There is no reason to pussy-foot around. I have one simple question based on about twelve very passionate discussions this week: Why has the issue of sexuality become THE hot-button issue in the Lutheran (and other) Church at this time? Normally rational people become apoplectic when the topic comes up. Normally thoughtful "liberal" people (and I want to explore that word over the course of these conversations) go red in the face in denouncing "gay marriage" and/or "gay ordination." Ordinarily relatively conservative faithful surprise by being in favor or and cheering the same things. But neither side can give, it seems to me, a quite convincing case for its position. My friends the liberals speak of assaults on "the family" -- language they pick up and parrot (or sincerly echo) from religious folks with whom they disagree on virtually every issue. My friendly conservatives spout sentiment: Well I got to know Joe and discovered that he's gay on that basis I can't believe there's anything wrong with his lifestyle.
Now, I'm the last one to say that sex doesn't matter.But my stars, we're at war (there seems to be some question just who the actual enemy is, but never mind); we face an unbelievable crisis in the well-being of our nation (in terms of health care, in terms of the security of pensions, in terms of the rapidly widening gap between rich and poor); the world is on the verge of treating the United States as irrelevant. And as a society, we American Christians are head-over-heels about who loves whom and does what.
My simple question is why this is such a big deal in the scale of things. (For those of my closest friends who want to say that the right-wing is just using this for political purposes, my question remains: Why are they able to do that? Why do they ring such a responsive chord in to so many? For my dear, persecuted Republican friends -- both of you: Why does this represent an assault on the basis of society? For my gunner theologians: Why?)
You see, I don't really want to go into whether gay marriage should be allowed in either the civic setting or the Church. Neither do I specifically want the prooftexts for or against the ordination of non-celibate homosextual persons. I'm more interested in the meta-question, if that's the term: Why is this the issue that gets people so hot?