Friday, January 30, 2015

Bigotry Does Not Belong Inside A Church

Dear Tazi:

I will be getting married this summer and it will be a church wedding. My problem is that my future brother-in-law is gay and he is refusing to attend the ceremony if he cannot bring his life partner with him. While I understand his position I am in no position to try and accommodate him. I have no problem with him attending the ceremony or the reception with his partner, but his parents have never fully accepted his sexuality and are making a huge deal over it, saying a gay couple “should have enough humility before the Lord not to flaunt their sins in His house”. Wow, yeah, I know, right?

It is not as though “Chip” and “Dale” are a couple of drag queens, nor do they “flaunt” their sexuality. In fact, if you did not know they were gay you would think that they are just good friends, like any two other guys. My fiancé would like to ditch the idea of a church wedding and hold the ceremony in the same hall as our reception. I was raised and baptized in our shared faith, and I would like for us to get married proper – in a church; one that reflects and practices our church traditions. Besides, the church is already booked and has been for several months now.

My fiancé says I am being unreasonable and that an unwillingness to compromise on such an important point is no way to start married life. I believe that important points should not be open to compromise; that agreement should be reached before a decision is implemented. My future brother-in-law is being extremely understanding and has told me that he understands my position and principles, and he would never ask me to compromise my principles in order to accommodate his. Unfortunately, by not being at the ceremony he will be unable to stand up for his brother. I forgot to mention that – Chip and Dale would not even be sitting together at the ceremony because Chip would be in the wedding party while Dale sits in t he congregation.

My wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of my life and yet all I am feeling is stress. Who among us is being the unreasonable one? Is it me?

Bride To Be In Bensenville

Dear Bride To Be In Besenville:

A woman’s wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of her life so far; if it was the happiest day of her life (period) she would not have much to look forward to from that day on, now would she? Also, as you are discovering, celebrations that require any kind of planning can be very stressful. If you expected your wedding planning to be completed without a hitch I am wondering just what you expect for married life!

Who is being unreasonable? Let’s look at all sides of the equation:

There are your parents-in-law, who do not wish to allow a gay couple into their church because they consider their son’s sexuality to be sinful. They think the mere presence of his partner will be disrespectful to the Lord. Personally, I find this view unreasonable. Did not Christ surround Himself with those whom society rejected? Did He not accept water from the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)? While I find your in-laws intolerance to be a reflection on them, I think they are reacting more out of fear of being disrespected by others for showing acceptance to those that their community rejects. They need to ask themselves WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)? How would you act in a situation where you were afraid of being harshly judged? I do not know what denomination you are, but to quote Pop Francis, "If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" So I ask, who are your in-laws to judge? I, for one, can only pity their shortsightedness.

Next let’s look at Chip’s position, as it is a difficult one: he does not wish to enter a building where he and his partner are not welcome as a couple, yet he and his partner will not be attending the wedding itself as a couple; Chip will be on the alter with the rest of the wedding party and Dale will be seated in the congregation. More importantly, it is not the church leaders who are refusing him admission to the ceremony, but his parents. Is Chip’s refusal to attend the wedding ceremony – and therefore his refusal to stand up for his brother – an issue of principle or an issue with his parents? If the church leaders have expressed a refusal to allow Chip to attend the ceremony, then please – for the love of all that is holy – find another church! This is one way in which you could accommodate Chip, in spite of your protests that you are "in no position" to do so. There are many churches that are accepting of people regardless of their “sins”, be they homosexual or heterosexual in form, if you catch my meaning. (If you don't, try and remember your church's teachings on premarital sexual relations!).

Last but most importantly you need to look at how you and your fiancé are handling this matter: he believes in compromise, you believe in a united front. I believe that without the desire or ability to compromise your marriage is completely doomed to failure. The issue of a church wedding versus a reception hall wedding is an area where compromise will be essential. If getting married in the church is important to you, would you consider a Unitarian church? They are welcoming to all who believe and, unlike a reception hall, offer hallowed places for your ceremony.

In the end, I think that everyone involved is being unreasonable in one way or the other. We are all God’s children, and all are welcome in His house. Those who refuse to extend that welcome are the greatest sinners of all.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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