If a Bible Story Could Stop a Culture War: A Reflection on John 8, Proposition 8, and the Politics of Affirmation

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Date: 
Sunday, 1 March 2009

A sermon given at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, in March 2004. 6 pp.

I suppose I could keep my sermon on this occasion short and to the point. As in: Congratulations. It’s about time. Now let’s get on with the work of living into what the moniker of “Affirming Ministry” really means for St. Andrews College. But these sorts of celebration services offer us the opportunity to reflect some on the meaning of the milestone, and I am delighted and honored to be asked to offer that reflection. I pray that these words might comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable in whatever ways the Spirit might see fit.

To give a little context, I am from California, where in last November’s election our state once again rendered a decidedly mixed result. Barak Obama’s “Yes we can!” message prevailed handily among our electorate, but so did Proposition 8’s “No you can’t”. Prop 8 aims to change the state’s Constitution to prohibit same sex marriage, despite the fact that our state Supreme Court upheld this fundamental civil right. This plebiscite was driven largely by the conservative religious community, which never seems to tire of taking the “debate” about marriage and sexuality that persists in our churches, and pumping it up into an epic battle to save civilization. If California is a bellweather for social and political trends in the North America, then the passage of Prop 8 is a troubling barometer indeed. Its purpose is to contract rather than expand existing civil rights for the first time in U.S. history. Amidst our celebration tonight of a theology and politics of affirmation, then, this is a sober reminder of the theology and politics of denial, and of the fact that this particular culture wars still rages, and its body count is mounting.

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.