The feeling was electric! When Stephen hit the opening chords of the Wedding March, and people recognized it, there was first laughter, then an explosion of applause in recognition of the Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage. A number of weddings are already scheduled, and this is as much fun as I have ever had in ministry.
As I write this, the LA Times lead article says a poll of Californians shows a majority are opposed to the decision; the Pasadena Star News leads with the decision by All Saints Episcopal to perform same-sex weddings. I am glad they are joining us in this. I am astounded by a comment by Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary expressing his sadness at All Saint’s decision, saying it is a mistake to link same-sex marriage to mercy and justice instead of moral standards.
Huh? I would think mercy and justice are the moral standards. Some strange theology going on there. Mouw also suggested Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints, read Romans 1. Well, maybe Mouw should read the California and US Constitutions. The confusing and conflating of religious and legal issues here is serious. It does not matter what Romans 1 says [I assume he is referring to Romans 1:26-27] any more than what the Rig Veda might say, and, in any case, you can point to lots more verses in the New Testament where justice and mercy are the very standards Jesus demands people uphold.
And my religion, the faith I am guaranteed can be practiced freely, insists that same-sex marriage is as valuable, as spiritual, as ethical, as moral, as natural as opposite sex marriage. Let Mouw and Bacon argue about their common faith, but don’t impose it on the rest of us.
I am committed to canvassing in my neighborhood this fall, before the election, to do what I can to defeat the unjust and immoral proposition to deny legal marital protections and rights to same sex couples. I will do this as a citizen of a country and state that claims that the free practice of religion is guaranteed and that discrimination based on religion or any other factor is wrong. And I will do it because my faith calls me to transform our world through acts of love and justice. I hope you will all join me in your neighborhoods.
I would invite Dr. Mouw and any others who wish to experience some justice and mercy, and a deep sense of morality, to Neighborhood Church, and talk with any of us, and maybe meet and get to know some of our couples who now can marry, just as they should be able to.
And, way to go All Saints!
— by Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson
Check out Dr. Nelson’s Marriage Equality sermon.