Legal recognition and celebration of same-sex marriage is far more revolutionary than just the passage of a few state and national laws. The bonds (“bondage”) of matrimony cry out for a fresh look at the ancient human tradition of marriage, which is based on the same foundations as such time-honored practices as child abuse, slavery, terrorism, war, and tyranny.
The “Defense of Marriage Act” could more accurately be called “The Defense of Ignorance and Injustice Act.” Legions of abusive religious forces are being marshaled to do battle against the GLBT struggle for human and civil rights for same-sex couples. Recent e-mail telling of the mounting fundamentalist religion opposition to “gay marriage” has reached a new “shrill level” of emotional misinformed rhetoric and media blitz.
The emerging Anti-Gay Marriage Industry is becoming even more politically active, well financed, misinformed, and aggressive than the “Ex-Gay” Industry. Militant “anti-gay marriage” religious organizations and political action groups are multiplying and growing at a rapid rate. Literature attacking gay marriage is pouring into millions of homes through books, newsletters, television and radio offers, e-mail campaigns, and every other available channel of media saturation.
James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” recently appeared on national television in an interview with Larry King and gave a vast glut of anti-gay misinformation and lies to the entire nation. We are being smothered in an avalanche of homophobic misinformation and distortions of the truth that is darkening the sky and moving like a new threatening apocalyptic cloud of doom overshadowing our entire world.
Rescuing Marriage from Abusive Religion
John Shelby Spong explored a revolutionary new direction in biblical studies in “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” in 1991. Bruce Bawer further extended this revolution in 1997 with his “Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity.” My friend Clayton Sullivan in 2002 recently moved the revolution forward with his “Rescuing Jesus from the Christians.”
Rescuing marriage from fundamentalism and religious misinformation is a formidable challenge. Marriage customs and expectations throughout the world are firmly entrenched in every social system and in the human psyche. Breaking into traditional marriage systems with fresh insight and honest new directions of freedom and human responsibilities has seemed to be truly a “mission impossible.”
No matter how difficult the challenge, the truth is always worth fighting for and human dignity and self-esteem are worth saving.
Challenging Religious Assumptions
The biblical view of marriage is an extension of male dominance and is “set in stone” in the Ten Commandments that protect a man’s absolute right to own and control his possessions, his wife, his children, his animals, and his slaves. How this obvious fact has escaped the notice of fundamentalist religion is a great tribute to the brainwashing effectiveness of traditional religion throughout human history.
Modern marriage is a contradiction of all of the holy principles that legalistic religion claims to support the anti-gay marriage juggernaut that is crushing everything in its path to victory over the human rights and loving relationships of GLBT people. Take a close look at what is happening. The accelerating cultural war over gay marriage is dominating religious, political and social life now far more than any other issue since the beginning of the GLBT freedom revolution at Stonewall in 1969. This is a long-term war that we cannot afford to lose.
Shaking the Foundations
The obvious fact that same-sex couples can and do enter into loving committed lifelong relationships is challenging and shaking the foundations of abusive religion and unjust social customs and systems. All of our biblical research reaches one clear conclusion: Homosexuals are not an abomination to God, but wounding and destroying homosexuals in the name of religion is.
The foundations are shaking and crumbling because they are inadequate and need to be replaced by realistic honest foundations that are built on logic and factual information and not on religious mythology and medieval imaginations. Foundations crack and collapse because they cannot bear the weight of logical, objective, realistic, practical new directions for human life into maturity that truly includes and affirms every individual as having equal value.
Christianity has not failed, because nobody has really tried it yet! What has failed is the bogus religious use of Jesus by abusive religion to raise money, build great material empires, exercise secular and political power and deny the basic human rights that Jesus celebrated, taught, demonstrated and died for.
Jesus has not failed. The misinformed self-righteous abusive religious leaders who falsely claim to follow Jesus have failed. The traditional churches have failed. The current educational systems of religious institutions have failed. You and I have failed to the extent that we have taken our eyes off Jesus to follow and sustain our own agendas and to please and satisfy other people.
Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!
Religion has worked hard for centuries to obscure the real Jesus of the Gospels in order to maintain control over people and to build and sustain the Empire. The living Spirit of Jesus, however, is free and available to liberate you from religious oppression and misinformation.
Church architecture, stained glass, statues, paintings, rituals, ceremonies, costumes and doctrines have obscured the real Jesus and created fanciful images that please the senses but fail to communicate reality and truth. Break out of the box! You do not find God in the “box church” but in yourself wherever you are and in all things God has made. The heavens still declare the glory of God and the firmament demonstrates the work of God. Jesus made it clear that you see God in other people or you do not see God at all.
Rescuing Marriage from Oblivion
One of the primary objectives of GLBT Christians should be the salvation of marriage from oblivion. By fighting for the human right to marry, same-sex couples are rescuing marriage, not destroying it! Gay marriage is a giant step in the direction of following Jesus in accepting and affirming all people as having equal value before God. The human institutions of our culture identify themselves by who they leave out. Jesus identified his people by who is included, not by who is left out.
Don’t give up on gay marriage. Institutional Christianity will never be truly Christian until GLBT people are fully included at every level and in every activity of the life of the churches.
The author of Invitation To Freedom and Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, Rev. Rembert S. Truluck served in Metropolitan Community Churches in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville from 1988 to 1996. He earned a doctorate in sacred theology from Furman University, serving from 1953 to 1973 as a Southern Baptist preacher. He resigned as a professor at Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) and became an MCC pastor after being outed to the college’s board of trustees.