On America, Christianity and Gay Marriage in Alabama … So, Not a Controversial Post at All!July 1, 2015
I’ve been hesitating to write about last week’s Supreme Court decision because I wasn’t sure how it relates to localism. But after a few days of hearing Alabama judges and politicians and pastors tear apart the truth in front of reporters, I’m frustrated enough to speak anyway. Besides, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t use it to vent frustrations now and then, right?
There’s a lot of stuff in the Bible that’s confusing and even seems contradictory, but one thing is really clear: As far as we know, Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality. He did, however, have a whole lot to say about the fact that we should not try to bring about the kingdom of God through legislature or government. He did have a lot to say about loving people and not judging people and not holding ourselves out as apart from or different from or better than other people. He pretty clearly aligned himself not with religious leaders, but with the people religious leaders liked to point out as sinners. In fact, it was because religious leaders were allowed to legislate their religion that Christ was crucified at all. Is there biblical basis for denying rights to gay people? Sure. But there’s no basis for doing it in the name of Christ.
If your pastor says he’s* being forced to perform gay marriages, he’s lying to you. (Government employees can be forced to perform marriage ceremonies, but pastors and other religious leaders can’t.) If your judge tells you he should be allowed to rule based on his conscience instead of on the law that he’s sworn to uphold, he’s lying to you. (Because what happens when your judge has a biblical opposition to divorce, or to a man being prosecuted for rape, or to suing someone in the first place — all of which can be biblically supported.) And if a politician tells you that your personal religious liberty is threatened by someone else’s civil liberties, he’s lying to you, and he’s twisting the teachings of Christ in order to manipulate you and win your vote. (Either that, or he’s actually too stupid to understand laws and government, in which case he’s not a good candidate anyway.)
To me, the importance of shopping locally is being mindful about our daily decisions and taking the time to test what we’re told to see what’s actually true. Being lied to by politicians and pastors isn’t that different from being lied to by Walmart and Amazon — they’re all powerful, and they all deserve our questioning, not our blind faith. As localists, we understand that we’re voting with our wallets, but this year especially, we’ll be voting at the ballot box, too. The principles of thoughtfulness, community and personal responsibility that are the heart of localism are important to our political system as well.
Everyone keeps saying that love won last week. I’m not sure if love won or not, but liberty certainly did. I believe that’s a win worth celebrating — as an American, as a localist and, yes, as a Christian.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, creator of 30 Days of Local Praise and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.
* My language isn’t very gender-inclusive here, but let’s be honest — this is Alabama, so if we’re talking about a pastor or a judge or a politician, chances are we’re talking about a dude.