- by Rev. Gil Caldwell -
Friends as an "old man who 'dreams dreams'" (Joel), I have written something that I have asked my Truth in Progress colleague to post on our website, but as one who dares to "think out loud", I share the following for your reflection and sharing as you deem appropriate.
The excitement about the Supreme Court's deliberation regarding marriage equality, is in itself worth noting....Why do I as a 79 year retired African American United Methodist clergyman embody the excitement that many share today? Some reasons:
- The quest for marriage equality has enabled some persons who are right-of-center, politically and religiously to :"come out of their closets" in ways that offer new hope for our nation. It takes a right and wing for a plane as well as for a nation to "fly". At bottom, Equality is not a liberal, or a Democratic Party ideal only, it is human and thus must be claimed by all of us!
- The late Peter Gomes in his "The Good Book", described homophobic heterosexism as "The Last Prejudice". It of course is not, but the gay rights justice journey has enabled me to see some "Justice Light" at the end of the tunnel that I never saw during the Civil Rights Movement for racial equality and equal access. I have been encouraged by what this could mean.
- I, as a straight ally/advocate of gay rights in church and society have wished desparately that The United Methodist Church would cease contradicting all of the good we have done historically, by ridding itself or our anti-gay legislation and language. It has not, unfortunately. We as the United Methodist Church have been unable to come close to being in the front ranks of the gay rights equality movement. My hope is that the deliberations of the Supreme Court on marriage equality will give courage and backbone to United Methodists who have been afraid to follow Jesus and conscience in their responses to the quest for marriage equality. The Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court has on matters of race, women's rights and racial intermarriage enabled and given the Church the courage to "be the Church".
May the same be true as the Court, this term (or whenever), rules for marriage equality.
. . .The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister who lives in Asbury Park, N.J. He was active in the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and participated in the civil-rights movement throughout the nation. In 2000, he, with others, organized the RMN Extension ministry United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church (UMOC), an organization committed to the full inclusion of LGBT people in every aspect of church and society. His recent book, Something Within: Works by Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is available from Church Within A Church.