Today there are people who are rejoicing. And today there are also people who will be protesting. Today there are people who are crying tears of relief. And today there are also people who will be gritting their teeth and digging their heels into the ground.
Today there are people who believe that this is a time of revolutionary positive change. And there are also people who will be claiming that this is the beginning of a downward spiral for the United States.
All of this because the United States Supreme Court just ruled that they have found a constitutional right to marriage equality in this country.
Even though this is a landmark occasion for LGBT people, including a vast number of LGBT Christians, I can’t help but find myself taking the pessimist’s side, my first thoughts being: this isn’t over yet. Yes, granting legal status to countless people is a great thing, but unfortunately, it doesn’t change the majority of attitudes toward LGBT people, especially from religious communities. If anything, this ruling might only make that situation worse. After all, there are already church groups who have declared that they will fight the government on this issue, because they still believe it to be sin.
Thus, I believe that this is another opportunity for Christians to correct their past mistakes and begin showing unconditional love, regardless of what your beliefs on this topic are. Personally, I don’t mind if people still disagree with me on this. That’s completely fine. You hold to your beliefs, and I will hold to mine. What matters to me is how you treat people. Because the fact of the matter is that while this ruling might provide some measure of legal protections for LGBT people, it doesn’t and can’t change the way that others treat LGBT people, especially conservative Christians.
After all, if we don't start changing the way that we interact with LGBT people now, we’re going to push an entire community away from Jesus because of our own personal opinions and agendas. If Christians are supposed to be the reflection of Jesus, what kind of Jesus is the world going to see moving forward from today? Are they going to see a Jesus that demands perfection before they can accepted or are they going to see a Jesus that invites them to come as they are, saying that the rest can wait until later?
This isn’t just a pivotal moment for the LGBT community, this is a pivotal moment for the church as well. How the church responds in the next few weeks, months, or years will decide whether the church is viewed as the archenemy of LGBT people or whether it is slowly transformed into a place that is safe for everyone, regardless of what kind of “lifestyle” or background you have. And isn’t that what the church is supposed to be anyway? I once read a quote that said: the church is supposed to be a hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints. I think we need to take a good look at the church and decide which of the two we are and which of the two we want to be moving forward.
Are we going to be the kind of church that welcomes everyone as they are, for real? Or are we going to be the kind of church with religious bouncers at the door, ensuring that everyone entering is holy enough and clean enough to be inside?
So, today I’m glad for everyone who can finally get married. I’m glad that strides are being made in a direction where LGBT people won’t be seen as inferior or second class citizens. However, I’m also nervous for how this decision will impact the church. Some Christians will likewise be rejoicing. Some may be hardened even more in their beliefs that this is wrong. And some may not be sure anymore.
Regardless of where people find themselves beginning today, grace and unconditional love are what I implore everyone to remember, both for those who do not agree with the Supreme Court decision toward LGBT people and also for LGBT people toward those who do not agree with them. I mean, it would be pretty hypocritical to call them to love us when they don’t agree with us if we don’t purpose to do the same thing, right?
So yeah. A 5-4 ruling. That happened.
Let’s see what happens starting now.
A lot of things are about to change.