Reacting against anti-gay forces, many churches open their arms to gays and lesbians

Chuck Currie finds a silver lining in the hard-fought battles over gay rights. Chuck's a blogger and a minister in the United Church of Christ - and here's what he has to say:

Without these ballot measures Oregonians would have never have been forced to confront the issue of civil rights for gays and lesbians so directly. Our churches, for example, might never had to wrestle with the theological implications of saying to another “your life is not deserving of equal protection under the law.”

Most people know that these anti-gay campaigns have been waged by Christians. Fewer know that these campaigns have also been opposed by Christians – Christians who have come to an understanding that God’s justice, love, mercy, and grace is available to all. Without these anti-gay campaigns over the years fewer congregations in the Christian community would have ever declared themselves to be “Open and Affirming” or “Welcoming” or “Reconciling.”

No one knows the full extent of the damage done to people over the years as the initiatives have been debated. The stress has to be enormous on people who know their rights are actually going be voted on. That takes a toll, no question.

But the Religious Right never anticipated that one result of their efforts would be to extend the openness of many churches. The anti-gay movement in Oregon has helped many to reject the more narrow impulses of Christian tradition and to shine a light of hope where before for many there was only darkness and emptiness in our sanctuaries.

He closes with a long list of dozens of religious institutions and organizations that have committed themselves to welcoming and celebrating gays and lesbians into communities of faith.

Read the rest. Discuss over there.


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