According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Saturday, June 27, 2015

America Lights Up in a Rainbow of Colors After Gay Marriage Ruling


People hold balloon letters reading "Love wins" in front of the White House lightened in the rainbow colors
in Washington on June 26, 2015. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide
right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking
scenes of jubilation.(Photo: MLADEN ANTONOV, AFP/Getty Images)



Here is a powerful statement both to ourselves in America as well as to the world. I
am in hopes the oppression, the sufferings, the vilification of the LGBT community
might  be reduced by this concerted action between the Supreme Court of the United
States and the Presidential branch. - R.E. Slater, 6.26.2015



The White House is blanketed in rainbow colors symbolizing LGBT pride in Washington on June 26, 2015.
The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of
the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. 
(Photo: MOLLY RILEY, AFP/Getty Images)





White House turns to rainbow
after gay marriage ruling



http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2015/06/26/white-house-rainbow-gay-marriage/29374471/


The White House was lit up in rainbow colors Friday night to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage.

In a statement, the president's office said the White House took on the symbolic colors of gay pride "to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to progress and equality, here in America and around the world."

Shortly after 7 p.m.. the north front of the White House was lit up in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet as about a hundred people — both gay pride activists and tourists — looked on.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that states cannot prohibit marriages between two people of the same sex.

President Obama hailed the ruling earlier in the day, calling it "a big step in our march toward equality."


* * * * * * * * * *


Doing the right thing may take some time but eventually a country founded on
"civil liberties for all" gets it right. For churches feeling the pressure to conform
or not this will also be a matter of civil rights... "a civil right which they are afforded
the right to." For some churches they have the right not to conform. For others, they
have the right to be released unto deeper ministries submitted in love and equality
to a segment of society having lived in the abject squalor of abandonment and
derision for many years.

Whether being gay is a sin or not is something we each will need to work out. For
some it may be sin while for others, if based in relational love, it is not. Our
Christian  standards do not give us a right to judge one another. But they do
give us the right to love one another equally and with wisdom. And should we
judge,  may it be rightly, and not by the old man seeking self-rightness over
God's righteous, perfecting, love.  - R.E. Slater, 6.26.2015


* * * * * * * * * *



Same-sex marriage supporters rejoice outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday after
the U.S Supreme Court handed down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage. The high court ruled that
same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. | Alex Wong/Getty Images


Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal
In All 50 States

by Bill Chappell
June 26, 2015

States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

"They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law," Kennedy wrote of same-sex couples in the case. "The Constitution grants them that right."

Comparing the ruling to other landmark decisions, NPR's Nina Totenberg says, "This is probably right up there with Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade — if you like it or hate it — and today, Obergefell v. Hodges. This was a historic moment."

The opinion includes more than 100 pages; we've embedded it near the bottom of this post.

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: 'Our Love Is Equal,' Obergefell Says

Friday's ruling "affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in their hearts: our love is equal," says lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who challenged Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage.

Obergefell continued, "the four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court — 'equal justice under law' — apply to us, too."

He filed suit because he wasn't allowed to put his name on his late husband John Arthur's death certificate after Arthur died from ALS. Holding a photograph of Arthur as he spoke Friday, Obergefell said, "No American should have to suffer that indignity."

Obergefell has been traveling from Cincinnati to Washington every week, to be sure he would be in the court when a decision was announced in his case.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: 'Like A Thunderbolt,' Obama Says

Speaking at the White House, President Obama praised the Supreme Court's ruling, saying it arrived "like a thunderbolt" after a series of back-and-forth battles over same-sex marriage.

Obama says the ruling "will strengthen all of our communities" by offering dignity and equal status to all same-sex couples and their families.

The president calls the ruling "a victory for America."

Update at 10:37 a.m. ET: More On The Ruling, And Obama's Reaction

"The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society," Kennedy wrote. His opinion sketches a history of how ideas of marriage have evolved along with the changing roles and legal status of women.

Comparing that evolution to society's views of gays and lesbians, Kennedy noted that for years, "a truthful declaration by same-sex couples of what was in their hearts had to remain unspoken."

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times," Kennedy wrote after recounting the legal struggles faced by same-sex partners.


The Supreme Court said that the right to marry is fundamental — and Kennedy wrote that under the 14th Amendment's protections, "couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty."

In his dissent, Roberts wrote that the court had taken an "extraordinary step" in deciding not to allow states to decide the issue for themselves, saying that the Constitution does not define marriage.

Calling the ruling "deeply disheartening," Roberts said that those on the winning side of the issue should celebrate a victory — "But do not celebrate the Constitution," he wrote. "It had nothing to do with it."

Justice Scalia said the Supreme Court's "highly unrepresentative panel of nine" had violated "a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation."

We've covered those dissents in a separate post.

Welcoming the news on Twitter, President Obama wrote, "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins."

Our original post continues:

The justices ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, which is linked to three other same-sex marriage cases that rose up through the court system. Together, they involve a dozen couples who challenged same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee — the only states with bans on marriage between gay and lesbian couples that had been sustained by a federal appeals court.

Friday's ruling overturned that decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. As the Supreme Court's summary states, "The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change."

The justices had been asked to decide whether the 14th Amendment requires states to a) license same-sex marriages and b) recognize such unions that were made in other states.

The 14th Amendment, we'll remind you, was ratified shortly after the Civil War. It has to do with U.S. citizenship — and with providing equal protection for all citizens.

Before Friday's ruling, gay marriage had already been made legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia — by either legislative or voter action or by federal courts that overturned state' bans.

As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported when the Supreme Court heard the current case back in April, conservative justices had pointed questions for the attorneys:

"Justice Scalia asked whether ministers would be able to refuse to marry two gay men. The answer was that it has to be worked out under state laws. He said, but that could happen — it could happen that a minister would be forced to marry two gay men, in violation of his beliefs.

"Justice Alito asked, well then why not marry four gay men together? Why just two?"

The ruling announced Friday adds new definition to an issue that has remained controversial even as an increasing number of Americans say they support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans — an all-time high — support extending the same rights and privileges to same-sex marriages as traditional ones.

That figure included "37 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 76 percent of Democrats," as we reported last month. And it included all age groups except for one: those 65 and over.

The court noted the change in thinking, stating:

"Well into the 20th century, many States condemned same-sex intimacy as immoral, and homosexuality was treated as an illness. Later in the century, cultural and political developments allowed same-sex couples to lead more open and public lives. Extensive public and private dialogue followed, along with shifts in public attitudes. Questions about the legal treatment of gays and lesbians soon reached the courts, where they could be discussed in the formal discourse of the law."

For supporters of same-sex marriage, Friday's ruling comes as a long-awaited bookend to the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and required the U.S. government to provide the same benefits to both gay and heterosexual couples.




* * * * * * * * * *




This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind
http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-pace-of-social-change/

By Alex Tribou and Keith Collins
Updated: June 26, 2015

Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court has now extended that right nationwide. The decision came after a wave of gay marriage legalization: 28 states from 2013 to 2015, with 36 overall prior to the Court's ruling. Such widespread acceptance in a short amount of time isn't a phenomenon unique to gay marriage. Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law.

We looked at six big issues—interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana — to show how this has happened in the past, and may again in the very near future.

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