An item in Queer Day today points to an article in the San Mateo Daily Journal about a lesbian couple who were married on February 13 in San Francisco. When they returned to their church, the Santa Cruz Bible Church, the next day for a “power of love” sermon, they stood when a moderator asked couples who had been recently married to stand to be recognized in order to honor the most recent newlyweds.
Soon Boxer and Zapata, just two days into their marriage, were the only ones standing.
A tense silence filled the church. The moderator turned to whisper with church leaders. The lesbian couple stood, surrounded by their congregation, feeling more humiliated by the second, they said.
After several minutes, a decision was reached.
The moderator handed the couple a prize–dinner at a local Italian restaurant–for being the newest married couple in the congregation. Then, Pastor David Gschwend rose and condemned gay marriage.
Well, there’s the “power of love” for you, in at least one Christian context. The article goes on to report that the pastor has since extended an invitation to meet with Boxer and Zapata.
“At least I want to look them in the eye and tell them they have value and dignity,” [Gschwend] said.
<screech /> Er, whuh?
In my own life, yesterday morning I attended church services with my family in my home town. I decided to let Jeff sleep in and just join us later for lunch, and boy am I glad I did. Every time I visit that church–in which I grew up, and where my family are still very active–I get angry and swear I’ll never go back again, yet I always end up going anyway for my family’s sake. Yesterday I arrived to find a slick insert in the order of service from James Dobson of Focus on the Family which included an announcement about two upcoming workshops to “heal” homosexuals and bring them into a life of heterosexuality; during the sermon the minister spoke out against faiths, like the historical roots of my own contemporary Unitarian-Universalism, that teach that everyone merits salvation, and went on to note that changes to certain U.S. laws–he didn’t speak explicitly about sodomy and gay marriage, but in context I made an assumption that these were included–are “evil” and “wrong”–comparing them, in fact, to laws mandated by Hitler and Stalin–and that “laws of the land” do not need to be honored and obeyed by Christians if such laws go against biblical principles, literally expressed. Personally, I think among our most evil laws that ought to be condemned are those that provide tax exemptions to churches.
And this time I really mean it: I am never going back to that church again. Later, though, I did find it amusing to reflect that what’s happening in San Francisco and elsewhere in the U.S. is the result of others standing up to what they see as unjust laws, though I suspect this minister probably wouldn’t see it in the same light as his call for Christians to ignore the law. Incidentally, there is divorce and illegitimacy in the minister’s own marital and familial relationships, but hey, never mind, even his fundamentalist God still loves and forgives him because he’s not a homosexual.