During a recent doctor visit I noticed that the Physician Assistant taking my blood pressure wore an Archie Watch, a purple wristband, and a Batman necklace. You like cartoons? I asked. I love cartoons, he gushed. But I especially love comics.
We bantered about favorite comic book characters, then I asked him about his purple wrist band. Oh, that’s a ‘pride’ bracelet, he said. His eyes glittered. I said, What are you proud of? He smiled and bowed his head. It’s a gay pride bracelet!
He gently removed the blood pressure cuff from my arm and stepped back. He looked at me like a playful puppy.
My mind glazed as I remembered the “controversy” at our church. The national church organization had voted to allow women and gays to serve as ministers and marry same-sex couples. The leaders in our local church threw a fit. They said things like: The Bible says… We cannot in good conscience… God will judge… remember Sodom and Gomorrah… etc. etc.
Meetings were arranged, phone calls made, texts and e-mails sent, trips taken and plans discussed. What were the options? What to do next? What should the role of the congregation be in all of this?
In a meeting, I told our leaders that a proposed break-up with the national organization seemed like a divorce to me. I asked, What about church unity? What about our commitment to each other?
Every question asked—every objection, every challenge—met an articulate response. The leaders were ready, prepared, so determined to do God’s will.
The PA turned to go. I blinked my eyes. Excuse me, I called after him. Can I ask you a question? No need to answer, if you don’t want to.
He turned around. It’s ok, he said.
Religions…all religions… I cleared my throat… tend to be conservative about sex. I stammered. You know…it’s true… Christian churches especially. They don’t even believe couples should have sex, until after they’re married. I shrugged my shoulders. It won’t change any time soon.
Listen, he interrupted. I don’t care about religion. I have my own beliefs. I’m comfortable with them. Christianity, I don’t really care about it.
Oh, I said. I gathered my thoughts and pushed on. Well, anyway, here’s my question: What can Christians do to make it better for gay people? I tried to smile. What can we do to show our love?
That’s easy, he said. Stop judging us. His brown eyes darkened. It makes us feel bad. He took a quick breath. And let us marry. Really. His eyes settled on me, then he paused.
He said, Don’t get me wrong. At this stage in my life, I don’t want to get married. He blushed and looked away. A vein in his neck pulsed.
I have issues with commitment, he said. He smiled a weak smile. I thought he was going to say more, but he stopped himself. He turned to leave, then twirled back. His eyes glistened. He seemed to be crying. I couldn’t believe it. Don’t we have a right to marry the ones we truly love? he whispered.