BOSTON ARCHBISHOP Sean O'Malley has called the decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to legalize same-sex marriage "a tragedy" and part of the "madness around us." Catholic bishops in the United States voted to declare homosexual acts "immoral." Many prominent black ministers have condemned the SJC's ruling.
Sounding like Mississippi's Senator Trent Lott, who once compared homosexuality to addiction, Bishop Gilbert Thompson of Boston's New Covenant Christian Church said, "To say there is such a thing as a gay Christian is saying there's an honest thief."
Many black ministers are indignant at any parallels to gay marriage and the African-American civil rights movement. The Rev. Wesley Roberts of Boston's Peoples Baptist Church said, "To equate what is happening now to the civil rights struggle which blacks had to go through would be to belittle what we had gone through as a people."
Top politicians in Massachusetts such as Governor Mitt Romney and House Speaker Thomas Finneran are exploring every way possible to block the SJC's ruling. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, like many politically correct, wishy-washy centrists, says he supports civil unions but opposes gay marriage. Republican President Bush opposes gay marriage, and Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to disregard gay marriages from other states.
To date, the ministers and politicians have offered no serious evidence to show how loving gay or lesbian couples exchanging rings before an altar will level the republic. O'Malley warns, "We cannot afford to be asleep at the switch." Romney says marriage between men and women is defended by "3,000 years or recorded history." The Rev. Gregory Groover of Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church says "the voice of God" tells him that gay marriage is wrong.
This is as wrongheaded as using the Bible to justify slavery (odd how the African-American ministers could forget that argument). Such clergy play a game of pick and choose. Conservative Christians rush to Paul's letter to the Romans for proof that homosexuality is a wicked, "degrading" passion. Paul complained, "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men . . . They know God's decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die."
It is just as easy to find chapters of the Bible that are way out of step on the march toward equality. Ephesians says, "Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. . . . Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands."
That went out with the Flintstones.
Ephesians also says: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ. . . . Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord."
That went out with the Emancipation Proclamation.
One would think these ministers have more important things to do. The Catholic Church has a nerve talking about the sanctity of marriage when it allowed untold numbers of children to be abused by priests. In their tortured thinking, black ministers who fret about gay marriage say it is because of the epidemic of fatherlessness. If they care about fatherlessness, they ought to fight harder for jobs, child support, mentoring programs, public education, and a change in the drug laws that punish young urban black men far more harshly than young suburban white men. While they're at it, they could also call for a boycott of Black Entertainment Television and its pimp videos.
The best guess is that these clergy are so loud in their condemnation of gay marriage because they need a scapegoat to obscure their failures or powerlessness in protecting their flocks. Gay marriage of two loving people cannot possibly be equated with the abuse of children and the Catholic Church's coverup. Gay marriage of loving people does not belittle the civil rights struggle. It gives it full blossom.
Funny, these ministers have conveniently forgotten the passage from Numbers, which says: "As for the assembly, there shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you and the alien who resides with you shall be alike before the Lord. You and the alien who reside with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance." The Christian ministers have forgotten the words from Galatians that among the baptized, "there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female."
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