Thursday, June 27, 2013

How will evangelicals respond to DOMA and Prop 8 decisions?

[With this post I'll begin a series of shorter comments about recent events, longer than the truncated observations I offer on Twitter or Facebook.]

Along with much of the nation, I celebrate news of The Supreme Court decisions striking down the benighted Defense of Marriage Act and California Proposition 8.  At the same time this turning point brings to mind surprising moments during two occasions in recent years in which I set foot in a church.  One was a memorial service for a family member held in a suburban Portland, Oregon maga-church.  The other was a wedding of a young couple in Washington, D.C.  Both events were deeply moving and personally meaningful.  But oddly enough, both included brash, tasteless, completely out-of-place interventions of homophobic preaching from the middle-aged male pastors who were conducting the services.  

At the memorial service recalling the life and contributions to family and community of a wonderful women, the clergyman departed from the flow of comment to deliver a vehement condemnation of homosexuality and a warning to younger members of the congregation about its lures.  "Good grief," I thought to myself.  "What's that all about?" 

At the wedding of the young man and woman -- a service enlivened by lots of gospel singing and hand clapping -- the religious master of ceremonies proclaimed the love and personal virtues of the couple, but seized the moment to argue that their bond deserved praise as a notable victory over Satan's treachery of gay sex that had swept up so many defenseless souls in this sinful era.  While the comment did nothing to change the good spirit in the chapel, it did add a distinctly sour note to the proceedings.  I began to wonder if comments like these had become a necessary part of evangelical church services, regardless of time and context.

In this light, it seems to me that this weekend an excellent source of entertainment would be to visit your local, "conservative" mega-church and listen closely to the sermon and the discussions afterwards.  What are the pastors and members of the congregation saying now?