Prayers and Support for the resumption of same gender marriages in California
This article is by Gil Caldwell, a retired United Methodist minister and member of Soulforce’s Advisory Board. He was active in the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and participated in the civil-rights movement throughout the nation.
To: Persons, Religious Institutions and Organizations in California that are elated over the decision of Judge Walker vis-a-vis Proposition 8
As an African American retired Minister (United Methodist Church), I have been in occasional communication with persons and groups in California. This morning I read in the New York Times that “Gov. Arnold Scwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed motions on Friday calling for resumption of same-sex weddings in the state.” I was pleased to read that, and I believe that rather than being retired, if I were pastor of a Church I would lead my congregation in prayers this week-end, expressing hope for a positive response to the motions for resumption of same sex marriages filed by the California Governor and Attorney General.
When I was an active Pastor I attempted not to mis-use prayer in the worship of the congregations that I led. But I have remembered how President Obama ends his speeches with the words; “God Bless the United States of America”. We are blessed to live in a nation that has a Constitution that includes all persons rather than excluding some. As a Civil Rights Movement “foot soldier” I remember that Martin Luther King led a movement to make the creeds of equality of the nation become deeds that were actualized. Constitutional democracy is not enacted by votes of the majority that too often dis-enfranchise minorities. Rather, it comes alive as the Martin Luther King’s and the Judge Walker’s of our nation, dare to speak the Constitution declared truth of human equality, to power.
It would be most unfortunate if the the magnificent words of the ruling of Judge Walker that overturned Propositiion 8 did not result in the resumption of same sex weddings. I paraphrase the words; “What happens to a dream deferred? It is like a raisin in the sun….it explodes”. Judge Walker has made the dream of Constitutional Marriage Equality come alive through his ruling. A failure to re-open the door to same sex marriages in California would represent a victory for the supporters of Proposition 8.
As a black southerner I saw first hand how rulings that desegregated Public Accomodations and the Suprme Court decision that invalidated separate but equal public schools were responded to with “massive resistance” that made those decisions for a period, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
My hope is that this will not happen in California. My prayer is that persons of many faith traditions, this week-end and beyond will in their respective ways, offer thanks for the ruling of Judge Walker and pray that same sex weddings will again take place in California, immediately.
God has blessed the USA. But it is time for us to stand up and be counted so that a blessed nation will not be corrupted by the fear mongering and pollitcal manipulations of some of its citizens. Those persons do not embrace a nation of equality, they may be afraid of it, or they have fallen prey to a small group of “leaders” who claim a love of nation, but whose actions suggest something else. May they too, be in our prayers.
Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Asbury Park, New Jersey