Sunday, March 24, 2013

Supreme Court

Like one of the other writers on this blog, this winter I went to the Sundance Film Festival and saw the movie "God Loves Uganda," which was about a group of evangelical American Christians preaching a very anti-gay message in Uganda. In the question and answer session after the film, the filmmaker said that the evangelical group let him film them and follow them around because, they said, it was a chance to let God direct their filming and their portrayal in the larger world.

The crowd laughed about this because it was funny, but, also funnily, I kind of agree with them. I agree that if God had a hand in this film, then she/he did a great job in showing how terrible gay hate groups are and how we need to love people instead of hating them (which, ironically, would include the evangelical Christians, which is kinda hard). The Ugandan bishop who was interviewed in the film was also there for the question and answer, and he talked about how he believes in a god who created everyone differently and is showing us that we are on earth to be nice to everyone, regardless of how different we feel from them, and is teaching us acceptance and love for other people.

Anyway, the thought of God intervening in people's lives (and films) has me thinking about the Supreme Court case, and how many religious people are probably praying their hearts out right now that God will influence the decision in the correct, moral way. For some people, the correct, moral way means that gay marriage will be struck down and that Prop 8 will be upheld. For other people, like me, the correct moral thing is that equal rights for everyone throughout the states will be upheld. This is the problem of prayer--people pray for different things, and sometimes people thinking that God has "answered" their prayers is at the expense of people who were praying for different things. Like, say, the people praying for the reelection of Barack Obama vs. the people praying (so very, very hard, bless them) for Mitt Romney to be elected. Which I guess is why each religion's view of prayer is really problematic and has the potential to be damaging and hurtful. But if you believe in prayers or sending out good thoughts or agitating for social activism and demonstrating and peaceful marches or all of the above, and they help you out, then go for it.

I guess what I'm really saying is that if there is a god, then I firmly choose to believe that he/she wants everyone to be equal and wants everyone to be happy. If there is a god, he/she loves everyone, even if he/she doesn't actively intervene in everything all the time. I know what I'm saying is problematic, and the idea of a god intervening sometimes and not all times to help people remains deeply disturbing to me. But if all those people out there are praying for God to intervene in this case, then I choose to hope that he/she will intervene for what I firmly believe is the better, and not for what the conservatives in our midst believe is a correct religious moral imposition. And I'll keep sending positive thoughts out into the universe, and maybe go to some rallies this week. If you want to, feel free to do the same; if you don't want to, that's cool too, and if you want to pray to whatever God you believe in for the best possible outcome, that's cool too.

Ask Me
Some time when the river is ice ask me 
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether 
what I have done is my life. Others 
have come in their slow way into 
my thought, and some have tried to help 
or to hurt: ask me what difference 
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say. 

You and I can turn and look 
at the silent river and wait. We know 
the current is there, hidden; and there 
are comings and goings from miles away 

that hold the stillness exactly before us. 
What the river says, that is what I say.

William Stafford 

1 comment:

  1. When I was little and would attend church, primary lessons about prayer often centered around teaching us what to pray for. New toys, trampolines, and other trivial matters were discouraged. I think praying for a specific outcome in the Prop 8 case fits in with these trivial matters, because as you said, "people pray for different things, and sometimes people thinking that God has 'answered' their prayers is at the expense of people who were praying for different things." Maybe people should try praying for the sick, the downtrodden, and those in need -- not that that their heteronormative, institutionalized ideology prevails.