On June 30, 2015 the Washington National Cathedral’s hosted a service entitled “Honoring the Road of Love and Justice,” an act of thanksgiving for the Court’s legalization of gay marriage.
Considering the theological setting, there was little new or unusual about the service. Rainbow flags were waved and the liturgy honored gay rights “heroes” such as Harvey Milk, Hillary and Julie Goodridge, Barbara Gittings, and James Obergefell.
The service featured two speakers. The first was Brandan J. Robertson, the twenty-two year old board member of Evangelicals For Marriage Equality, a group dedicated to convincing churches to sign on to gay marriage. The second was the Reverend Allyson Robinson, a Baptist transgender minister.
Brandan displayed the typical tropes of the “Christian” homosexual narrative, namely he that he struggled with theology and his sexuality, met with LGBT people, eventually realized that God is okay with his orientation, claimed that discrimination still haunts the LGBT community, despite the Supreme Court victory, and that God was up to something great with this movement towards justice.
Rev. Robinson, on the other hand, broke plenty of ground in between her hyperbolic statements.
While acknowledging that the Supreme Court decision was a major victory in the culture war, Rev. Robinson warned that there were many more battles to fight,
“Transgender people by tens and hundreds of thousands live among us in poverty and despair, particularly transgender people of color….Undocumented immigrants who are transgender experience violence and abuse while in ICE detention at levels that would make a concentration camp commander squirm….LGBT people of all kinds still face discrimination and violence at the hands of their neighbors and their schools, and their employers and, sadly, their churches….[W]e must not compromise with their safety or their dignity or with laws that claim to protect religious liberty, but in reality privilege prejudice….These are only a few of the battles that are raging right now” (emphasis added).
This did not stop her from assessing the victory at the Supreme Court,
“The outcome of the culture war, at least on this front, is no longer in question….[I]n all but the most entrenched sectors of our society, resistance is giving way to resignation….Our culture war is ending.
At this point Rev. Robinson took a decidedly new approach,
Today, I am compelled to lay my weapons down, to assume a different posture relative to those who have been my enemies. I am compelled by sacred text and ancient tradition and the Spirit of God alive in me and the example of the one that I call ‘Savior’ and ‘Lord,’ here at the turn of the tide to surrender my instruments of war for instruments of reconciliation. I’m compelled by texts like…the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome…‘bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse them’…’Don’t repay any of them evil for the evil you have been dealt. But as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with them.’ I believe that if we can come together in this way…if we can devote ourselves to a justice that includes freedom of conscience for all and a harmony that does not demand homogeneity, than we ourselves will be blessed….We must reject the ‘us versus them’ mindset that at least in some way brought us to this place….And it must begin with us. And so tonight I confess my sins of this culture war. And I call upon us all to do the same. Tonight I repent. And I tonight I call on Christian leaders on both sides of these battle lines: come let us reason together (emphasis added).
How does this new paradigm of reconciliation play out in Rev. Robinson’s mind?
“I commend the leaders of my own tradition. Leaders of LGBT affirming Baptist and evangelical churches and the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention who quietly held a gathering in Nashville last fall of pastors, teachers, and…cultural warriors from both sides. I’m grateful to have participated in that gathering. And I commend Christian leaders…who have done the hard work of sitting down together not to argue and not to convince but simply to sit down together in the name of Christ….[A]nd I call upon Christian leaders nationwide to follow the example that we set and come together for face to face, person to person, heart to heart conversations. As leaders called and ordained it falls upon us to set this example….We must begin to see one another not as enemies or as issues but as human beings….There is no other way to heal the wounds of this war or to heal the division of our land (emphasis added).
If this service is any indication of the posture that pro-LGBT churches will adopt following the legalization of gay marriage, faithful churches are in for more of the same with a little extra spice.
The LGBT community’s conscious attempt to identify with the struggles of racial minorities remains intact, as demonstrated by Rev. Robinson’s specific attention towards the “poverty and despair” of “transgenders of color.” The gay rights movement’s insensitive use of holocaust imagery was also on display in her lamentation of the plight of “undocumented immigrants who are transgender.”
Also visible was the LGBT movement’s hostility towards visions of religious freedom that allow voices that do not affirm their life choices.
Additionally, this service and its speakers were filled with the LGBT’s trademark self-importance and arrogance, an arrogance that reached its peak with Rev. Robinson’s call for reconciliation in a war of aggression that that LGBT activists started.
This reconciliation tactic is perhaps the only new element in the conflict between LGBT and faithful churches. The LGBT churches are going to play the role of bridge builders who are reluctant to rub faces in the dirt. When faithful churches refuse such a mockery, the LGBT churches will cast them as sore losers who are consumed by hate.
Again, more of the same.
Just with added spice.