Coming Out...

I saw these two images this morning:

From The Federalist Papers

From Human Rights Campaign

So, I decided it's time for me to "come out," so to speak. As a Christian In Support of Gay Marriage. First, my reasons:

  1. Our country, and our government, is founded on freedom. It is NOT founded on any one religion, despite what many Christians seem to believe. Our Constitution guarantees that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What's unwritten is that these guarantees are true regardless of the individual's beliefs, race, or sexual orientation. As a whole, we believe this phrase applies to all races now, although 150 years ago, you would hear much of the same argument we're hearing today. Simply, I believe in our Constitution, and I believe our Constitution would allow these rights to all individuals (with the obvious exception of protecting children, which, if you're interested in, I'll give you some resources for in a minute).
  2. Aside from marriage falling under "the pursuit of happiness," do you realize that there are countless other issues that these couples must face?
    • Homosexual couples are often denied the right to visit each other in the hospital, even with domestic partnership laws. A woman here locally was not allowed to have her partner with her while she was experiencing a miscarriage, and we have domestic partnership laws protecting that. Regardless of your dogma, a person should be able to have the person who loves and supports them the most in their time of need. 
    • Employers are required to allow sick leave to take care of a spouse or family member. Individuals could lose their jobs by choosing to stay home for their partner. 
    • They would  lose out on any financial benefits they would normally receive if their partner dies. For married couples, even without a will, the spouse gets many benefits automatically. 
    • Taxes become incredibly complicated and expensive.
    • Lots of things are more expensive: from legally changing your names to renting a car.
    • For more, go here.
It's inhumane to deny consenting adults these things, regardless of your religious views. Martin Luther King, Jr, who is, I believe, one of the best preachers of our time, also said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 

Even if you disagree with my politics, here's one thing you can get behind: There are people, children, dying of disease, starving, and/or forced into slavery, including sexual slavery. Why are we wasting our time sticking our noses in other adults' personal lives, and not batting an eye at all the injustice in the world? 

I love these lyrics from Tenth Avenue North's song, "Losing": 
Why do we think that hate's gonna change their heart?
We're up in arms over wars that don't need to be fought
But pride won't let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down 
We think pain is owed apologies and then it'll stop
But truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not

The line that says "We build bridges up, but just to tear them down" - I thought it said, "We build bridges up, but You're tearing them down." I like that better. 

Christians, if you hear nothing else I say today, hear this: Hate will not change anything for the better. Love will. 

It doesn't matter if you believe homosexuality is wrong. What I'm saying is that it's worth it to protect all people's freedoms. Also, there are so many other things you can be spending your time and energy on that truly help people that need you. 

If you're interested in taking a stand against evil today, or any day, consider loving "the least of these."

Excellent organizations:  
  • Compassion International  - "You can release a child from poverty in Jesus' name." There are many other child sponsorship groups; choose the one you're most comfortable with. I chose Compassion so that we could write to, and receive letters from, our sponsored child.
  • A21 - "We exist to abolish injustice in the 21st century." (focuses on human trafficking)
  • YoungLives - "In Young Life, we have the privilege of extending Jesus Christ’s love to kids as they are, where they are. For high school and middle school girls who are expecting or are raising a child on their own, that love takes the form of a program called YoungLives."
  • Three Square - "55% of children in [Clark County School District] are enrolled in free and reduced-price lunch programs based on their income." Or, your local shelter. (Our church partners with Three Square and a local middle school to provide food to families in need. It's really amazing to see.)
  • The Cupcake Girls - In Nevada and Portland, Oregon, they provide "non-judgmental support, consistent caring, and messages of faith, hope and love" to women working in brothels or the adult-entertainment industry. 
Some simple things you can do:
  • When you buy chocolate or coffee, choose Fair Trade Certified. (More info, with videos for you auditory learners!) It's great to buy Fair Trade whenever possible, but these are two of the worst industries when it comes to enslaving children. 
  • Love and support the people around you: the mom that's having a hard time, the newly widowed, the child who needs a little more attention (yours or not), the person struggling with their faith.
  • If you can't make a donation of time or money, just "like" these groups on Facebook. Share their images and statuses, and make people aware that these things are happening. 
  • Consider how you think and talk about people who are not like you. Is it loving? See here and here
  • Stop. Being. Judgmental. (particularly about things that don't matter much) There are very few people in your life that you to whom you have the right to be judgmental. Pretty much just close family and close friends. These people may benefit from you pointing out something they might need to work on. Basically, if you wouldn't feel comfortable telling them they need to exercise more, you shouldn't feel comfortable telling them to change or believe something else. 
  • Extend grace to all people - starting with you - your kids, your spouse, your friends, random Facebook people, that blogger, even that crazy politician from "the other side."
These are just a few options. What charities do you support? What do you do to make the world a more loving place? 

P.S. You're welcome to disagree with me respectfully. All comments must be approved before they are published. Hateful language will not be published. Respectful disagreements will be. Imagine you're at my house, talking with me, our friends, and my LGBT friends before you write. Because, basically, you are. :)

(Edited to add: I do think, however, that churches and clergy that do not believe gay marriage is right in God's eyes should not be forced to perform these marriages. I believe that should fall under freedom of religion.)


Anonymous said...

Lovely article, thank you :-)

Allison said...

Thank you! This was beautifully written! We are all equal in the eyes of God.

Anonymous said...

I found this from the postsecret link. Very well said. I was raised Christian Reformed, but am not a practicing Christian at the moment. I feel very strongly about human rights. It is a right, not a luxury, to be married to the person you love.
Thank you for being strong enough to share your opinions, even though I'm sure there are those gossiping about your words right now. Stay strong. Those that truly matter in your life will have your back.

Anonymous said...

This literally made me tear up. I am a lesbian and am newly married to a wonderful woman. My wife and I are both very spiritual and try very hard to stay true to His word, but it has been so difficult to consider ourselves Christians when almost every Christian around us is full of hate. We have searched and called almost every christian church (we don't even care about the denomination anymore) within a 40 mile radius of our home for an accepting church with no luck. I miss going to service on Sundays. I miss being in youth groups. I miss spreading His word. But as a lesbian, I feel completely shunned.
I wish there were more Christians like you in this world.

Anonymous said...

Nicely stated. I don't know you but I wish I did ;)

nd963 said...

Thank-you. Our Lord Jesus Christ is LOVE!! Not hate! :)

Jessica Sanford said...

I have never (never!) found someone who could express my own views so perfectly! Even though I truly believe that this is the heart of Christ on this issue (and many others!!), I know it isn't a popular viewpoint in Christianity.Thank you for writing this, gutsy lady!

Rain Toledo said...

Wonderful post, Kristy. It's nice to hear Christians stick up for the rights of LGBT friends because I believe it's the right thing to do. One of the things that I feel that the Bible teaches or tries desperately to teach is a message of love and acceptance of all fellow mankind. If we are focusing on love for each other and what we have in common then we do not have time to waste on judgement and hate. Jesus, to me was and is about finding what's right in the world and then trying to improve upon that mountain of goodness. Love is the one thing we all have in common and all that LGBT people want is the freedom to love whomever they want and that is not a bad thing at all. Thank you Kristy for teaching a message of love and hope for a better tomorrow for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. You claim to be writing this "as a Christian", yet you never referenced what the Bible clearly teaches. I'm not at all questioning your faith (not at all!). I'm just wondering how you reconcile your stance with Scripture, since you used your Christianity as a platform in your opening statement.

K Newman said...

Good point. You're right in that I should have included something from the Bible that backs up what I say about love and justice. I would have chosen Luke 6:27-38 - 27 "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (ESV){This is not to say that LGBT people are our enemies, although many Christians believe that. But, if we are to love our enemies, then it goes unsaid that we should love those who have a differing opinion.}

My main point is that it doesn't matter what you believe the Bible says or doesn't say (because there is much disagreement about the passages discussing homosexuality). Rather, that what matters is that the US Constitution guarantees rights to all individuals, and by denying individuals marriage, we are denying them a basic right. However, you make a point that, when addressing Christians, I should back up my reasons for wanting to love others the way that we have been loved - unconditionally, fully, and freely - with the Bible. Again, I would use the passage noted above.

Thank you for your (very polite!) feedback!

Anonymous said...

I am very much a Catholic, and am very much a lesbian (not by choice). Reconciling my religious beliefs with my sexuality has been extremely difficult to do. We are indoctrinated into a society, from birth, that is hetero-normative. Growing up in this environment creates internal messages about what is right. These messages come from family, church, society, advertising, media, etc. I have found, as I am trying to reconcile my sexuality, that the most damning thing has been these messages to my health and development. It is very rare that I (we) get to witness another Christian standing up for my (our) rights as humans. I feel as though I am beginning to view religion and spirituality as something completely different than the norm. For one I can't comprehend how a book, the Bible, which was written by man, who is inherently faulty, can be taken at face value. Second, I can't believe that a God who has molded our lives before our birth would put so many people on this earth to suffer because of love. Finally, I don't understand how gender can mean anything when in the end, we shed the weight of this world, and we become a body-less spirit.
Well, no matter my own internal struggles, I appreciate that you can find a path to acceptance, the same I had to find, outside of the church and through civil law.
Thanks :)

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