What does Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have in common with al Qaeda, the terrorist network that attacked the United States on 9/11? Both oppose marriage equality, and Mohler and now al Qaeda have attacked President Obama on religious grounds for his advocacy on this issue.
Does this mean Mohler is a terrorist? No, of course not. But there is some irony involved now that al Qaeda is joining Mohler in attacking marriage equality and President Obama.
In 2004, when Massachusetts became the first state in the Union to affirm marriage equality Mohler compared the day the court decision came down to 9/11. And Pearl Harbor.
Like mile-markers in time, certain calendar dates stand in memory as not only historic, but momentous. Dates like December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 represent far more than mere days on a calendar. Now, May 17, 2004 must be added to that list. Why? Because today--by the unilateral decision of activist judges--the State of Massachusetts will legalize same-sex marriages. This is a day that will live in moral infamy. Civilization itself has been attacked by forces that would redefine marriage, normalize homosexuality, and transform our understanding of family, gender, parenthood, and human relationships.
For Mohler, the extension of civil rights for same sex couples was the moral equivalent of the terrorist attacks of 2001 that left thousands dead and our nation shaken to the core.
Fundamentalism in religion is a dangerous thing. Mohler is no Osama bin Laden but clearly there is a place where Mohler's Christian fundamentalism and the Islamic fundamentalism of the late bin Laden find common ground: and that is in the subjugation of certain people, including gays and lesbians.
The good news is that Mohler and al Qaeda don't speak for Christianity or Islam.
The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The Biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God's community is ever expanding -- from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco-Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus' ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God's people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.
There are also progressive Muslims also standing up for equality across the globe.
I contend that you can find the authentic voice of God when you hear words of justice and compassion speaking against intolerance and fear.
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