The Portland Tribune asked yesterday: What’s the Rev Running for? Well, nothing. Jim Redden put forth the question in this context:
The Rev. Chuck Currie must be glued to his computer. The liberal minister of Sunnyside Church and University Park Church is frequently the first to email a comment to the press about breaking social news. He did it again on Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Currie’s remarks supporting the court’s ruling were the first to reach Portland Tribune, arriving just 10 minutes after the breaking news alert from the Washington Post and more than 45 minutes before those from Gov. John Kitzhaber, who also supported the ruling.
It took more than another hour for Mayor Charlie Hales to email his support for the ruling, followed by praise from Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian 20 minutes later — slightly more than two hours after Currie’s email.
Like millions of Americans, I was glued to my computer yesterday morning – watching SCOTUS Blog, actually – to hear what decisions the court might make.
The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God's community is ever expanding -- from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco- Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus' ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God's people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.
My two current churches, reconciling congregations in the United Methodist Church, are strong supporters of the LGBTQ community.
It is important for clergy to speak out on moral issues. Otherwise, we leave a void filled by the religious right. The Portland Tribune’s own coverage of the reaction to the SCOTUS decision on DOMA quotes no religious leaders supporting the decision. Instead, they quoted the Oregon Family Council, a conservative body that claims to articulate Christian values while operating a political action committee that gives 100% of their money to GOP candidates. My churches don’t get involved in partisan politics (though as an individual I have sometimes made personal endorsements in races).
What we do is take an active role in advocating on social issues – from marriage equality, to immigration reform, to voting rights, to ending gun violence. We do this from our deepest understandings of what it means to be faithful people in a democratic society.