Crying Over the Yes Vote

I am not gay.  I am a Christian.  I am a Minister.  When the Marriage Equality survey vote results were announced I cried. I cried with tears of joy and sorrow.

The tears of joy were for my friends who are gay and queer. I also cried tears of joy for all the people around Australia whose non-heterosexual relationships were being affirmed as valid and equal.

My tears of sorrow were for the way in which religion, and Christianity in particular, has been used and misused by fellow Australians in this debate. It breaks my heart that many LGBQT people, and heterosexual people, will be left with the impression that Christianity is essentially about sexuality, and a particularly narrow, and patriarchal view of sexuality and gender.

The scandalous heart of Christianity is not about sexuality or about hetero-normative relationships.  It is about the conviction that in the person of Jesus we glimpse the Divine.  And that in this Jesus, as sacred text tells it again and again, we discover the Divine who is outrageously including, forgiving and self-giving. In Jesus we are confronted with the humble Holy One who heals and nourishes and who continues to challenge all people into the Divine’s self-same compassionate dynamic, that cannot be contained or diminished, even by all our violence or death dealing.

This is the costly core of Christianity. If Government legislation was demanding that we not proclaim this, our faith, or that we not celebrate this faith week by week in worship, as we wrestle with sacred text and what it might mean for our lives, and as we share in Jesus’ bread and wine, this would be a serious threat to religious freedom. But this is not the case.

Religious freedoms will not be threatened by same-sex marriage.  Ministers and other religious leaders will continue to have the right to choose which weddings they preside over.

In the meantime, as I continue to weep a little, I hope and pray that compassion will prevail for all.


Rev Dr. Sally Douglas