Thursday, February 9, 2012

Religion and Same-Sex Marriage

The Pew Center has studied how various religions react to same sex marriage. Go look yourself:

Hindus, hesitant about homosexuality, don't really express any opinion on gay marriage. Jews-- well, it depends on the Jew, but in general Jews don't discriminate much (except for Palestinians and other assorted Arabs) because they know what it's like to be persecuted for thousands of years. Conservative Islam is pretty unified in condemning homosexuality, and certainly gay marriage. There's a nice consistency there.  Buddhists, who don't get excited about marriage or about homosexuality, and whose monks don't do weddings anyhow, are equally consistent in not condemning anybody.

But Christians?  Oh boy. We've got the Catholics, who seem to hate everything these days, and the Evangelicals -- with all their new political clout -- who love to push their theological inferiors around, especially if it's a minority their leaders say it's OK to hate and marginalize.  We have the Episcopalians and the ELCA Lutherans, and the somewhat United Methodists, who issue compassionate and welcoming statements to gays and other sinners, in contrast to the bigger Baptists who are building their base on the backs of the current minority (as they did with blacks in earlier times).  And the Mormons. So organized, so certain, and so effective in funding Proposition 8, clearly can't stand gay people, but boy do they practice Christian charity toward their own and toward conversion prospects.  I think I like the consistent Mormons more than the waffling Lutherans .and the whiny Unitarians (who claim to respect everybody, but have to single them out for "welcoming" first, a particularly insidious form of marginalization.

On this issue, I like the Buddhists best. Most come from socially conservative countries, but they tend not to judge or reject, and they seem fairly consistent about it. They are very big on family values, but don't see gays and lesbians as a threat. For the most part, their ethical teaching is pretty calm,