Our Spiritual Work in the Public Square
I don’t know about you, but I am very glad to be alive at this time in the journey toward full equality for LGBT people—in Virginia and everywhere. The struggle is global and there is much to celebrate. How about the British House of Commons voting so strongly for marriage equality? I did not see that coming, so it was a joyous surprise.
Here in Virginia, we have good news, too!
This year, on February 14, people of faith and other friends of equality will gather at five courthouses to make a powerful witness for marriage for all in Virginia. That’s FIVE locations all around the Commonwealth—Arlington, Winchester, Charlottesville, Hampton, and Richmond (where it all began in 2004). Never before have we had more than three! Thanks to Kevin Clay and others at EV for helping to make this possible.
I am so proud of the couples who will march boldly forward and present their marriage license applications—and in more and more cases simply present a copy of their certificate of legal marriage from another jurisdiction—claiming the truth of their love and their clear demand that Virginia join a growing number of states, districts (like D.C.), and nations who recognize same-gender-loving families as every bit as genuine and worthy of respect as different-gender-loving families.
Family is family. Family comes in many different configurations. It’s time to welcome and support all our families.
And for us, as people of faith, this struggle also involves religious freedom. That freedom, of course, includes people of no faith to be able to live their lives without having to follow the rules of any faith, AND it also includes the right of those of us of one faith not to have to live under the rules of another faith.
So many of us now practice our faith in traditions which recognize and celebrate same-gender-loving families. My own tradition of Metropolitan Community Churches led the way, but Unitarian Universalism, Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church explicitly are now in this camp, and increasingly Conservative Judaism, the Presbyterians, Unity, and others are joining the fold. And even in other traditions, there are many leaders and members who are clear about their support.
So this observance on Valentine’s Day is part of a spiritual pilgrimage, a holy walk, out of the shadow of narrow, rigidly held tradition into the bright light of God’s justice and wholeness—as our Jewish companions and teachers would say, this is a walk of tikkun olam, “to repair the world.” Contrary to what our detractors say, we are not undoing God’s word, but bringing it closer to fulfillment—that is, if we believe, as I do and I imagine you do, that God is the God of all God’s creation, loving and favoring all.
Which is why we also continue our work to help the Boy Scouts of America move forward into the place of full inclusion (you can still sign the petition here and why in coming months we will be working with allied groups to promote equal treatment of LGBT individuals and same-gender-loving families who are immigrants to our shores. Watch for news about this latest initiative soon.
We also will continue our growing alliance with Equality Virginia in the work for workplace justice. Please contact your Delegate today, to urge support for SB 701, the bill authored by Sens. McEachin (our Board member!) and Ebbin. You can do that here.
So, our work continues. It is holy work, it is spiritual work, it is the work of bringing wholeness to our beloved Commonwealth, of repairing the many tears and stains in our social fabric, and doing so in the name of what is good and holy in our lives.
Thanks be to God, that we have been given this opportunity.
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