Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pastor risks church for supporting gay marriage


This story highlights both the best and worst that religion has to offer.

Rev. White, pastor of a church in St. Paul, Minnesota, made a costly "mistake" when he voted in favor of a resolution supporting gay marriage at the United Church of Christ's annual synod in Atlanta.

When word of his vote reached St. Paul, White's congregation quietly revolted. Two-thirds of the church's members vanished in just a few weeks, and they never came back.

"If this was a mistake," White said, "then I will make the mistake all over again." "When I talked to them," White said, "(I was told) categorically, 'I cannot be a part of a church that accepts same-sex marriage – period.'"

As an African-American, he had always preached a message of social justice and acceptance. Gays and lesbians frequently attended services. But White didn't realize at the time how deeply the beliefs about homosexuality ran in his African-American congregation.

"We are more fundamentally religious than I ever dreamed," he said. "They thought I was a heretic, that I was not leading them to Christ. Christ, according to them, instituted the institution of marriage, and I was not following Christ's will because marriage is supposed to take place between a man and a woman; marriage is about procreation."

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