Update, March 17, 2021
March 16, 2021
In a series of lectures on the history of human rights, “Rights of Man, Great Thinkers and Great Movements” Professor Paul Gorden Lauren summarizes Christianity as follows.
Christianity was founded 2,000 years ago with the example, deeds, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Although his ministry lasted only a few years, his influence has been such that Christianity claims more adherents today than any other religion in the world.
A. His teachings centered on two principles: that God possesses an overwhelming love for all men, women, and children and that we, in turn, have a responsibility to receive this love and then let it flow outward to God and to others.
B. Jesus thus emphasized the value of all human life and sought to break down ethnic, gender, and class divisions. He instructed his followers to show love and compassion for “the least of these”: the powerless, the outcasts, the weak, the abused and oppressed, the sick, the hungry, the naked, the meek, and those who suffer. This is why he told the parable of the good Samaritan and instructed his followers to “Go and do likewise.”
It is because I find this description to be accurate that I am greatly disappointed by the recent statement by the Vatican the Catholic Church won’t bless same sex-unions since God “cannot bless sin.”
While this statement has no binding impact on my practice, or the practice of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, it is harmful in that the voice of the Vatican is one of the most significant voices in our world, it a voice that is taken to heart by individuals and communities around the globe. Thus, the statement does great damage to same-sex couples, and those who love and and support them, who want to make commitments, form families and bless the world through their relationships in the same way that heterosexual couples are encouraged to do.
Jesus’ clear teaching is that we do well to expand our understanding and definition of neighbor to include the Samaritan (outcasts) and the those lying on the side of the road (those hurt by the actions of others).
One way religious communities can do this is to encourage and bless same-sex unions. Such unions recognize the humanity of those who are often outcasts in their own families. Such unions recognize that those who are often hurt by the actions of others can find strength and hope by forming families and taking vows to be there for each other “in sickness and in health.”
There is more that can be said but if we understand that concepts like marriage, family, neighbor and love are living, growing, dynamic concepts then we can say that, far from sinful, same-sex unions are a blessing and a strength to those that form them and to the communities that welcome them.
Join us on Zoom today for Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study at 10:30 and Healing Justice tonight at 7:30.