An open letter to the Supreme Court as you consider same-sex marriage (COMMENTARY)

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Ikeita Cantu, left, and Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Va., hold signs in front of the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015 as justices inside considered arguments about legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. They were married in 2009 in Canada. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

Ikeita Cantu, left, and Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Va., hold signs in front of the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015 as justices inside considered arguments about legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. They were married in 2009 in Canada. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

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(RNS) Yes, the government has an interest in fostering strong communities and strong families -- and both will strengthened when marriage equality makes the lives of same-sex couples and their children more safe and secure.

  • Greg

    And people wonder what I mean when I say the Episcopal Church has lost its way?

  • Susan Russell

    I’ve been AS proud to be an Episcopalian but never prouder. Thank you for your leadership, Madam President!

    The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
    All Saints Church, Pasadena CA

  • James Carr

    Lost its mind, if this letter represents religious truth.

  • Bob J

    We have not lost our way! Discrimination is not God’s way.

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  • Ben in oakland

    No one wonders what you mean, Greg. We know what you mean. You personally, and your no one wonders what you mean, Greg. We know what you mean. You personally, and your so called faith, despise gay people. That much is obvious. I notice that you had nothing to say regarding what is priest said. Her points were entirely valid.

    Your solution is simple. If you or your church don’t like gay marriage, don’t get Gay married.

  • Greg

    No Ben, People need to hear the Truth from “Christian” institutions. Any person humbly and honestly seeking the Truth of Christ, needs to hear it. It might seem like an impossibility at first glance to change the way you live, and focus instead on eternity, but with God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26). Once when Jesus was taking to a mixed crowd, he said, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? ( Luke 11:9-12). Well that is exactly what is happening here in this open letter. People of “Faith” need to be leading others to salvation, not grease their skids on the way of destruction (Matt 7:13-14).

  • Larry

    Meaning “I disapprove of this sect!!!”

    Typical fundie attitude. Anyone christian who disagrees with them is “not really christian”. That is unless they do something of note and want to take credit for it on behalf of the faith.

  • Bruce Garner

    You do not know what heresy is. And if you studied the New Testament more precisely you would understand that our current “model” of marriage was not the norm so many claim. Polygamy was still practiced in the early church. The only prohibition against polygamy were for bishops and deacons. Read the history of the church via the Acts of the Apostles. If you pay attention to the narrative, Jesus did not bless the wedding at Cana. He did turn water to wine at the reception. We do not know whether he was even present at the wedding itself. These are among many concepts that may have been the practice in ancient history but no longer apply to us now. To claim that nothing changes is a true heretical stance. It took centuries for the church to apologize and reinstate those it excommunicated for stating that the earth revolved around the sun. What are you revolving around my friend?

  • Larry

    Its only heresy if you are part of their sect or in some position of authority for the entire faith.

    If you don’t like the POV of her church, don’t join it. Your opinion doesn’t negate the fact that she is as much a Christian as you claim to be.

  • Bruce Garner

    Jesus also condemned divorce. We understand things differently from a time when people died of old age in their 40’s and younger. Keep all of this in the context of the culture in which it was written, not in today’s terms and you might see things differently.

  • Silver

    No, but we don’t have any money because people left in droves. I am glad I go to a traditional Episcopal Church that is thriving and we have never allowed a bunch of liberals who think they can rewrite scripture to suit their lifestyle. We have lost the biggest diocese in the US and blown millions paying lawyers to hang on to churches who pulled out. And we lost!!! Better to stick to tradition than try to change the oldest story in the Bible. People as a whole don’t buy it. When will the Episcopal Church ever learn. And do you realize that the actions that we take concerning same sex relationships get thousands of Anglicans brutally murdered every year in Africa? The main reason for Christian persecution is because of the selfish actions that denominations in the US have taken regarding same sex marriage. Look for it to get kicked back to the states.

  • MarkE

    I have to laugh. Since when does having to check all the theological boxes define one as a Christian? From popes to beggars, throughout the millennia, people have been Christians purely by one thing: do they believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died on the cross and was raised from the dead. All this other stuff is human contrivance to exclude those who don’t agree with you. The Gospel is about being freed from bondage to the law, rather than counting how many sins we’ve committed and making sure we confess each and every one so we can do proper penance and earn our way to heaven! Balderdash.

    I am as much a Christian as any of you blowhards on here who denigrate this priest, or any Christian for that matter, solely because you don’t like the icky stuff that comes with same-gender relationships. Get over it.

  • Bruce Garner

    And let the people say “AMEN” to that!

    We do not get to decide who is in right relationship with God. Each of us must decide for ourselves based on the very personal relationship we have. Funny, though, many who continue to talk about “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” don’t get it that the decision about that is not theirs, it remains between that person and God.

    I have been a committed and practicing follower of Jesus Christ since I was 10 years old and accepted Him as my lord and savior. No one gets to judge that but me and God. And the last time we spoke, God and I were fine!

    We forget that God is the one who invites us into relationship. God chooses. We do not. It is not our place to determine the validity of God’s choices.

    If as much time, effort and energy went into carrying the Gospel into the world as gets spent on trying to determine who is “in” and who is “out,” the world would be a far better place.

  • Bruce Garner

    Darling, I know what is in Scripture. I’ve read the book all the way through and completed a four year course of study on it. You might spend some time in the first letter of John….love is well described there. You might also wander through some of Paul’s letters. If you keep them in the context of when they were written and why, it gives new insight. The indiscretions you cite above apply to all sexual orientations. And what did Jesus say about same gender relationships? By the way, why do you hide behind a fake name?

  • Jack

    Greg, the Episcopal Church is beyond losing its way. On every major issue of our time, it has been a slavish lapdog of the anti-American, anti-West lunatic left, from supporting Marxist guerrillas in the 1970s, Soviet front organizations in the 1980s against freedom movements in eastern Europe, and anti-Israel terrorists in more recent years to every major domestic initiative of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic party at home.

    None of this has to do with the immediate issue at hand, but for the writer to represent her communion as deliberately and dispassionately looking at the gay marriage issue is frankly laughable. The point is that the Episcopal Church of today takes its cue from whatever the radical left happens to be doing. There is no independent or prophetic voice. It is just as much a predictably conformist organization today for the left as it once was for the right. It is as useless today as it was then.

  • Jack

    Actually, it was built by Henry VIII back in Britain….not a good beginning at all. Once it reached America, it quickly became the mouthpiece for whomever the cultural elite happened to be. It never had a voice that was truly independent from the culture – be it right or left.

    It was pretty useless from the get-go.

  • Jack

    Good try, Bruce, with your straw man argument, but no biblical literate person can deny that polygamy is in the Bible and wasn’t called out clearly as a sin. At the very least, it appears that polygamy was allowed.

    As you well know, that is not the case for same-sex couplings. You really have to torture the biblical language in a major way to make it say otherwise.

    Nobody is forcing any of us to agree with what the Bible says. But honesty suggests that we frankly acknowledge what it says, not what we necessarily wish it said.

  • Larry

    No worse than the reason for the split. The Pope was being held hostage by Henry’s nephew.

    Catholic apologists always like to pretend that the reason Henry was denied a divorce had such a moral/spiritual basis. Ignorance of history helps in this regard.

    The reality was that the Pope was being held hostage by the most powerful man in Europe, Charles V. The ruler of Holy Roman Empire. A man who did not want to see his aunt, and family lose a place in the British crown.

  • Larry

    Its no worse than the torture Christians like yourself do to the text to pretend “love thy neighbor” doesn’t exist or is of little importance.

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
    Matthew 22:37-40.

    Yet somehow you can manage to shoehorn religious based discrimination and animus in here against others.

    Torture of the Biblical language indeed!

  • Larry

    “On every major issue of our time, it has been a slavish lapdog of …”
    Jackspeak for I will make up any sort of position for them and engage in useless ad hominem rather than address the points made here.

  • James Carr

    A Christian woman “of the cloth” pleading to the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage. Where does she gleen this attitude from Scripture? I am sick of those who focus on God strictly as a loving, merciful, and forgiving Father. He is also the Lawmaker, Perfect Justice, Perfect Wisdom, and the creator of the Hell for those who choose to wallow in it eternally. Where do we get the
    idea that since we see our lifestyle as loving and
    meaningful, that God agrees with you? I am appalled at clergy not only fooling themselves, but lending their cachet as preachers to convince others that they have God’s ear. What a shallow and poisonous person this Reverend is.

  • Y

    Repent! Repent! Oh I forgot I shouldn’t say that any more.

  • Y

    Repent! You must repent Jack of your gay sins Repent! Repent!

  • Fran

    Yes, God is loving, merciful and compassionate…so why would that kind of person create a place of fiery torment forever (aka “hell”) for his own creation, even if they were bad? (Ecclesiastes 9,5,10).

  • Reality

    Maybe you can tell that to GOD. Hopefully within rebuke you will not hear “depart from me you workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:23)”.

    I rebuke within all authority as required of Titus 2. Mz Jennings; how exactly does this suffice your role to teach the young women to be “discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of GOD be not blasphemed”? Do you not know your job? Can you not do your job? You seem to want to do everyone else’s job. Where did your wisdom come from? Did you ask your husband to teach you? He obviously failed somewhere. Can you two of you not read the BIBLE? You hold our hearts individually, but look around you for your failures; maybe GOD has been trying to tell you something.

    Why would you think that you should represent GOD, CHIRST, the body of the Church or anyone else for that matter? We are here for and because because of HIM and his will; not for your own personal little ideologies.

  • James Carr

    The Church excommunicated no one for believing the sun revolved around the earth, and I can’t recall any instance of polygamy in the early Catholic Church……the only Christian sect until Martin Luther.

  • James Carr

    Discrimination is not hate. It is selective choice and can be either good or bad. Discriminating against sinful people does not mean you hate them, you just choose to keep an arm’s length from them and their behaviors.

  • Billysees

    B. Garner,

    ” We understand things differently from a time…”

    “Keep all of this in the context of the culture in which it was written,…and you might see things differently.”

    Of course. But it’s painful for many to do that because there are too many things unknown.

    “…we are serving in a new spiritual way, not in an old way dictated by written words………Romans 7:6

  • Billysees


    “But honesty suggests that we frankly acknowledge what it says.”

    Then let’s do that then.
    Here’s an example of the sharpness of the two edged sword —

    From Paul’s own hand he writes —
    1. …our knowledge is partial and incomplete…
    2. …we see things imperfectly…
    3. All that I know now is partial and incomplete…
    (1 Corinthians 13:9,12)

    We must reason out anything and everything in scripture, as necessary, simply because of his ‘honesty’ about the veracity of his own writings.

    Those three points are also the reason it is necessary to judge and evaluate a matter or people based on all reasonable, ‘current or modern’ attitudes, experiences and knowledge.

    Obviously then, we need to encourage ourselves to seek out and find new and better ways of understanding an issue than rely solely on scripture, which is too partial, incomplete and imperfect.

  • Larry

    I am sure everyone who supported segregation liked to say that in public.

    Especially when they were turning people away from businesses saying, “we don’t serve n—–rs here!”

  • Sidney

    Many broad brush statements there and none of them have to do with the civil rights of marriage. Don’t believe in samesex marriage, don’t have a samesex marriage. As to your limited view on “lifestyle” if you don’t like it, don’t do it, go to it, participate in it, and avoid your eyes if you see it.

  • James Carr

    Spouting hateful slurs is acting on a discrimination, which would be wrong and sinful. Discriminating against meat and advocating a vegetarian diet is neither good nor bad.
    Who can force anyone not to be discriminative towards anything? Laws attempt to, but laws cannot erase it.

  • Fran

    God’s original standard for mankind was for the husband and wife to become one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24), polygamy was not intended, and is prohibited in the Christian congregation (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5,6).

    Polygamy, while not God’s original arrangement, was tolerated until the time of the Christian congregation. Polygamy had a start not long after Adam’s sin. The first mention of it is a descendant of Cain, Lamech, who took 2 wives for himself (Genesis 4:19).

    Having concubines was practiced under patriarchal law and the Law covenant. A concubine had a legal status; her position not a matter of fornication or adultery. Under the Law, if a man’s firstborn son was the son of a concubine, this son would receive the firstborn’s inheritance (Deuteronony 21:15-17).

    Concubines and polygamy allowed Israelites to increase at a much faster rate. God did not establish these arrangements, only allowed and regulated them; and they served some purpose at the time (Exodus…

  • Fran

    Exodus 7:1

  • Greg

    Amen, Jack

  • Greg

    Matt 5:29 So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your body parts than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

  • Larry

    But discrimination is not hate according to you?

    Discriminating against people in open commerce is not only malicious but also in many cases a legally recognized harm.

    There is no such thing as a well intentioned act of discrimination in business. If your religious belief spurs you to do so, you are extolling acts which are hateful. It is always meant to demean and degrade the person being discriminated against. It is sinful by its nature, if one is to take fundamental ideas expressed all throughout your scripture seriously. It is immoral even without referring to religious belief.

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  • Steve S.

    Is this woman a Christian?
    Which comes first for her: God or Country?

    She criticizes the lawyer defending the marriage ban by saying he is making “sweeping comments” without facts. Yet, she makes big sweeping comments without facts. Show us the facts about gay relationships (stability, frequency, longevity). Show us the facts about gay marriages.

    Better yet… show us that she understands what Christ said.