March 23, 2011

Fighting for Lost Souls

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 2:20 pm by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

In fighting hatred and bigotry we must hold our ground fiercely and take back the ground of the enemy.

You may know that Indiana is one of those places where they think that “defending marriage” means defining marriage as only legal between “a man and a woman.”   UUs have been vocal in opposition to the bill that would change our constitution in that direction.  Recently, our Community Minister, Julia Hemeyer (the UU Church of Muncie, IN) wrote a thoughtful piece “Why I Stand On the Side of Love.”   She used well considered words and reasonable arguments, as well as a strong appeal to compassion and Love.

There actually were many positive responses in the paper and online.  But there were also the inevitable “God said this is wrong” responses.

Now, I am a very reasonable person and I have always encouraged thoughtful dialogue, but something about the tone of those negative responses hit a chord in me.  I decided that if they were going to say that God was on their side that someone had to clearly state that not only reason and compassion, but God almighty, was on our side.

Here is what I had published in our local paper:

“This is a simple fact: The politically motivated, so-called “defense of marriage” amendment will do nothing to defend marriage. The fact is that it will establish discrimination and bigotry in our state constitution. This is a simple fact: To go against gay and lesbian marriages is un-Christian.  Just because we have hidden our oppression and ignorance for so long is not a reason to exclude the realities of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from healthy respect and the right to engage in responsible relationships. God and the Bible both condemn lustful sexuality and affirm the discipline of marriage.

Since gay and lesbian relationships are as natural, and can be as healthy, as heterosexual relationships, God and the Bible demand that they should be treated in the same way. All marriages should have the same protections, rights and responsibilities as any others.”

The response was quick.  They said I was a kind-hearted pastor who was leading people astray.  They did not argue with me or wonder why I said what I did.  They did not ask me for scripture to back up my arguments.  They just said I was wrong.  That confirmed for me that I needed to say that they were wrong about God and the Bible.  I will not convince my detractors, but as they perceived, I will lead people “who assume  a minister must know what he is talking about regarding the Bible” and I will cause others to wonder and think anew.

My favorite final email about this came from a member of my congregation: “How could I have known I was being led astray by you, a”well-meaning pastor” who “misleads… regarding the Bible”?   Keep up the good work.”

I am quite proud to be a UU and to show that the power of love and justice has many names, including “Bible” and  “God.”

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5 Comments »

  1. Bill Baar said,

    This seems a little over-the-top to me. Most people I know are against SSM although many would buy off on civil unions. I don’t consider them enemies. Reflect a bit on this.

    • Bill,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Yes. My article is meant to be just a bit over the top. I know the power of thoughtful dialogue and negotiation and the appeal to reason and compassion. None of these things work with the enemy. I also know there is no such thing as a permanent enemy.

      The enemy I speak of here are those who practice bigotry and close-minded resistance to change based on “Biblical Authority.” I am not talking about thoughtful people who oppose gay marriage and yet understand, do not deny, the lived experience of Christian and non-Christian gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and otherwise non-standard-heterosexual people.

  2. Robin Edgar said,

    “In fighting hatred and bigotry we must hold our ground fiercely and take back the ground of the enemy.”

    I have been standing my ground in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal fighting Unitarian*Universalist hatred and bigotry of various kinds for well over a decade now Rev. Perchlik, and I dare say that I have held my ground quite “fiercely” if a protracted peaceful public protest against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy can be described with such a word. I suppose that *some* of my picket sign slogans might be perceived as being “fierce” by some U*Us but they tend to be blunt and to the point.

    During the second observance of ‘National Standing On The Side Of Love Day’ I stood my ground against U*U hatred and bigotry in front of a Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture here in Montreal. Here is a U*UTube video of my ‘Standing On The Side Of Love Day’ protest against U*U hatred and bigotry.

    You and other U*Us may view that video here –

  3. Robin Edgar said,

    Will miracles never cease?

    I had not expected that U*UTube video to be embedded here, since I only provided the URL, but I will take it!

    Talk about standing my ground on your blog Thomas. . . 😉

  4. Lise Broer said,

    You write “They did not ask me for scripture to back up my arguments.” Please correct if this is mistaken, but Leviticus 18:22 seems to be a favorite of same-sex marriage opponents. My answer has been “Read Leviticus start to finish; if people followed that book literally they would be holding animal sacrifices.”

    Rev. Corbett-Hemeyer’s statement is well written, yet does not cite specific passages of the Bible. So would you elaborate on your suggestion?


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