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John Pavlovitz: THE TRUE STORY OF TODAY IN AMERICA

Originally published on johnpavlovitz.com

We all have stories we like to tell ourselves; narratives we create to frame the world around us.

Those stories often help cushion the blows and soften the impact when things around us are too frightening, too disorienting, too difficult for our minds to deal with.

These stories are often largely well-crafted fiction, born out of fear and desperation, and the sense of something slipping quickly through fingers: control.

Many scared Christians were telling stories today.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Marriage Equality, the spin began simultaneously. As explosive, jubilant waves of long-delayed celebration broke out across the country and the world, the storytellers went to work hastily drafting sensational, concise headlines that might reconcile the unthinkable in front of them:

The Devil is celebrating the death of Marriage.

Christianity is fully under attack.

Gay people have tainted our Christian Nation.

God is preparing His wrath for America.

These stories are a frantic, last gasp, Hail-Mary attempt at avoiding the inevitable—but they are not the real story.

Today wasn’t about gay and lesbian people defeating Christianity. Many of them have a vibrant, deep spiritual life (or not unlike most straight Christians, at least a nominal one). The gay community is a spiritually diverse cross-section of society. There is no party line consensus on faith. Today in no way prevents Christians or churches from living, preaching, and practicing their religious convictions with regard to Marriage.

It wasn’t about gay people defeating Marriage either. Gays and lesbians were fighting to be allowed access to that monogamy, commitment, and devotion in equal measure to everyone else. They weren’t seeking to desecrate Marriage but to participate fully in it; to take their rightful place as members of our shared civic community.

In fact, the story of today was not of defeat at all. It was simply that of Equality winning.

This was about America; the very best of her, asserting herself after being sequestered and silenced for far too long in the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Today was about that gorgeous, fundamental, brilliant “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” aspiration taking the reins and riding tall and proud again.

Today was about the dignity and humanity of all people, getting a louder voice than a small Christian minority used to getting their own way and having all the power and running the whole show. It was a historically favored religious entity being told clearly that their faith convictions and our American ideals are not interchangeable.

Today our government reminded all of its people that you can’t legislate morality, but you must legislate equality; that no one’s theology (not even a passionate, deeply devout Christian’s) gets to trump the inherent value of all people who call our land home. This should be welcome news for all of us, regardless of our faith and tradition.

This was America being the very best of herself.

As a follower of Jesus, I felt a profound sadness today watching so many of my Christian brothers and sisters, who when witnessing the flood of tears and the stunned joy from gays and lesbians and those who love and support them, could only manufacture more vitriol, more loaded rhetoric, more sky-is-falling gnashing of teeth, more spiteful insults, more seething damnation.

It was a terrible testimony.

They were too invested in their self-preserving, fear-filled story to see what was actually happening today. By choosing a death narrative of only their Christianity’s loss, they had rendered themselves unable to see what so many of us could see:

This was a really good day for Humanity.

All of us who live in the United States, regardless of our religious beliefs, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinction we can name, need to know that we all matter equally in the eyes of the Law, because we will all find ourselves in a time or place when we will be the minority; when we will be the marginalized or invisible or abused—and we will want America to come through for us.

Today, She finally came through for gay and lesbian people, who now can have full access to loving lifetime relationships, called legitimate in the eyes of its government and protected as such.

That is the story today.

It is not of Christianity’s defeat or of Marriage’s destruction or of America’s moral decay, but of Equality’s glorious revival in a country built upon the intrinsic value of all people.

Whether we claim faith or not, may this be the story we write together from here.


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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24 comments

  1. This man, John Pavlovitz, is gifted. And an unlikely Christian. How is it that the average Christian, right here as they are in Nigeria, cannot see this simple truth? That this isn’t about any threat to the Christian faith. That the ruling has ZERO to do with the Bible and everything to do with the laws of the USA. That the constitution is NOT rooted in the Bible. How is it that they can’t accept that this is about the right to equality that all men and women should have?

    • But it’s part of evangelism, Dubem. Thou shalt condemn gay rights to everything, because to do so would be to secure thyself a place in heaven.

  2. & Nigerians are here tying themselves in a knot over SCOTUS doing their job; protection of minorities & human rights. Instead of them to pray against their corrupt leaders & lack of basic amenities.

  3. Oh look, a very progressive writeup. Smh.

  4. Hmmmm. . . A thought provoking piece. . . It is not about defeating religion but legislating equaility. . .

  5. Everyone wants to speak out,wants to stand for what they believe,wants to be heard… Fact is,What’s wrong is wrong. The gays n lesbians fail to understand that most times,they themselves are not being judged,its their action that’s being judged..there’s a difference. Many “Christians” also commit different condemnable acts… Again,a real Christian should condemn the act and not the person. Only God will judge his creatures…But! We have been given d duty of helping our brothers n sisters stay on the right track,..of being our brother’s keeper. Its not about Christianity,or even Islam,Judaism(becos people of other religion also condemn sin).. Its about offending God..your creator!

    • Whenever anyone says ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’ with respect to homosexuality, I want to ask: ‘What exactly is the sin?’
      Because, let’s face facts: being gay is who a gay person is. His or her lack of attraction to the opposite sex is innately who he or she is. It isn’t a habit that was cultivated. It isn’t a lifestyle that was inculcated. I mean, who wants to be so reviled in today’s society? Who wants to be this person that exhibits a trait that can only endanger his life in today’s society? Who? Wouldn’t such a man or woman rather switch to being the universally-recognized and accepted heterosexuality? If a gay man could choose, do you honestly think he’d want to be gay?
      Think about that.
      So if you say ‘hate the sin’, what sin then are you asking to hate? The fact that gay men sleep around outside the bounds of matrimony and monogamy? Well, isn’t that what gay marriage is about? If such fornication is the sin, then wouldn’t it be better to let gay marriage be? Where gay men and women can be in loving and committed relationships. Surely that can’t be sinful, can it?
      But no, the average antigay individual still thinks that is sin. So when you say ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’, I find that such a duplicitous sentiment. Because, however you look at it, you are inherently hating both sin and sinner.

      • The act is wrong because God made man for woman,and woman for man. Ofcourse, the same as fornication is wrong,stealing is wrong,lying,etc. The thing with these things are,we do them once,we enjoy it or gain a whole lot from it,and we don’t want to let go. If you say “however you look at it,u hate both sin and sinner”..then u are saying God hates us.

        • shakespeareanwalter

          ‘The thing with these things are,we do them once,we enjoy it or gain a whole lot from it,and we don’t want to let go.’

          Seriously? Even when doing said things constitutes a danger to the doer’s life? That’s how you are countering the assertion that the LGBT are born gay?

          • They are not born gay. Nobody is born gay. And yes ofcourse even when it constitutes a danger to the doer’s life. What abou when we carry guns to go steal(one can die in a shoot out),when we have different sex partners(one can get a deadly disease or something),etc…we all do dangerous things…well.. maybe except the prim n’ proper.

        • NG, you have a smartphone (I presume). You need to do some readings before you portray yourself as opposite of what your phone is.and that’s me being nice

  6. Hahaha! Anyone can write-up anything,Mr not so nice guy…both the smart uns like you,and the “opposite of what my smartphone is” like me. And anyone can read them too. But! As we know in the medical field,its not really about theory…the new ish now is “evidence-based”,which involves critical clinical REASONING.

    • What you need is to spend some open-minded moments with LGBT individuals. Interact with the. And maybe then, you wouldn’t be so blithe or dismissive of the belief that they are in fact who they are. Saying no one is born gay and equating with the need to be robbers… *shaking my head*

      • shakespeareanwalter

        I’ve seen worse, Dubem. I’ve seen comparisons to rape and all sorts of heinous crimes. It’s sad how ordinary human beings whose only intentions are to love who they are wired to love are likened to such violent criminal minds.

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