Audacious Goals and Incremental Victories

03/18/2015 05:48 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

As an American and as an Episcopalian, I was raised to pledge to and pray for two audacious goals: "liberty and justice for all" and "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven," respectively.

Yesterday's historic step by the Presbyterian Church USA brought us a little closer to both.

The powerful witness of a mainline denomination ending marriage discrimination is not only in alignment with the core American value of equality but a manifestation of the Gospel value of God's inclusive love. It not only adds to the groundswell of movement toward civil marriage equality in this nation but debunks the false narrative that we must choose between religious liberty and equal protection for LGBT Americans.

We have been on this journey for many years. What happened yesterday in the Presbyterian Church was the result of decades of tireless work and witness by those committed to bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice for LGBT people -- not just in their church but in this country. And while the work is far from done, a wise mentor in the work of Gospel justice taught me years ago that our charge is to "set audacious goals and celebrate incremental victories."

So today we celebrate the incremental victory of marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church. And then tomorrow we get back to work on the audacious goals of liberty and justice for all and a kingdom of God's love, justice and compassion come on earth as it is in heaven.

We get back to work on being a nation where the equal protection guaranteed all Americans actually equally protects all Americans. We call on the Supreme Court to end the discrimination against some marriages as we commit to a protect-marriage movement that protects all marriages. We stand up against "religious discrimination" legislation that is nothing more than a smokescreen for homophobia.

And we look beyond the marriage wars toward ending employment discrimination, toward just immigration reform, toward passing the student nondiscrimination act, toward eradicating transphobia in all its manifestations -- toward the long list of incremental victories we need to achieve before we can declare victory on those audacious goals I was raised to both pledge to and pray for.

But today we celebrate, because yesterday's historic step by the Presbyterian Church USA brought us a little closer to both -- and the sound you hear is the arc of the moral universe moving just a little closer to justice.