Gay Marriage and Leadership in the Church | Teen Ink

Gay Marriage and Leadership in the Church

December 10, 2018
By bennettm314 SILVER, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
bennettm314 SILVER, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I remember it like it was yesterday: we sat at the kitchen counter, my palms sweating and my heart beating out of my chest as the question hung in the air: “What’s going on between you and Katy?” The silence between that question and my confession was the most haunting memory of the conversation. The anxiety bubbling up in my stomach that pushed out a blur of words made it impossible to think out my response, causing it to be unorganized and awkwardly worded. The words poured out of my mouth quickly, almost indistinctive, as the tears rolled down my face. The jumbled words stopped abruptly, and I sat there on the wooden stool, covering my face with my hands, fearful of the response. You looked at me with teary eyes and surrounded me with love and compassion as the tears gathered into a stream that rolled down my face and dripped onto the counter surface. You spoke to me calmly and gently, and gave me reassurance that everything was okay. Although your presence was comforting, the response was not what I was hoping for. The main point that I heard coming out of that conversation was “I don’t agree with you, but I still love you.”  
The response caused me to rethink the situation and I have realized that you don’t understand that my bisexuality is not a choice. It is misunderstood by many people that one’s sexuality isn’t a lifestyle that we choose, it is a part of who he or she is as a person. I feel as though you are in a mindset that many other United Methodists share with you, and that is viewing acts of homosexuality as a sin. Because of your view, and many other Christians’ similar views in the LGBTQ+ community, it has personally made me feel uncomfortable to worship at the church with people I’ve worshipped with for years. Imagine how intimidating it could be for other homosexuals to worship at church for the first time. Performing same-sex marriages and allowing people from the LGBTQ+ community to become clergy members in the church will show that Christians accept the LGBTQ+ community, it will grow the church universal, and it will allow the LGBTQ+ community to have a safe environment.   
Many Christians’ mindsets in the United Methodists is that they view homosexuality as a sin, which has created an uncomfortable environment in the church for those who are homosexual. Even though they aren’t accepted in the church, many people around the world have started to accept the LGBTQ+ community. On June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states of the United States of America. Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks on behalf of same-sex couples in saying, “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law, the Constitution grants them that right.” (npr) In 2017, many other countries, such as Germany and Australia, have also legalized same-sex marriage. The LGBTQ+ community rejoiced! These legalizations have sparked celebrations internationally, and the LGBTQ+ community has been feeling accepted by many people across the world, but they still do not feel a view of equality coming from the United Methodist church. The Methodist church has been discriminating against and bullying homosexuals and other people with “wrong identities” in the church because they do not view them as equal. To compare yourself to another person as equal will give the other person, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, a sense of acceptance; therefore, having same-sex marriage in the church, along with LGBTQ+ leadership, will allow the LGBTQ+ community to feel accepted into the church.  
The LGBTQ+ community asks for “equal identity in the eyes of the law,” something that everyone deserves, but the legalizations of this in the United States have not changed the laws of the United Methodist Book of Discipline. The United Methodist church’s 2016 Book of Discipline recognizes the “sacred worth” of all persons but also states that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and bans financial support of LGBTQ+ based groups (Human Rights Campaign). This barrier between members of the congregation is what is keeping the United Methodist church from growing in LGBTQ+ members because they feel inferior to those who are heterosexual. There is no sense of equality! If the congregation isn’t treating the LGBTQ+ community as equal, not many people part of that community will come to church because of the judgment they are given. Allowing members of the LGBTQ+ community to become clergy members and performing same-sex marriages will show the acceptance the church has, and therefore grow the congregation into a better, more diverse church.  
Some of the heterosexual people of this country that feel as though they are superior to homosexuals have created an unsafe environment for the LGBTQ+ community.  In a national survey of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teens aged 13 to 17, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign and researchers at the University of Connecticut, 77 percent who reported recent feelings of depression said they had received psychological or emotional counseling in the past year (usnews). Many members of the LGBTQ+ community fear for their safety because of their sexuality, and many are abused for it. As United Methodists, we want the church to be an open, inviting place for everyone, but if the LGBTQ+ community feels unaccepted and unsafe, the congregation is being somewhat hypocritical. Every person deserves a safe place for them to be themselves, and if the church allows same-sex marriages and LGBTQ+ to become clergy members, the church could provide a safe and secure place for the LGBTQ+ community, showing the love of God to everyone.   
As a bisexual that understands the vulnerability of having no safe place, I have been exposed to the negative atmosphere that is centered around the idea in which some claim that it is incorrect to have sexual relations with the same sex. These individuals get the idea from scripture: “26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” - Romans 1:26-27. Although these scriptures are in the Bible, so is this one, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”-Galatians 3:28. God wants us to treat one another with equality, and not allowing same-sex marriages to happen or have LGBTQ+ become clergy members is discriminating against that community. Our sexualities are not something we choose. No one can help who we are individually.   
  “I don’t agree with you, but I still love you.” This sentence you have said to me repeatedly to reassure that I understand your perspective, but the reason I think you don’t agree with me is that you don’t understand my perspective. I think you shouldn’t be judged for an attraction of the same sex; you can’t help who you are attracted to. To judge someone because of something they can’t change is not right. To get rid of the barrier between the communities, I believe that LGBTQ+ members should be allowed to become clergy members, and same-sex marriages should be performed because it will show that Christians accept the LGBTQ+ community, it will grow the United Methodist Church universal, and allow the LGBTQ+ community to be themselves. Personally, it would make me feel more comfortable and accepted at my church, and that the congregation understands the sexuality of others as not being a sin. The other week in your sermon, you seemed to have wanted to get this message across: “Leave things better than you found it.” Will you be the voice in the church to leave it better than you found it? 

The author's comments:

This was an argumentative essay due for my English class. It was something i worked on for days upon days, hours upon hours, and i have finalized it to where i am very proud of it. I hope that my story and my evidence will persuade others to see and act on my views to make this world a better place.

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This article has 1 comment.

RaineyDay GOLD said...
on Oct. 23 2021 at 11:54 pm
RaineyDay GOLD, Colorado Springs, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
¨The space in between your comfort zone and your dreams is where life takes place.¨
-Helen Keller

Excellent. Phenomenal. Simply incredible. This article is beautifully written and explains the religion´s issues very well.