DOMA: One Christian Speaks


With the DOMA decision hot off the presses this week, my Facebook news feed has been fascinating. I just sit and watch the screen refresh with anticipation; waiting for the gloves to come off.

One minute: OMGRAINBOWTEARSOFJOY.

The next: OMGWORLDCRASHINGDOWN.

And about every half hour: Something about Jesus, churches or the Bible, and how they feel about “The Gays” getting married.

As an Orthodox Christian, I view marriage [which my Church defines as being a physical and spiritual union between a man and a woman] as a Sacrament. Something spiritual and supernatural happens during a wedding for an Orthodox Christian: Christ is the Celebrant, He joins the couple together. And in a Mystery, they become one person. Because of this, sex is meant for marriage because it is a participation in that oneness. It is meant to be experienced within the context. So, taken together: having a wedding, being married, and having sex are beautiful, holy, and sacred.

Marriage is also known as the White Martyrdom within the Orthodox Church: you are giving your life for your spouse before God; this is represented by the “crowning” part of the marriage ceremony [Yep, those are Martyrs’ Crowns. Intense, right?!].

I cherish this view of marriage and sex as a healthy, full one. I look forward to experiencing it; I believe it is truth, and I believe this because I trust my Faith. It’s not an easy thing to believe, wait for, or live by, believe me. [White Martyrdom does not exactly come up as a topic of conversation at most parties these days.]  But I know it’s worth it.

However, I don’t expect every single person in the United States of America to have the same beliefs I do about marriage any more than I expect them all to show up at my Church on Sunday morning.

To follow the teachings of Jesus or the Church is now, and always has been, a choice, not a legislation or ruling. Jesus has never been shy; He has never been a shrinking violet, but He has never been a politician, either. He loves, He teaches and lives from Love; we choose how to respond.

Jesus never ran for President, and America is not now, nor has it ever been, an exclusively Christian nation. The Founding Fathers did not all go to the same Church together. They did not pen the Constitution at a Small Group at Bible Camp, and they never intended for a particular brand of religion to be legislated from Capitol Hill. In fact, the need for Freedom of Religion [any, not just mine] is what brought those rowdy ex-Brits here in the first place. That’s why it’s [still] in our constitution [right now, actually]. So, because the Constitution is what guides our law/political process, DOMA shouldn’t be discussed in terms of religion, because Church and State are separate here. And that’s where it gets tricksy, my little hobbitses.

See, within the American political sphere, marriage can’t be viewed as religious, because there is a legal component to it [and Church and State are separate]. So, the real question behind whether or not the Supreme Court should’ve upheld DOMA is not “Is it Christian for people who are in same-sex relationships to get married?” it’s “Should they have the Constitutional right to do so, based on what the rest of our law and Constitution says?” When marriage is being debated in politics, it’s a civil issue, not a theological one.

As much as I love my Church and my Faith [a lot, you guys, it’s changed my life in the most beautiful ways possible], I cannot find within it anything that says I should impose or enforce my own moral code on someone who is not choosing to be a part of my Faith. And  as an American citizen, I can’t find a place in the Constitution where it says I  have the legal right or civil obligation to do that, either.

So, yes, I am a straight, heterosexual Orthodox Christian. That means a someday I will marry a man in my Church: we’ll put on Martyrs’ Crowns and kiss dramatically in front of all our relatives [awkward!], and then we’ll dance the night away. And you’re all invited. Because it will be a beautiful, real experience, with a great party to follow.

My devotion to my Faith and its teachings about marriage does not mean I have the right to make anyone else’s faith or marriage illegal. And it doesn’t mean I should be unkind, rude, or unloving toward anyone, whether my theology agrees with their lifestyle choices or not.

I pray I have spoken the Truth in love, and that I can live it the same way. And I hope for your patience and respect as I spend my life figuring out the best way to do so.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “DOMA: One Christian Speaks

  1. Wow!! Thank you! Thank you! I could not have said it better myself!! Excellent point and as a life long Orthodox Christian it pains me so much to see people spewing hate right now!! God bless you!!

    Like

  2. I would like to add that while as an Orthodox Christian I believe homosexuality is a sin, in the same manner I believe that premarital sex is a sin. Neither is worse than the other, and I do not judge one or the other. (Ok, I try not to.)
    And I hate the mindset that America used to be a better, more moral country and now we’re a bunch of heathens and God is going to punish us. You mean everything was better when black people couldn’t even drink out of the same water fountains as white people? Even if we had been more “Christian” in years past, it wasn’t in practice.
    Lastly, thank you, Beth for so eloquently explaining a Christian view of this situation. It was much needed, I’m sure.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on if all else fails…use a hammer and commented:
    Another one worth reblogging. This is one of the most balanced views I’ve seen in the same-sex marriage debate, though I’m sure there are people on both sides of the issue who will have a problem with what Beth wrote here. Do all of us a favour and read the whole thing, several times, before you start writing scathing comments.

    And while this specifically pertains to recent legal developments in the US, I think the arguments here apply to any free democratic country, including mine.

    Like

  4. I think it’s a crass statement to say that the US is not (or has ever been) a Christian nation. As someone who is actively not a Christian, I recognize that identifier as a form of privilege (and, I would extend, as someone who actively identifies as Christian, you may not be able to understand your place of privilege because you are IN IT). I can respect your POV because you obviously respect mine.

    Like

  5. Pingback: DOMA and the Separation of Church and State | Patricia Giunta

  6. Pingback: On Religion | Transilhouette

  7. Pingback: Open for Service | In Case of Fire, Use Stairs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s