One of the problems I think we have as a country is that we tend to lump all people into categories. I mean, all gay men aren’t sex pigs; all Black men aren’t deadbeat dads, all Mexicans aren’t illegal, and all religions aren’t the same. And that’s what we have here: a tale of two faiths.
It seems that, last week, the General Assembly of the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination voted against a proposal that would have paved the way toward the church allowing same-sex weddings in their midst.
The proposal would have changed the church's Book of Order to define marriage as between "two people" but after the vote—and the narrow victory—it will keep the definition of marriage as between "a man and a woman."
"God, we are a divided church," said the Reverend Neal Presa, a New Jersey pastor and the General Assembly moderator, said while guiding church members in prayer after the vote.
And, in light of thatvote by the General Assembly—which is made up of pastors and lay people—pro-same sex marriage activists must wait another two years until the church's next national meeting to make marriage-related proposals.
On the other hand,
On the other hand, the United Methodist Church in the Northwest has set itself at with its parent denomination by endorsing Referendum 74 and asking voters to make Washington the nation’s seventh state to enact same-sex marriage.
The issue of marriage equality has divided much of Washington's faith community. While Episcopalians, Methodists and the ecumenical Faith Action Network have come out for same-sex marriage, the state’s Catholic bishops and many fundamentalist churches opposed it. Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, apparently unaware of that whole Separation of Church and State thingy, even asked his parishes to serve as collection centers for signatures on the referendum petition. Still, many Seattle and Tacoma parishes refused the Archbishop’s request and even sent contingents from Catholics for Marriage Equality and Mormons for Marriage Equality to march in the Seattle Pride Day parade.
And while the United Methodist Church in the Northwest has come down on the side of equality, all is not the same among all Methodists. The parent church, at its convention, rejected a change in church doctrine, which asserts that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Gays and lesbians are officially not allowed to serve as clergy, and the celebration of holy unions is prohibited by church law.
But the Reverend Sandy Brown, at Seattle First United Methodist Church, will not be silent: “Our church will not be deterred by our denomination’s heartless stand on homosexuality. We are out and proud to stand with our LGBT families, friends and neighbors.”
So, while all gays are not alike, or all Black men, Mexicans, women, and people of faith, the simple fact remains that in this country all men are supposed to be created equal. And some churches, some people of faith, as well aware of that, and are doing something about it.