Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The "Evolution" of the President: Coming Clean and Out of the Closet

By Earle Fisher
Rhetoric Race and Religion Contributor

The news surrounding our President's “endorsement” of same-sex marriage has, in a matter of minutes, gone viral. Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and numerous newspaper and magazine articles are already seizing the moment attempting to express views of support and backlash on behalf of countless communities all around the country. I’ve already read and seen responses that range from people being totally elated, to Meghan McCain’s tweet “...Even though he did it a little late under political pressure - very happy to hear the President come out in support of gay marriage...” to one of my colleagues Facebook status reflecting someone from his timeline who wrote, “...Obama is my dude, but I can’t support him on this...”

For the most part, I consider the dialogue a good thing. Yet, I know that many of the commentators will have their commentary centered in fear, hate, exclusion and blind privilege. And yet, of all of the commentary that will be provided (and I’m sure the amount will be incalculable) what I am most concerned with is what will most likely come from the black (read African-American) religious-right. One would think that the Black Church’s stance for equality would be unequivocal. Sadly, this has not been the case historically. Precedent suggests that some preachers, politicians, pundits and media manipulators have often subverted the prophetic voice of the Church. These personalities use “such a time as this” as a means to reinforce oppressive ideals. All this seems to be antithetical to a liberating gospel of spiritual message of hope. When this is blind sheepism and insensitive inspirational leadership is supported by policy and legislation it is thereby impossible for our country to be a place of “liberty and justice for ALL.”

In this pretentious political climate every issue becomes politicized. When people see the opportunity to “prey” on a particular public figure, like the POTUS (President of the United States) people will forfeit the moral and ethical elements of our religious and spiritual associations for the sake of political points.

The fundamental irony for me here is that the religious and spiritual institutions all self-proclaim to be entities that endorse and promote liberation of the oppressed. How then can the Presidents endorsement of a group that has been publically and consistently discriminated against be a bad thing? Possibly because it doesn’t fit the prescribed theological agenda of those who are too out of touch with human suffering to properly proclaim a relevant religion or substantive spirituality. What we too often are prescribed in today’s culture and climate is an emerging Darwinism veiled in the mask of righteousness and piety.

I applaud the President for effectively articulating his own “evolution.” I encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith that are going to look to this progressive moment in our history as a time to “play political football” and attempt to score points at the behest of other people’s humanity to seek revelation regarding the necessity of their own theological evolution. This petition is especially directed towards those people of faith that are also people of color who stand in a legacy and tradition of people who have been treated as “other”. Clearly some people have a god that is a little too exclusive, insensitive, bigoted and opportunistic for Jesus’ taste buds.


Herman "Dman" DuBose said...

The church was never instructed to be tolerate, but to love and strengthen their brother.

Gee Joyner said...

Being exclusionary & intolerant is neither loving nor strengthening our brethren.

Herman "Dman" DuBose said...

Helping someone understand what scripture says, is loving and it does strengthen them. One must be willing to obey what scripture says.

Laura said...

I read this article/blog hoping hear the "Jesus" response. For me, I am theologically curious as to how pastors, ministers, preachers, etc. will respond to a request to perform a same sex marriage in their churches. In the secular realm, marriage is a contractural arrangement designed to handle the rights of property and dependent children. As it pertains to the "recognition" of marriage, there is little of consequence--a couple says they are married, then they are. Unless I have some business with them, I will never ask for proof of the marriage. For me, a Christian Black heterosexual female, the same sex marriage is not a personal issue. However, I am not certain how I would respond to my pastor if he were to agree to perform a same sex marriage, as I consider that marriage, as spoken about in the Scriputes, is between a man and a woman. The blessing of marriage is procreation. Obviously, this cannot occur in same sex marriages. This is not say that same-sex marriages cannot provide for children, but in the marriage the couple cannot produce them. To be inclusive is one thing, but what does the Christian church teach about inclusiveness? For the record, I am grounded in my faith tradition. I know there are many other issues(of faith) that are of paramount importance--infant mortality rate, poor education, etc., but
...just curious.

Brian said...

Fish you bring the art of dialogue to bear with this one and many have dismissed it for affirmation.

Anonymous said...

every time the LGBT community asks for something the legislative branch and some states (which is perfectly constitutional) responds in the affirmative, (in many cases)...If you are Gay you have always had the freedom to live as you please (albeit in the past secretly and more recently openly), I believe their real desire is POWER and equality with heterosexual couples, but that power was crowned upon male-female marriages by God, therefore no amount of political maneuvering, posturing, or declarations by popes, kings or president's will affirm them in heavenly places, they desire to sit in the sides of the north, but God clarified to the devil that HE was not relinquishing his seat so the enemy is trying to wrest it from God vicariously by taking our power which is the power to matter how you spin it, two males cannot naturally create another human, neither can two females. Now that's POWER - CREATION! I'm sorry but the church cannot affirm what GOD has condemned.

tamE said...

The United States of America is NOT the church. It's a government and the moment the government imposes a religious belief on it's citizens, then it is no longer able to call itself a democracy.

Keima said...

Many people, within the church and outside of it, often assume that they know what God intends. The mere fact that we are human prohibits us from knowing everything about God's ways (and intentions). The best that any of us can do when it comes to trying to discern God's will is to do everything in love; and last time I checked religious ignorance and oppression have nothing to do with love. When people begin to accept the fact that The Great "I am" cannot be confined by scriptures and poor interpretation, we will then be able to see and live out the "greater works" that Jesus spoke of.

Anonymous said...

I agree Keima. Well written!

Anonymous said...

I find it very intersting how citizens of this country, say that God is not a part of the Government. Does this sound familiar, "One nation under God...", "Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth so help you "GOD"..." Hmm!!

R.L said...

According to the U S Census Bureau 39.1 percent of African American children live in poverty. I think that is more Jesus's concern.

Anonymous said...

what the world does can not be condemned by the church, it is already condemned. what the institutional church does is open for debate. what the real church does is relinguish our lives daily to God for Him to live through us. The church is to love no matter who our neighor is (rapist, murderer, child molester, liar, gosipper, thief, and those that commit sexual sins of all kinds). But the greatest comandment is to love God first. That means loving His standards not the standards of the culture and cultural changes. What else should we expext this is where the WORLD is heading and the INSTITUTIONAL Church will follow the world. Christ' Church will continue to follow Christ. And that will mean persecution such as being called ignorant or biased or hateful or exclutionary. As this issue progresses, and it will, it will most likely mean pastors and other christians being placed in jail for hate crimes for not preforming marriages. But we were told to count the cost to follow Jesus and His way of life. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me. I would say that is exclusionary. The only way around scripture is to attack it and say it is undiscernable or it no longer relavent or it doesnt apply or just remove it all together. I do not disagree that people have misinterpreted scripture, that is a given. Both extreme sides of any arguement will use and misuse scripture. Jesus did not come to provide social justice, if He did we could say His ministry has been a failure. Jeus did come to offer justification for the sinner. God is calling all to Himself through the spirit, unfortunately people have hardened their hearts to the things of God. God bless good forum.

cbwatkins said...

Is my total tolerance a requirement for my expression of Love?
Is God's lack of tolerance for sin and indictment against his professed love me?
Does that mean, "He is a man that HE would LIE?"
So is the fact that there is a hell (an eternal separation from God) created by God proof that His purported love for me is in fact a cruel fantasy of deception?

2 Timothy 4:3-4
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
3 A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. 4 People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.

Brother Fisher, unlike you, I am not a theologian. I do not posses the academic credentials that you bring to bear in such a topic as this, so am definitely out of my league.

But as Christian in love, I must disagree with you.
I disagree not only for what you have proposed as a biblical interpretation of acceptance for the Presidents statements, but also because of your station. You are not just anyone espousing an option! You are deemed to be a learned, esteemed man of the cloth, so what you say carries weight with the seasoned and NEW Believer.

This is not a question of Marriage, equality, children, families, men, women, right or wrong. This is a question of sin and whether or not we believe the word of God or simply use it as a form of convenience.

Proverbs 14:34
New International Version (NIV)
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

I know I do not need to quote the word to you. I have reviewed your credentials, you are astute in the word. I think it is more for me, trying to make sure I am not totally off the mark.

The bible says that homosexuality is a sin, and in love I stand for what I believe. We as Christians are to operate in obedience to the word of God; the commandments of Christ. That very obedience, submission to Christ's commandments proves that we Love Him; thus, "One cannot have a Submitted Opinion."

John 14:15
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. (Again, this is for me, just making sure.)

We as Christians are held accountable if we do not espouse and attempt to live the TRUTH (John 14:6 Jesus saith..I am the way, the TRUTH....). To share the TRUTH of Christ with our brothers and sisters in Love, is one of the ultimate displays of Christian LOVE!! If I do not tell you the TRUTH per the Word of God, I DO NOT LOVE YOU!!!
It would mean that I desire your company, companionship, relationship and acceptance more that your ETERNAL SALVATION!!

Ephesians 4:14-15
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

1 Peter 1:22 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
22 Love each other with a warm love that comes from the heart. After all, you have purified yourselves by obeying the TRUTH. As a result you have a sincere love for each other.

I apologize, just self checking again.

In the pass we, the Christian community, have not approached this in Love, We have been condescending, arrogant, hateful and just plain mean. We have been such pitiful ambassadors for the TRUTH that the TRUTH seems like a LIE.
But I trust that we will realize that Standing for the Inerrant Word God is the only option and that it must be done in love.

At worst, we may agree to disagree.

Charles B. Watkins, Sr.
Moderator of said...

In response to your statement, "I am not certain how I would respond to my pastor if he were to agree to perform a same sex marriage" How would respond if your pastor supported and encouraged a man in the choir in his extra-marital relationship with a woman who taught Sunday School? How would you respond if your pastor supported and encouraged one business partner to continue to take money from another partner?

This isn't a tolerance issue, this is a sin issue. Period.

Our response as Christ-followers should be one that is led by the good news of the Gospel. That we are a broken people who have been born with a nature to rebel against our Creator, our Father. But that through Christ we can be made new, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. And through understanding God isn't in love with the future me, but the me He created (Romans 5:8), we can find great freedom from the pressure of living our lives the "that seems right to us" that our culture tries to apply to our lives and our faith.