Friday, June 26, 2015

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush on the Ecstasy and Despair We Feel on This Historic Day — and the Role of the Church

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush's powerful statement about the bittersweet emotions many of us feel on this day that is marked both by the historic Supreme Court ruling recognizing the rights of LGBT citizens, and the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney: 

In a world that continues to diminish and discriminate, the church, if it is to mean anything at all, must be a sanctuary for all people to be fully themselves and feel the dignity and pride in who God made them -- whatever race, gender, sexuality, culture, religion or size. 
On this day of celebration and mourning, let the church lead the calls for continued justice, compassion and love for all of humanity. Remembering American martyrs like Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the Beautiful Nine as well as those Americans who have died as the result of anti-queer violence, let us all work together towards that great day when we can wipe away all the tears of oppression and discrimination and join hands as one people, free at last.

As he says, the strength, the determination to keep on keeping on, of Mother Emanuel church in Charleston is beyond impressive, and is a beacon to the entire nation showing us how the light of love overcomes the darkness of hate. Churches whose leaders respond to today's human rights breakthrough for the LGBT community are, quite simply, failing to be church in the 21st century, and will be left behind by history — in a way that Mother Emanuel has not been left behind, due to its unwavering commitment to human rights for those on the margins of society.

As those churches should be left behind, since there is no gospel, no good news in any shape, form, or fashion, in how they have chosen to treat LGBT human beings for a very long time now . . . . And churches that cannot live the good news towards people in pain, people struggling for their rights and recognition of their human dignity, cannot preach the good news of the gospel.

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