A little over 15 months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their ruling in the historic Obergefell v. Hodges case. The 5-4 ruling made same-sex marriages legal across America. A truly remarkable win for LGBTQ rights, but certainly more work is needed to become a society that is fully inclusive, let alone a Church that is inclusive too. When people can still be fired because of their sexual orientation, or when transgender people are still being murdered, or when LGBTQ teens are bullied, kicked out of homes and even committing suicide, we know there is much more work to be done. As we celebrate this one victory, we must not forget that the job isn’t over, the goals have just shifted. We must remember marriage equality is the benchmark, not the finish line.
What does it say about the priorities of the Church of the Nazarene when within a couple of hours a press release was issued condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling, but took the Church almost 4 months to (barely) even mention Ferguson, Missouri? Solving “racial tensions” in an isolated press releases does little to effect change. Real life is a series of interconnected events and story lines that ebb and flow and weave in and out of one another. The way we talk about one, effects how we talk about another. When we remain silent on one issue, it effects our actions and perceptions of the others. You can learn a lot about the priorities of the Nazarene Church by what they choose to focus their press releases on. If the Church of the Nazarene focuses on the political du jour, more people are needed to answer the call to help fight injustice in our world.
You can find the full Church of the Nazarene statement here. There is nothing surprising in it. If you are a Nazarene you can walk away feeling very good that the Generals are protecting the “traditional values” of the Church and will continue to stay true to its core. It is not what they said that is upsetting, but rather, it is what they didn’t say, or rather waited too long to say anything about. The silence, and inaction on so many human rights grievances across the globe, and the continual focus on one United States issue prove one thing: The Church has made an idol of this issue.
There is more to one could say to critique the actions and inactions of the Church of the Nazarene this last year. Between scandals at NNU, MNU, SNU and NPH, headquarters has had its hands full. However, it is unsustainable for one blog to do so. (That should be reserved for the “Nazarene Ombudsman,” if such a position were to exist.) Over the last 5 years, Nazarene Ally has had different levels of engagement to foster conversations about human sexuality and gender identity. And how those topics engage with our Christian faith. Nazarene Ally is committed to providing online resources about what it means to be LGBT and Christian, and provide information on other social justice causes, because they are all interconnected to one another.
As the focus of the greater LGBTQ movement shifts, so must the focus of Nazarene Ally. Whereas there is still a need for LGBTQ people to share their stories, and find resources to help them reclaim a broken faith. It is, however, unsustainable for one blog to critique the missteps of an entire denomination.
We hope that we have helped at least one person find closure and healing from scars they have received.
We hope that the online resources will guide people to a welcoming, and affirming church, and we hope they get their as soon as possible.
We hope that we did some good.