On Tuesday, October 8th, I will take a day off work and join other clergy in a show of solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ friends and siblings whose rights are being “debated” before the Supreme Court of the United States. I will be there as a witness to their rights as my fellow citizens.
This is deeply personal for me, as members of my family, dear friends, and clergy I know and love are being “othered.” Othering is a psychological tactic that portrays a group of people as being fundamentally different, alien or “not like us.” It defines oneself as superior and induces prejudice towards those being othered.
Some folks who claim to be speaking for the Church have said some deeply hurtful things. I won’t repeat them here. I won’t link to their vitriol.
The bottom line, for me, is simply this: the Love of God is for everyone and every body. No exceptions. No maybes. The human race, in all of its complexities, differences, and diversity, is created in the Divine’s Image.
Can I get a witness?
I turned to the Scriptures to remind myself of the kind of othering that God invites us to do…
- From the Pentateuch: You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)
- From Christ: My commandment is this—to love one another just as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
- From Paul: Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. (Romans 15:7)
- From John: Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
I know where I am called. I will take a stand on the side of love and support my LGTBQIA+ friends who will speak to the media and those assembled on Tuesday. Their stories, their rights, their livelihoods, their homes, their children, their healthcare, their employment will take center stage. I will take a stand beside them, around them, with them. Because of Love. Because of the Spirit’s witness in my own life. And because it is the Christian thing to do.
Can I get a witness?
Rev. Deborah Vaughn is a hospice chaplain endorsed by the Alliance of Baptists. She blogs at An Unfinished Symphony and was a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She is an avid Buckeye fan down to her scarlet-painted toes!
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