Easter is probably the most important of Christian holidays. Indeed, it's the holiday that defines Christianity, for without belief of Christ's resurrection, there is nothing on which to base Christianity.
Which is why it strikes me, as a Christian and a gay man, so galling, that the Family Research Council, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has asked pastors to take time away from preaching the resurrection of Christ in order to condemn gay and lesbian people, our lives, and our relationships.
The timing for this may have been out of anyone's hands. The U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments on the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act' and California's Proposition 8 earlier this week, which overlapped with Holy Week and Passover. No one expected the court to change its schedule for religious holidays, and while many of us, me included, rallied in front of the Supreme Court, we also held Seder meals and prayer services that combined the themes of Passover and Holy Week into our services.
However, the Family Research Council is going even further. Just over a week ago, they asked pastors to turn Holy Week into a "Stand for Marriage" week. They have provided sermon aids, which mention nothing of the road that Jesus took into suffering and the cross. They simply want pastors to preach about marriage, using the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as the primary example of what marriage should be, and why LGBT people are not worthy of relationships.
Unfortunately, you must pledge to be a part of the Family Research Council's agenda to access these sermon aids, which I am not willing to do. Those who were bolder than I am sent me a copy of the sermon notes. If you are braver than me, you can check them out here.
Would you make a pledge to Stand for Marriage over the next week? Those who make that pledge to Pray, Preach, and Partner on marriage will receive a FREE Stand for Marriage Sermon, PowerPoint, and Bulletin Insert for use in your church. Just click here to take the pledge and download these tools.
Now I fully realize that by doing so you may be taking time from your sermon series or special emphasis in the lead-up to Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday. So I know this is a sacrifice, but allow me to put the magnitude of this moment in perspective.
Christians, who regard this week as holy, should be up in arms that the sacredness of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are being replaced with a message that attempts to keep all of God's children away from the legal protections afforded to them. While Jews, who are overwhelmingly LGBT-supportive, are celebrating Passover, the Family Research Council is urging pastors to compare LGBT people to Nazis, a comparison that is tasteless and has already flopped for them in the past.
But, this is par for the course for our friends at the Family Research Council. For them, their agenda is more important than the ongoing work that God is doing in this world. Take a look at what else has come from the Family Research Council.
- Despite what health experts have said, insists that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.”
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that claims gay men are more likely to molest children, and supports "reorientation therapy" for gay people
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that begins by likening the logic behind same-sex marriage to the logic behind man-horse marriage (complete with horse graphic)
- Claims Uganda bill (with death penalty attached) simply "upholds moral conduct"
- Says Republican Senator Rob Portman should not support his gay son's "choices that are both harmful to [him] and to society as a whole"
This Sunday, when I am in my church, proclaiming, "Halleluiah, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!" I won't be thinking about the anti-gay antics of the Family Research Council. I won't be trying to claim my worthiness as a Christian or a gay man. I will only be thinking about how Christ died and was resurrected for me, for those I love, and for the whole earth. Thanks be to God!