I was putting away laundry, and she came to me. She said, "I need to figure out what I think about all this before I go to camp in two weeks, because it is going to come up. I'm not sure what I believe. I don't know what to say."
She is 16. It is no longer my job to tell her what to believe. It is my job to guide her with reasoning of basic truth so that she can be discerning and make solid decisions for herself that align with the calling God has for her specific life.
So. I did my job. I gave her some reasoning based on solid truth, and appealed to her heart to discern whether it be true. She can then take that basis, and meditate upon it, so when the issue comes up in her life, however God arranges it for her (which are different circumstances and people than would be in my life, or in anyone else's life), then she can have a solid foundation on which to discuss and reason out her position.
What did I tell her about the recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision legalizing gay marriage?
1. America is a free country. Our forefathers came here for religious freedom. They wanted to be able to live, educate, pray, eat, worship and marry according to how they believed. In America, all denominations of Christians are free to be Christians outside the Catholic Church. In America, I am free to be Catholic even though the country was founded by those who didn't want to be. Jews are free to practice Judaism--and have Jewish weddings, and eat after Jewish law and customs. Muslims, Buddhists, Wicca, Mormons, Scientologists, Hindi... in America, all are free to believe what they like and practice their beliefs--include wedding ceremonies that align with their culture and beliefs.
America is FREE.
As long as we don't HURT or DESTROY. Which is what laws are in place to keep us from doing.
2. Each individual is accountable to God for himself/herself only. A person may acknowledge that, or may not. My question to her: Do you believe you are accountable to God for your beliefs and behavior?
3. Marriage, by definition--BY ORIGIN--is between a man and a woman. If it is not a man and a woman, it cannot be marriage. That is like taking a rock and deciding it is an orange. It doesn't work. No matter how you discuss, debate, change society's perception, preferences, and tolerances, a rock will always be a rock, and marriage will always be marriage; which is, by original definition, a man leaving his mother and father and cleaving unto his wife for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying through the male/female union. It is a basic, essential, physical, sexual, spiritual essence of life. Anything else is not marriage--I don't care what you call it. You can take a rock, and paint it to look like an orange, and call it an orange, and most people may say, "Nice orange!" But they know it's a rock. I think spiritually we are all designed to recognize this on some level. We can call it marriage--but it's different. It has been painted. We know that. Everyone knows it. But you are free to call it as you see it.
I say let us love each other, and enjoy each other--all our goodness, and love, and humor, and talents, and gifts, and strengths, and weaknesses, and quirks. And if I respect and love you, I will listen to your heart and maybe ask you questions, and help you however I can. And if you respect and love me, you will listen to my heart, and maybe ask me questions, and help me however you can.
We're all in this world together... for better or for worse.
May God have mercy on us all.