Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

July 12, 2004

I have several questions

If you are having coffee early in the morning with a bunch of old guys at Red's Cafe in Montrose, the idea that a marriage ceremony could be performed by a justice of the peace for two men or two women might seem kind of ludicrous.

Like one of those old mock weddings we used to put on, where the ring bearer was a pig, and the bride carried a rolling pin up the aisle, and the bridesmaid was a man dressed up like a woman.

On the other hand, maybe it isn't crazy at all that two men could love each other enough to take care of each other and live together, or that two women could.

I, myself, see no harm whatsoever in gay marriage. Do you really think the world will end if two people live together and commit themselves to each other with a contract? Is love a bad thing, all of a sudden?

On the front page of my hometown paper, the Herald Journal, the headline for the issue of June 14, 2004 was "Sixteen churches gather 1,000 names on marriage petition."

What on earth could those churches in Wright County be thinking of?

There is a war in Iraq with 150,000 U.S. troops in danger there. Genocide and starvation are happening over and over again on the African continent. There is horrendous poverty in Central and South America.

The gap between the greedy and the needy is ever widening. Members of Christian congregations seem oblivious to the ironies of materialism in their own lives, and their indifference to the steady destruction of the environment is more frightening than anything.

I could go on and on. Despite what the Republicans are telling us, this is a Christian country in name only, somewhat in the same way that members of the Mafia are nominal Catholics.

The energy and time those men put into dragging this red herring across the path of their hapless parishioners says something very disheartening about them. These men are supposed to be filling the shoes of some pretty heroic pioneer preachers who more often than not, didn't go along with political correctness. They weren't known for telling people what they wanted to hear. Right, now in Christian circles, gay bashing is politically correct.

I have several questions I would like to ask these preachers as their smiling faces are plastered all over the front page of my hometown paper. I would like to ask them:

Can you prove that gay marriage is a danger to the family? Do you have any scientific studies on which to base this conclusion? Such as the study that shows that young people who live together before marriage have a much higher divorce rate than those who don't? Do you have the courage to preach against young people living together? I mean heterosexual young people.

Do you personally know any gay people? If so, do you dislike them? If you dislike them, for what reason do you dislike them? Do you think that your intrusion into what is clearly a legal matter for public authority to settle should endanger your tax-exempt status?

Do you believe in separation of church and state? If I grant that you and your denomination have every right to make up your own rules, would you grant that the state has a right to make up its own rules regarding the common good and what it sees as fairness?

Have you ever known a gay couple that has adopted children? Or a lesbian couple that may have conceived a child by artificial means? If so, what did you think about it? Was the child or were the children in any danger? Do you think a gay person, man or woman, should have to live alone? Do you think it's possible for a gay person to lead a chaste life? Or a gay couple for that matter? What business is it of yours anyway?

Do you question the sexual behavior of your fellow ministers? Do you know what their sexual behavior is in the first place? Do you get your biblical notion on homosexuality from the book of Leviticus? If so, are you going to have me killed if I eat pork?

Do you think that a person can choose his or her sexual orientation? Really? How do you know? Do you think gay people are entitled to the same civil rights as heterosexual people? If not, why not? If gay marriage is a threat to the family institution, what do you think of divorce when 50 percent of American families suffer divorce? Have you ever preached against divorce? Isn't divorce a bigger threat to the family than gay marriage?

Do you think there may be people in your congregations who have children they love, or brothers or sisters they love, or perhaps parents they love, who are gay? Before you started your silly campaign against gay people, did you check with any gay people? Why not?

Before Communion, do you say, "Lord, I am not worthy" or "Lord, they are not worthy?"

If, some day, you wake up and find that nobody is listening to you on anything, will it occur to you then that it may be because the rest of the world has learned what Christ really was talking about in the Gospels?

And it wasn't about gay marriage.

For previous issues of the Waverly Star, see the web site at www.herald-journal.com/waverlystar.

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