Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Moral Compass?

Recent headlines continue to highlight the religious institutional struggle with accepting marriage equality.  The Methodist church has threatened to strip a pastor of his ordination because he performed the same sex marriage ceremony for his son.  A Catholic school has fired a teacher because he will soon marry his same sex partner.
Their explanation for these actions is that homosexuality is not in line with church teachings.  Those who believe they must take this moral line insist it's because of scripture.  But it is not about scripture.  There are 3 to 4 times the number of scriptures denouncing divorce.  Romans 7: 2-3, Matthew 5: 31-32,  Mark 10: 2-12,  Luke 16: 18, I Corinthians 7: 10-15, I Corinthians 7: 39 are just a few.
My point in listing these is not to criticize divorce.  Whom you decide to share your life with is a personal decision and you have the right to choose.  Both the Methodist and the Catholic churches appear to have accepted that and do not lament about divorce.  In both these churches you can marry, divorce, re-marry and hold leadership positions.  What the scriptures say have nothing to do with it.
One argument I've heard is that divorce is a one time mistake and is not a recurring sin.  However, that argument is not scriptural.  Read the scriptures listed above.
Churches attempt to be a moral compass assuming a leadership role in determining what is culturally acceptable and what is not.  That is not all bad and every culture needs a moral compass.   That moral compass needs to be firmly based in teachings of love and compassion.  Telling people they cannot love whom they love - whether an issue of divorce or an issue of same sex relationship - is NOT based in a teaching of love and compassion. 
Yes, you can argue God is to be obeyed and quote scripture after scripture.  And the next person can quote scripture that YOU are not following.  The Law and obedience path is an endless cycle of failure.  And that was the whole point of Jesus' message.  Law is not the path to God.  It is impossible to lead a life that follows scripture literally.  If churches are going to survive, they need to get over that way of thinking.
I do believe the truth is in the teachings of Jesus.  You are most likely to see those truths if you also look for the same threads in the spiritual teachings of other beliefs.  If we could all land together and focus on those common truths, we would stop fighting over issues that divide us and cause one another harm.
Marriage equality is just one of those issues.

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