I changed my profile picture on Facebook today. I joined thousands of others in putting up the red human rights flag in solidarity with those seeking marriage equality. It didn’t take long but my decision was hardly impulsive. I did it only after a good bit of reflection. But, to be honest, most of my reflection was about the reactions I would likely get from my friends, both my Facebook friends and my real life friends, that represent so many different backgrounds, perspectives and religious beliefs.
I thought about the church that I grew up in and the many people there that were so important in the development of my faith in God and my curiosity in the mystery of the divine. I recalled their teaching me that God’s love for his children was unconditional but I also recalled their teaching me that homosexuality was an abomination to Him. I could almost feel their disappointment in me and that made me sad.
I thought briefly about my barely flickering political ambitions and wondered whether making this statement in support of marriage equality would end those hopes for good.
I thought about my daughters who are almost 10 and almost 8. I could almost see their 20 year old selves looking at me incredulously as I tried to explain why I had stayed silent on the issue of marriage equality — the same expression on their face as I probably had on mine as my parents tried to explain to me why they, and lots of other people, stood by silently during the segregated days of the 1960’s.
I thought about my friends and coworkers, some of whom would be disgusted that I would make a public statement in support of gay marriage possibly putting at risk the reputation of my conservative firm, some of whom might mock my making a public statement as a lame effort to be trendy just to join an ever growing consensus, and some of whom would react with disgust because it took me so long to come around on an issue of such basic fairness.
I also thought about the kids that I have taught in Senior High Sunday School, many of whom are way ahead of me on this issue. They have seen their future and they are certain that it includes marriage equality for everyone. I pictured them shaking their heads, finding it hard to believe that anyone could possibly struggle with this issue. Most of them have not changed their profile picture but that’s because for them this is a settled issue. Their generation has led on this issue. And as I think about them, I am inclined to follow.
I thought about the wonderful church that I now attend and the diversity of opinions that are represented on this issue. I thought about how thankful I am to be a part of a church that allows, and even welcomes, differences of opinions but is uncompromising in its belief in the unconditional love of Christ and our obligation to love and accept each other despite our differences.
And of course I thought about God and what God might think about this issue. I suppose I will always be concerned that Paul was right: that God really does think that homosexuality is an abomination and that God may be disappointed in me for making this public statement.
But, mostly, two thoughts kept coming back to me: I thought of my friends at church — a gay couple that have lived a ridiculously traditional life together for 15 years and who now have a ridiculously beautiful baby boy that was born into their family just a couple weeks ago. I thought about how dramatically my life changed for the better when I got married and had children and how much I wanted the same for them.
Finally, I concluded that Martin Luther King was right. The arc of the universe really does bend towards justice. Slavery, segregation, interracial marriage, and now marriage equality: the arc really does bend towards justice. And I choose to be on the side of justice. So, for now, the profile picture has been changed. I’m Facebook official in support of marriage equality. And it feels good.