With the historic ruling this week by our Supreme Court on same-sex marriage we have been inundated with media coverage of responses from both sides of the issue. I understand that emotions run high on issues like this one, but I also know we still need to speak and react in responsible ways, especially if we step out to offer what we suppose would be God’s commentary on events, or more specifically, commentary from Jesus.
I was honestly, totally, down-right majorly peaved off when I saw this Tweet start making some headlines, from Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee), My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: “Jesus wept.” He also Tweeted this gem, 5 people in robes said they are bigger than the voters of CA and Congress combined. And bigger than God. May He forgive us all.
Now, first I want to give the one nod to the Gov. that he’ll get from me, the fact that he began the “Jesus wept” Tweet with the words “My thoughts on…” But that’s all the praise he’ll get from this Pastor after moving on to a complete misuse of the tears of Jesus to essentially make Jesus appear as the enemy of our gay neighbors. Wrong, sir. For the love of all that is Holy, stop it! Here’s a bit of the text the Gov. quotes from, John 11:32-37:
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Let’s just break a few things down, shall we? Why did Jesus weep in that famously short verse the Gov. quoted? He wept over the death of a good friend whom he loved. He wept with hurting people, hurting friends. The weeping of Jesus is not a rejection of anyone, but a connection to all hurting people. Jesus wept in love, sorrow, loss and the experience of both his own pain and empathetically the pain of those around him.
To take the empathetic, beautiful weeping of our Lord and turn it into a hateful rejection of our neighbors’ search for civil justice is despicable and unGodly in the extreme. As a Pastor, I renounce this distortion of my Lord, I renounce the Gov.’s words and intentions. The Gov. rightly speaks for himself, himself alone. If he cannot do better textual work than that, he needs to shut his mouth and spend some more time in study and prayer.
Why take the time to blog on this? Because every voice that counters that kind of textual abuse is needed. Our gay neighbors who have so long been civilly disenfranchised from basic spousal rights and privileges have a lot of reason to celebrate this week. And to posit the idea that Jesus would weep at their joy, weep at their liberty, weep at this corrected injustice, is horribly wrong. In fact, I find it counter to the Jesus who wept at that scene in John 11. I find it counter to the Jesus who wept in love, not in rejection of people’s joy and liberty.
I respect the Gov.’s right to speak his own mind, hold his own opinions, and even maintain his own beliefs of what his faith may or may not say about same-sex marriage and attractions. To deny the Gov. his liberty would only lessen the hard won liberty bestowed on his gay neighbors this week by the Supreme Court. But I will not respect, condone or be silent at the abusive misuse of Jesus for the Gov.’s political, social or ratings gain.
Just as a reminder, back when so many children were viciously gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary, when it would have been SO INCREDIBLY CORRECT to say that “Jesus wept,” the Gov. chose instead to rail on his political stump against gun control. He says something about slipping over to the “pastor side” and then speaking in blame about a mythical removal of God from schools. Why not let Jesus weep then with those hurting people? Why not let God be seen in the amazing person of Jesus, present with us and hurting with us and ready to make any journey with us, on good days and horribly bad days? Because the Gov. did not ever slip to the “pastor side” of things, but instead remained intrenched in his political/social agenda.
There is a lot more injustice to be righted in our country. There are still many disenfranchised neighbors waiting for us to move in their favor and right the wrongs that have often shaped their lives to their loss. God is not ignorant of their tears, even if pastors sometimes are. Jesus weeps with them, never against them, regardless of any pastor’s personal agenda.