In my church we say an Act of Contrition towards the beginning that I have always felt nailed Jesus’ call to action right on the head. It goes, in part, like this:
I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…
What I have done and what I have failed to do.
Months ago Dana wanted to write about our stance on the LGBT community and I balked. She gets pretty fired up about the issue and I was scared to offend some of our readers who do not share our opinions. The blog was new and growing and still feeling its way.
So the Supreme Court decision on Prop 8 came and went and we stayed silent. And the controversy over Russia’s intolerance of gays came and went and we stayed silent. Not yet, I said. There’s too much to lose.
In a way, I was right.
Last week in Kansas, the Republican dominated House of Representatives passed KB 2453, which says the following:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: (a) Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; (b) solemnize any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; or (c) treat any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement as valid.
Although KB 2453 was passed in the name of religion, it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with power and fear. But not feeling fear.
These people want to cause fear.
You think they didn’t know that we would all draw the same conclusion? That provision (a) of KB 2453 sounds similar to this:
Between mid-1933 and the early 1940s, the Nazi regime passed dozens of laws and decrees that eroded the rights of Jews in Germany. Some were seemingly insignificant, such as an April 1935 edict banning Jews from flying the German flag; or a February 1942 order prohibiting Jews from owning pets. But others withdrew the voting rights of Jews, their access to education, their capacity to own businesses or to hold particular jobs. In 1934 Jews were banned from sitting university exams; in 1936 they were forbidden from using parks or public swimming pools and from owning electrical equipment, typewriters or bicycles. Jews were also subject to cultural and artistic restrictions, forcing hundreds to leave jobs in the theatre, cinema, cabaret and the visual arts. – See more at: http://alphahistory.com/holocaust/anti-jewish-laws/#sthash.V0qUpHSt.dpuf
Today, various news outlets are reporting that the Republican dominated Kansas State Senate will not pass the bill into law, with its leaders claiming the bill is discriminatory and so, even though they stand for traditional marriage and family values, they cannot support it.
As if they were not working with their colleagues in the lower house all along. They floated a test balloon on Friday to see if it would fly and it didn’t. Today, state Senators got to stand in front of news cameras and take the high road.
But what if it no one noticed that the bill passed the House? Would the Senate have gone on to pass the bill this week? Would institutional discrimination have become legal? And from there, in the name of Jesus, what would have happened next?
These are the questions I asked myself. And then I knew that if real followers of Jesus do not speak up against those masquerading as followers of Jesus, then hatred and bigotry and evil will win.
I am sorry. Sorry that we’ve kept quiet. Sorry for what we haven’t said and haven’t done. Sorry that while we’ve talked about love, truth, Jesus, family, friends and faith, we haven’t seemed to extend that to all our brother and sisters. Even though in our hearts and in our lives and the way we are raising our kids, we are doing it. We are teaching them to love, and walk as Jesus walked, and to know, as Pope Francis tells us, that it is not for us to judge.
Dana and I are children of God raising children of God to live among children of God. We are pro-strong marriages and pro-strong families. We have gay married friends who are welcome in our homes and in our lives and we thank God for them. It’s who we are. And I think we’re done being quiet about it.