Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dear Childrens' Ministry Worker: yet another Christian response to the SCOTUS marriage decisions

I'm sure  don't have to tell you that yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled that both the national Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 are unconstitutional. Of course, the internet instantly exploded with responses, both positive and negative, from the religious community. (I hope you've taken the time to read the positive ones as well as the negative ones).

I wanted to take a day to craft my response, in part because I didn't want to simply parrot what other liberal Christians are saying. I want to offer you my perspective as someone who works with both nursery age children and as a youth adviser in ministries in our church.

Those opposed to gay marriage rights often use  speak of their concern for children; their children, and the children in their faith communities. I believe they are 100% sincere in expressing concern for those children- and so am I. So far as  know, all three of my kids are straight. Of course, I did not always know that, and no parent does. Moreover, I know that not all the kids I serve are straight. IN part I know this because I've been told. IN part I know because with some kids it's, and I pray that the parents of those kids respond with love when their kids inevitably come out. In part I know this due to simple mathematics: Although statistics vary, it's accepted that at least 4% of the population identifies at LGBTQ. If you work, as I do, in children's ministry, that means that if you have a Sunday school class of 20 students, one of those kids is almost surely a sexual minority. Sunday school class, youth group, little babies you watch in the nursery....any group.
Now, look at your( perhaps hypothetical) class and ask yourself: "Which one of these dear children of God do I want to see denied the right to marry his or her dearly beloved? Which one of these children do  want to experience employment discrimination? Be denied the chance to adopt a child? Face discrimination when buying a house? Really, truly, which one of these dear children do I want to see rejected by their parents or bullied mercilessly, perhaps to the extent that they feel their only way to escape is to take their own life?"

I know... none of them. I want all the young people I've had the privilege to care for and work with to be treated with equal dignity. I want them to enjoy the same rights I do. That's not the only reason I support full rights for my LGBTQ sistren and brethren, but it's the unique perspective I'd like to offer to you today.