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.