As a Christian and a U.S. citizen, I stand
against the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina and in support of our
President in his support of so-called "marriage equality."
Different faiths view marriage differently,
but marriage is first and foremost a covenant of faith and has been for
millennia. Marriage is not for the state to define. The state's job is to define
what legal arrangements people can enter into and give equal access to them. As
a citizen, I find Amendment One to be legislative over-reaching. As a Christian,
I find it presumptuous and offensive.
For Christians, marriage is about a joining
together in Christ, a sign of Christ's love to a broken world. Jesus spoke
regularly about the quality of love to which we were called and not at all about
the gender of the people involved. As a Christian, I believe particularly in an
age where commitments are too often treated as suggestions, two people who are
willing to stand before God and in the midst of their community and pledge to
love one another as Christ has loved us until they are parted by death should be
embraced, celebrated, and supported ... not rebuffed.
The Very Rev. Michael D. Kinman
Dean, Christ Church Cathedral
sent the preceding letter to the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the
St. Louis American - whether it will ever see the light of day beyond this
blogpost is any one's guess. but I wanted to share it with you all and let you in
on my process of deciding to write it.
prayerfully wrestling with what the role of Christ Church Cathedral should be in
political and social action. I am continually wrestling with a related but
separate question ... the role of the Dean. And so, as I watched the statements
of support of marriage equality pour in following the passage of Amendment
One in North Carolina
Obama's statement today
, I wrestled with whether I should add my voice
to the throng.
hesitant for several reasons:
should go without saying that particularly in an age where commitments are
treated as suggestions, two people who are willing to stand before God and in
the midst of their community and pledge to love one another as Christ has loved
us until they are parted by death should be embraced and celebrated, not
is not my experience that letters to the editor foster prayerful, learned,
concerned dialogue ... something that is in short supply. Instead, it would
likely elicit congratulations from people agree with me and vitriol from those
who disagree with me.
I overcame that hesitation, but I want to share with you why.
about reconciling all people to God
and each other in Christ. I said before that I would only be making statements
"as the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral"
if I believe there is a Gospel imperative at
. It is clear to me that there is. Marriage is about a joining
together in Christ. It is "a sign of Christ's love to this sinful and broken
world." We need to be clear both the invitation and the support for incarnating
that love is available to all.
... we do need to defend our turf. As I said in the letter, marriage equality as
a legal issue is a case of the state sticking its nose where it doesn't belong.
We have enough work to do on marriage ourselves without the government muddying
go without saying ... but of course nothing goes without saying. And
particularly because many who are promoting things like Amendment One are using
the name of Jesus and the language of our faith in their arguments, it is up to
those of us who believe differently to say so clearly.
these things address my third hesitation, so let me just say I truly want to be
in prayerful, learned, respectful dialogue with people who feel differently. So
if you feel differently out of fear, I want to help assure you that God's love
is deep and broad and not scarce at all and you need not fear at all. If you
feel differently out of honest faith, I want to listen together for God's wisdom
that is beyond our own ... and maybe together find a way to be reconciled to one
another in Christ and move forward together.
I have been blessed to have
been mentored by two deeply faithful people -- Philip Turner
and Ken Semon
-- who believe differently from me in this area, and that is proof enough to me
that people of deep faith who love Jesus can disagree and not have it be about
hate or homophobia.
And as we
prayerfully wrestle with our role as a Cathedral, it is my hope that Christ
Church Cathedral can be a place where everyone knows they are welcome at the
table and in the conversation. Where the rule of the community is prayerful,
learned, respectful dialogue that seeks to dive into the mystery of God's wisdom
and not just amplify our own. Where even if we decide we need to take a stand
and proclaim what we believe to be Gospel truth ... that we take that stand with
all humility, realizing that we follow one who found power not on a throne but
on the cross.