The Pope Punts and Catholics Vote with Their Feet by Carol P. Christ

Reading the receCarol Molivos by Andrea Sarris 1ntly released papal letter “The Joy of Love,” I was surprised to see that it opens a “new” discussion of marriage and the family with a very old patriarchal trope from Psalm 128:

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,

who walks in his ways!

You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;

you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

within your house . . . (see ch. 1, pp. 7-8)

Notwithstanding the “inclusive language” translating the male generic in Hebrew as “one,” there is no way around the fact that this psalm is addressed by a male God to men. It compares women to property owned and tended by men. Nor does it provide any opening to consider the blessings of same sex marriage. Continue reading “The Pope Punts and Catholics Vote with Their Feet by Carol P. Christ”

#LoveWins by John Erickson

On Saturday, September 19, 2015 I married two of my best friends Andrea and Cindy in holy matrimony in Appleton, WI.

John Erickson, sports, coming out.Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you.
Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.
Book of Ruth 1:16-17

On Saturday, September 19, 2015 I married two of my best friends Andrunnamedea and Cindy in holy matrimony in Appleton, WI.  Having been ordained since 2009, I truly never thought I’d ever get the chance to use these credentials until they asked me a few months back.  Although my answer was an automatic yes, I sought to make sure that my homily and the words of advice I gave them on their special day were something unique, not always heard at wedding ceremonies. Continue reading “#LoveWins by John Erickson”

Spouses for Life by Marie Cartier

Marie & friends at Long Beach, CA celebrations of the Obergefell decision
Marie & friends at Long Beach, CA celebrations of the Obergefell decision

This essay is perhaps the last in an occasional series I have written since the New Year, which can be read here and here. Gay marriage as of June 26th is now legal in the United States. What has changed—and what has not?

If public opinion drives public policy, then the motivation for banning same-sex marriage was moral disapproval, religious disapproval—and the belief that God was not “on the side” of the homosexuals and had cast homosexuals as sinners in the faith choice of the person formulating the public policy critique. Public discourse —based on religious formulations such as “sinner” and what “God intended” had been the primary agents erected into state law to ban the LGBTIQ population from civil rights—such as marriage.

Religious sentiment, such as “you are a sinner” should not make the case for legal judgment. In fact, it was unconstitutional.

Love the Sinner. Hate the Sin. Continue reading “Spouses for Life by Marie Cartier”

Gay Marriage: “Tell me why I shouldn’t hate you…?” asks the straight Christian to the lesbian by Marie Cartier

MarieCartierforKCETa-thumb-300x448-72405This is the third of a series exploring gay marriage as a game changer within religion and politics. I have explored the topic as political animus and earlier as almost fairy tale come to life. Today I am examining it from a very person view.

Consider a gay woman (myself) being asked by a straight attempting to understand the “right” for gay marriage, “What does it matter if I know you’re ‘gay’ if I’m not attracted to you?”[1]

Then consider that another right of “marriage” –or being known as “gay”—is the right to be admitted into the hospital room of a loved one, who is considered one’s primary partner, or “spouse.” Yes, one wants to say to the questioning woman in the above scenario, the rights for marriage include the crucial family relationships which allow one person to be able to take sick leave to care for a partner, or a partner’s child; being able to make critical medical decisions, and the right to be together in crisis situations (such as a hospital emergency room).[2]

Imagine the gay woman speaking to the straight woman and saying, “Because I am more than someone you might or might not be attracted to. I am my own person with my own life. I want to among other things, get into the hospital room of my partner, my loved one, the one I am actually attracted to.” Continue reading “Gay Marriage: “Tell me why I shouldn’t hate you…?” asks the straight Christian to the lesbian by Marie Cartier”

The Inalienable Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness vs. the Right to Religious Freedom by Carol P. Christ

carol p. christ photo michael bakasIn his speech announcing that he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana did not mention the issue of the so-called “right” to refuse service to gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals as one of the reasons this bill came to his desk. However, the idea that bakers could be “coerced” into baking cakes for gay weddings, photographers “required” to photograph them, and venue owners “forced” to provide space for them was frequently mentioned in discussions of this and similar bills. Governor Pence’s evident defensiveness during his press conference, and his repeated assertion that “this is not about discrimination” made it clear that an elephant was very much in the room.

Instead of defending the alleged “right” of religious individuals to discriminate against gay, lesbians, and transgendered individuals, Governor Pence invoked the right of employers to refuse to provide contraception to women as part of employee insurance plans, mentioning the Hobby Lobby and University of Notre Dame cases. If anyone has forgotten, in the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court decided that employers with a deeply held conviction that birth control is wrong do not have to offer it to their employees as required by federal law if “less restrictive” ways of providing it can be found.

Governor Pence apparently thought that openly defending the so-called “right” to discriminate against women is less controversial in his state than openly defending the so-called “right” to discriminate against lesbians, gays, and transgendered individuals. In fact, these two issues are linked in the minds of the people like Governor Pence. Continue reading “The Inalienable Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness vs. the Right to Religious Freedom by Carol P. Christ”

Spouse for Life & the Fight for Gay Marriage by Marie Cartier

Marie & Kim’s Legal Marriage California 2008

Today, I am exploring the following question set:

What is the shifting conception of religious liberty as religious groups carve out exemptions in complying with laws on LGBTQI rights, particularly as they relate to marriage? As gay marriage becomes “normative” how does it change the structure and study of religion? How did the anti-gay rights movement in California, regarding Proposition 8, funded largely through religious organizations such as the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic Knights of Columbus, have a direct impact on state decisions, and animate new conversations about the juncture of religion and politics?

Let’s start with this information:

Sociologist Brian Powell posed the question of why people were opposed to gay marriage. Do what people say match the legal arguments that justify the opposition to gay marriage? Since legal arguments are based on public policy, what public policy was shaping the legal arguments? The findings, published recently in Social Currents, show that the most common reason for gay marriage opposition was given as: “Because I don’t believe God intended them to be that way.” Running a close second was: “Well, they’re sinners.”

If public opinion drives public policy, then the motivation for banning same-sex marriage is moral disapproval. Or as stated in Powell’s findings—religious disapproval—and the belief that God is not “on the side” of the homosexuals; casting homosexuals as sinners in the faith choice of the person formulating the public policy critique. With these formulations, Powell suggested that public discourse —based on religious formulations such as “sinner” and what “God intended” are the primary agents erecting state laws that ban access to civil rights- such as marriage- for the LGBTQI population. Continue reading “Spouse for Life & the Fight for Gay Marriage by Marie Cartier”


carol p. christ 2002 colorLike many other readers of this blog, I have followed the progress of the Prop 8 and DOMA cases to the Supreme Court and waited with bated breath during the month of June to see how the cases would be decided. 

On June 26th I rejoiced in decisions that brought the United States several steps closer to affirming the full equality of all human beings.  I am happy that lesbian and gay couples can now get married in California, the state of my birth, the state where I still vote.  As one commentator remarked, “This story has a happy ending—it leads to marriage.”  I am also pleased that lesbian and gay couples will not be excluded from “marriage benefits” offered to heterosexual couples, simply on the basis of their sexual preference.

Still, the gay marriage victories raise other questions.  Much of the rhetoric surrounding the push for marriage equality assumed that “marriage” is or should be “the norm” for all people.  Those arguing for the right of gay people to marry often seemed to be saying: “We are just like everyone else.”

This assumption leaves out a whole lot of people—among them large numbers of single women.  Continue reading “THE TWO AND THE ONE: CAN WE EMBRACE AND CELEBRATE SINGLENESS AS MUCH AS MARRIAGE? by Carol P. Christ”

Out of the Bars and Into the Streets and ….by Marie Cartier

I remember the election season of 1984. At the 1984 Democratic National Convention on July 18 in San Francisco, California, Jesse Jackson delivered the Keynote address, entitled “The Rainbow Coalition.” The speech called for Arab Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, youth, disabled veterans, small farmers, lesbians and gays to join with African Americans and Jewish Americans for a political purpose. My lover at the time woke me up very early in the morning to tell me that Jesse Jackson had said the words “lesbians and gays” as part of his speech at the Democratic Convention. I started to cry and called my mother and she cried, too. We both cried. It was a moment I will never forget…because in that moment I as a lesbian existed on national television and in the imagination and spoken word of the country’s political system where I live and pay taxes—in a way I never had before—I was spoken out loud. Continue reading “Out of the Bars and Into the Streets and ….by Marie Cartier”

“I do, I do, I do believe in gay marriage” by Marie Cartier

I do believe in gay marriage. I mean fairies, I mean gay marriage. I’m a lesbian. I’m approaching my legal fourth year anniversary on October 29, 2012 with my wife. I’m voting for Obama for many reasons, and one of the strongest for me is that he is the only president who has “come out” in support of gay marriage.

An acquaintance recently said to me, “I don’t believe in gay marriage.” There is not a counter narrative to this in my vocabulary. I cannot say “I don’t believe in heterosexual marriage.” I can say I don’t support it—but even that is not true because my taxes do support a system which privileges partnering legally over not partnering. The metanarrative of religious discourse privileges belief statements. So when someone says “I don’t believe in gay marriage”—they are encasing my life in the world of theology where we cast our lot with belief or non-belief.  I’m Catholic—I believe in the Virgin Mary. I believe in the canon of saints. I don’t believe in Hell, however, or Purgatory. I’m not sure of my belief system regarding Heaven. As a New Age practitioner– among these practices are Wicca, yoga, martial arts, Western inspired meditation practice, psychic readings, etcetera– I feel empowered to question the belief systems of the Church, and even more so as a feminist. Continue reading ““I do, I do, I do believe in gay marriage” by Marie Cartier”

Breaking Up with Chick-fil-A by Gina Messina-Dysert

I haven’t eaten fast food in many years; however as a new mom Chick-fil-A offered something quite different than other fast food chains: healthy options, freshly made food, clean space, and a great spot for play dates; not to mention the organization’s commitment to the environment.  My daughter and I have made many trips to our local franchise in the last year.  It became a usual spot for play dates, the go to place for dinner when I was on a time crunch (grilled chicken nuggets, fresh fruit, and chocolate milk has saved the day many times over!), and let’s not forget the perfect option for Baby S to get some play time in while Mommy connected to the free Wifi to get some work done.  Yes, Chick-fil-A felt like a mommy’s dream come true.

I am embarrassed to say that I had heard rumors that Chick-fil-A was anti-same sex marriage; but I ignored all the warning signs trying to hold on to the many positives I thought the chicken chain brought to my life.  With the recent blow up of Dan Cathy’s response “guilty as charged,” when asked about Chick-fil-A’s support for families led by heterosexual couples, I can no longer turn a blind eye.     Continue reading “Breaking Up with Chick-fil-A by Gina Messina-Dysert”

“If You Allow Gay Marriage…” by John Erickson

“We need to start examining the underlying questions of counter-cultural relationships that view one man marrying many women to be hip because we begin to see that although a polygamist idea of marriage may be sexy from a popular culture standpoint, the thought of legally recognized gay marriage always then gets likened to bestiality.”

… you have to allow polygamy, bestiality, and everything else!” The title for my post this week is a quote from an individual I used to associate with.  This individual, haling from a conservative evangelical background, tried to explain to several others and myself the reasons why gay marriage would eventually lead to the repeal of anti-polygamy and bestiality laws across the United States.

The problems that I have with this particular argument are conflating gay marriage with religious freedom.  Activists and scholars can draw comparisons to anti-polygamy cases such as the 1878 U.S. Supreme Court case Reynolds v United States and the 1882 Edmunds Act and 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act that disfranchised and led to the imprisonment of Mormon polygamists. But in the end, gay marriage is not about religious freedom but rather human rights.

I often feel that there is this need both within and outside religious communities to promulgate the idea that LGBTQ individuals want to get married within the sanctified walls of “the church” just as much as heterosexual couples do.  Although I do not want to disqualify those who desire to see LGBTQ equality within their faith based communities, buying into a heternormative ideal of what traditional marriage should look like needs to result in LGBTQ individuals asking why marriage should be performed in sacred spaces in the first place The normative traditions that have often defined marriage have also served as shackles keeping LGBTQ couples in the mindset that to achieve fully marriage equality with their heterosexual counterparts is to fully immerse themselves within the same traditions and practices. Continue reading ““If You Allow Gay Marriage…” by John Erickson”

Sodomy and Gay Men’s Lives by John Erickson

How do we begin to deconstruct the word sodomy so that it no longer associates and elicits hateful propaganda regarding the sexual activity of consenting gay/queer adults?

Meaning if often produced, not through a one-to-one relation to things in the world, but by establishing the difference you or a particular group of people have in relation to the activity/object you are distancing yourself from. The word sodomy is inextricably linked to the Old Testament (Genesis 19:1-11) and has become a popular manifestation for conservative and fundamentalist social and religious critics to use whenever they are critiquing why gay men are different or deviant from normal, heterosexual adults.  Furthermore, sodomy has been and still is highly involved in constructing both positive and negative sexual ethics that often define and rule over the lives of those who participate not in sodomy but other forms of non-vaginal intercourse.

The word, action, and taboo of sodomy have blurred the real meaning of consensual non-vaginal sex between people of the same sex.  Defined as “anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex,” sodomy has become the sign that defines the lives of gay men and keeps them in the social and religious shackles that perpetuates the public opinion that sex between men is deviant, devious, and dangerous to society at large. Continue reading “Sodomy and Gay Men’s Lives by John Erickson”

Interlocking Pieces and the Maleness of Jesus: Exegeting the “America’s Pope’s” Statement on Gay Marriage and Ordination of Women By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

On a 20/20 interview, posted August 21, 2011, Morley Safer interviewed the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan.  Dolan is also referred to as “America’s Pope.”  In this article, Safer calls him a scholar and a “passionate defender” of issues that he considered to be “settled questions.”  These settled questions? Gay marriage and women’s ordination.

Gay Marriage: Incest, “Necessary Attributes,” and Interlocking Pieces

Dolan makes an unbelievable comparison of gay marriage to the desire to marry his mother:  “I love my mom, I don’t have the right to marry her.”  He further compared gay marriage to his desire to be a shortstop for the Yankees, which is not possible because he does not have “what it takes.”  Both analogies Dolan uses give a clear indication that he does not understand what a committed relationship looks like for a gay couple.  Many in society share this ignorance.  In fact during my daughter’s health class, at a public school no less, she was told that sex was only between a man and a woman because they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Not only does this fail on words, it lays the foundation for bullying, repression of identity, sexual confusion, and problems for children who are members of a modern family.  Besides, last time I checked not all puzzles have interlocking pieces.   Continue reading “Interlocking Pieces and the Maleness of Jesus: Exegeting the “America’s Pope’s” Statement on Gay Marriage and Ordination of Women By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

The “Marriage Crisis” in the U.S and Around the World By Caroline Kline

The Mormon Church, the tradition in which I was raised, is into protecting marriage. In the United States, that seems to often mean deeply discouraging out of wedlock births and politically lobbying against homosexual unions.

But, according to Stephanie Coontz, who wrote the book Marriage, A History, “the marriage crisis” is a phenomenon taking place all over the world. But fascinatingly, that crisis doesn’t take the same form.

While United States legislators are worried about out of wedlock births, in Germany and Japan, policy makers are far more interested in increasing the birthrate, regardless of whether or not the parents are married. The United Nations recently initiated an enormous campaign to raise the age of marriage for girls in Afghanistan, India, and Africa (where the health of these young women is greatly impaired by early motherhood), whereas in Singapore the government launched a campaign to convince people to marry and have babies at a younger age. Continue reading “The “Marriage Crisis” in the U.S and Around the World By Caroline Kline”

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