

Importance of
religion in our lives. (2013).  Retrieved
November 16, 2013, from

http://jewishpositive.com/importance-of-religion-in-our-lives.php 

Lee,
J. (2006).  Anderson Cooper 360
Degrees.  www.cnn.com.  Retrieved November 26, 2013,

from http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0612/18/acd.02.html

 

Letter from a
Birmingham jail.  (2013). Retrieved
November 19, 2013, from

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

 

Metropolitan
community church.  (2013). Retrieved
November 16, 2013, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Fellowship_of_Metropolitan_Community_Churches

 

Nelson, J. B.

(1977, April 4). Homosexuality and the church. 
www.religion-online.org.

Retrieved
November 10, 2013, from http://www.religion-online.org

 

Same-sex
marriage.  (2013). Retrieved November 16,
2013, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

 

Steinhauer,
J.  (1995, April 10). Studies find big
benefits in marriage.  www.nytimes.com. 

Retrieved
November 19, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/10/us/studies-find-big-benefits-in-marriage.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court ruling makes
same-sex marriage a right nationwide.” The New York Times 26
(2015).

 

Currie, David P. The Constitution in the
Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888. University of Chicago
Press, 1992.

 

Olson, Theodore B. “The conservative case
for gay marriage.” Newsweek 155.3 (2010): 48-54.