Nobody gets to be special, and everybody gets to be loved

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The following is the testimony of Nadia Bolz-Weber— a fantastic and lovely ELCA Lutheran pastor in Denver— made to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of civil unions for LGBTQ couples.

I would like to take a moment to point out that [in my opinion,] activists who use any faith system, be it Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism or otherwise as a tool to justify their political agendas are at best a sham. At worst, heretical hypocrites.

As a Lutheran youth minister, I recognize and appreciate the deeply-rooted motivating influences in people’s lives. Particularly those influences in the lives of young people which come out of a great number of contexts: families, societies, culture, language, etc.

Please take a moment to read this, if for no other reason than to appreciate that there are many of us Christians who don’t buy into petty political hacktivism; who aren’t being “spoken to and commanded” to build up walls and push others out; who reject the shallow theology and resulting violence at any level and any point in the history of the faith.

That being said, Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber’s testimony:

Thank you Madam Chair and members of the committee.

My name is Pastor Nadia Bolz-weber.  I am ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and serve a congregation here in Denver called House for All Sinners and Saints.

I’d like to start by saying that people of good faith dis-agree on this issue but I speak in favor of civil unions.

I’m not an activist.

But I am a preacher and a public theologian. So here’s what I feel is mine to say.

Much of the early church were convinced that gentiles could only become Christians if they changed into being Jews first (which, for the record, involved a rather unpleasant process), and much like our first century brothers and sisters there is a segment of the church today who thinks that if we extend the roof of the tent to include “the gays” then the whole thing will come crashing down around us.

And some will say that if we allow gay couples to have equal status under the law, the institution of marriage will come crashing down.

So there are some who see it as their job to stalwartly guard the boundaries of the tent to keep it from crashing, and some who think it our job to be bravely inclusive and stretch the tent.

Either way, it’s misguided because …it’s not our tent.  It’s God’s tent. The wideness of the tent be it the church or society, should only concern me insofar as it points to the great mercy and love of a God who welcomes us all as friends. And of Jesus who welcomes all to his table.

You think I like that?  You think I want to sit at the heavenly banquet next to Ann Coulter?  Not so much.

But that’s what I’m stuck with because I’m in the Jesus business.  And in the Jesus business there is not male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free, gay or straight, there is only one category of people: children of God. Which means nobody gets to be special and everybody gets to be loved.

People born in this country aren’t special.

Men aren’t special.

Christians aren’t special.

Straight people aren’t special.

And if the laws of our great land make it seem so, then SHAME.  ON. US.

Thank you Madam Chair.

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