State sponsored discrimination

Va votes to amend the constitution. Marriage is between a man and a woman... right..?  On the surface this seems like a good idea. When you look deeper it represents the further erosion of our rights and state sponsored discrimination.

People fear what they don't know or understand.

The new order of things is difficult to bring about and change (even a discussion of this magnitude) is always painful no matter the outcome. History and this last week in VA teaches us that populations find it easier to focus on differences and develop an enemy than to find combinality and work together towards a common goal.

This new "wave" of representatives will likely do no better than the last one. I am disheartened by much in our world today, but I take comfort in the fact that our system of gov't remains the most free on Earth. That said, we have so far to go... Democracy is messy and not perfect, but it is the best system out there for now...

Our leadership is on a roller coaster ride that changes little. Maturity, intelligence, and a spirit of loving "inclusion" is foreign to a society that mostly just does what is best for "ME" and acts on what it knows. State supported discrimination is universally wrong but it is an unfortunate reality as we see. The public did not see the danger in the precedent on this one. The shades of grey are not readily apparent to people even when the consequences appear so clear to many. The intersection between lifestyle, morality, religion, and law is a wasteland of little value.

Just as in WW1, the lines are drawn, the trenches are dug, and progress occurs inches at a time, when goals are hundreds of miles apart... We are in a mess and I am not sure anyone knows exactly how to get out... With that example.. we had to go and start over.. hence WWII.. and beyond. There was no winner, but many died.. That is the reality of battle of any kind.

I am disappointed, but not surprised in the outcome in VA. VA is not nearly as open or forward thinking as it likes to pretend to the world and it is not so different from much of this country. The constituents of the commonwealth made a poor decision on election day, but it is a decision nonetheless and we are all bound by it for now. New ground is formed, which provides opportunity to continue the discussion and activism. Change is best affected one on one, not en masse. People in large groups reject what is different from the "norm".. yet they can rarely even agree on a "norm".

I don't believe so much in doing on such a large scale any more... I know I know.. that isn't really logical.. but hang in for a few more paragraphs... We can accomplish change solely by being in our world. One can only really know a few people in the world at a time. That is a challenge but also an opportunity.

Small groups of overlapping, passionate, people CAN change the world. Think of the disciples, the founding fathers of the US. We must find our role, invest in who we are, and trust in God. Ultimately, we are called only to "love mercy, do justice and walk humbly" Micah 6:8

I place my hope in the Lord, not in principalities..

The text below was posted on "Consistently Inconsistent" (http://www.vatenor.blogspot.com) last year.. as dated... after a group of people at Branch's Baptist Church that I had trusted and believed in made poor decisions which hurt me and my family. It only took a few then to change things.. for better or worse.

NEVER underestimate what a few people can do!

Friday, May 20, 2005
Just being..

Life is about just being, and loving, and doing, and watching. It is largely a human invention that we must make or accomplish something..Nike says "just do it" but as powerful as doing is...I think I can accomplish very little without help. Even the great man that ever lived.. spent most of his time loving... Even then, people wanted him to do.. Jesus mostly just loved people and taught, yet his every statement changed his world. from John 15 "apart from me you can do nothing"... so if you believe that it doesn't really matter what Nike says... :)

Psa. 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My essence, my soul, is unique. I am special.. but I am not better than others. I am here to love and be loved. I thank God for that tremendous gift. Christ redeems me, and allows me to be his. My music, my skill is all a gift that I am bound to use to help towards the ultimate salvation of the entire world.

Galatians 3:22-28 Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Any significant discussion of doing always ends up with a judgement of those who "obviously" aren't doing enough, or are doing the wrong things. Breaking the rules, not living up to expectations.. I love to judge just a much as anybody else, but it feels wrong... It is up to me to find ways to include not exclude those different from me... I ask for God's help in doing this. I try so hard not to judge..

My desire and ambition sends me down the road to excluding others, and showing that I am better than other.. by the world's standards of course... What a waste of energy. This hierarchy that we create for ourselves is at the root of our inability to embrace one another... We have to focus on our God, our savior.. and then we can figure out a way to live together.. My kids do their best, when they clearly understand what their focus should be.. They still stray, but they need me to guide them at the right level. I present a guiding principle and they find their way within it.. When I start making little petty rules, we all get in trouble...

So we are like the kids.. we must submit to the instruction of God, but we cannot deny our own ability and give up our unique value to support some institutional mold.. God didn't institute the hierarchy.. man did...

Lord, I release all my hopes and dreams to You this day. If there is anything that I am longing for is not to be a part of my life, I ask you to take it away the desire for it so that what SHOULD be in my life will be released to me. I lift up to You all that I desire, and I declare this day that I desire You more. I want the desires of my heart to line up with the desires of Your heart. I now take each step with the light of Your presence as my guide. AMEN
Jeremiah 23:16

Comments

Anonymous said…
Not only do I disagree but I think you sound more than a bit arrogant.
Aren't you being just as judgemental as you are accusing others to be.
Daniel Glaze said…
Anonymous, you ought to leave your name when you drop grenades like that. As Jeff knows well, he and I disagree often, but judgmental he is not.

That said...Jeff, I agree with the spirit of your post, but perhaps from a different angle. For me as a Christian pastor, marriage is a sacred, not secular institution (created and blessed by God). For me, a wedding ceremony is first and foremost a worship service.

So I am nervous with the government encroaching into what I believe to be the church's arena. This may sound off base, but I believe that churches ought to have weddings with the state having civil unions (before a judge or other official). People of faith could have their wedding in a church and then register with the state as a union if they desire the public benefit.

All that is to say that I am uncomfortable with the state defining what is essentially a religious ceremony/institution. I think it is the church’s job to provide the definition, based on scripture, their belief in the nature of God, revelation, etc. If a church wants to marry a homosexual couple, then fine. The state doesn’t have to recognize their union, but they don’t have the right to not recognize their marriage. I’m still working through my thoughts on that, so I’m not articulating it as well as would like.

Moreover, I wonder if this is a political red herring anyway--an opportunity to rally the base. After all, are we really concerned that homosexuals in Va. were anywhere close to getting their right to marry? As you say, Va. is not nearly as progressive as it would like to appear. (I lived there 18 years). While it was a poor legal/philosophical move, this amendment changed nothing in practice.

BTW…“We can accomplish change by simply being in our world.” That will preach! I’m going to steal that one. Peace.

(sorry for the long post)
Jeff Prillaman said…
For the record Daniel.. On this one we completely agree. Surprise... The issue of gay marriage and its "definition" haunts and divides so many. The intersection of religion and politics is indeed a vast wasteland of battle. particularly in the last 20 years or so.

I hope you get a chance to watch the excellent PBS series on God in America.. just saw it this week and found it interesting and informative.
D. Toole said…
I also agree with you and Daniel, here, Jeff. The state should stay out of a religious matter. I don't mind if there is a standard legal recognition of marriage as a civil contract, but such civil contracts should also be available to any who want such contractual arrangements.

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