In a talk where she shared her opinions of the forthcoming SCOTUS decision regarding same-sex marriage, conservative religious commentator Sandy Rios noted that Christians should “prepare for martyrdom” in the event that the nation’s highest court ruled in favor of same-sex unions.
Excuse me? Martyrdom?!?!?
So, to be clear, in the event of same-sex couples being able to get married Christians should be prepared to be killed for their faith? Because Ms. Rios, that’s what martyrdom means, to have your life taken for the sake of your beliefs. Or perhaps you meant this in the slightly less dramatic sense and are inferring that those who oppose these unions will suffer great persecution for their beliefs.
Even with that I would have to say that such phrasing is grandiose at best if not steeped in outright irresponsible pretentiousness.
American Christian claims to persecution are insulting to believers around the globe who are legitimately at risk for their proclamations of faith. Are we so far removed from stories like the execution of our Coptic brethren in Egypt that you feel it appropriate to use such a term? Have you experienced such a response from challengers to your beliefs that you feel the need to hijack narratives of individuals who have suffered in unimaginable ways like Kenneth Bae?
No. The answer is no you haven’t and you need to stop appropriating language that doesn’t fit your reality.
Yes, there are people that disagree with you and even some that do so aggressively but guess what? That’s the beauty (and for you, bane) of living in a democratic republic where speech is free and there is an ability to so fervently believe in something that you advocate for law supporting that thing.
And for advocates for same-sex marriage and others committed to upholding the voices of others in this nation, this is what’s happening.
They are not calling for your death.
They are not calling for your harm.
They are requesting a seat at the table and asking that their rights are protected under law (which in the current system is not the case in key areas – ex. domestic violence protections, estate law, etc).
Ms. Rios went on to say the following: If they [approve same-sex marriage], every single person in this room is going to be forced to make a choice, and I’m just telling you: Even if you don’t want to engage in this battle, you will and your people will, and you’d better stand”.
The people who participated in the Pennsylvania Pastors Network conference that housed her talk will be forced to make a choice as will all others who profess that they have been captivated by the message of Jesus.
That choice isn’t participation in some obscure, manufactured religious and cultural battle. The choice lies in whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision that the SCOTUS comes to, how their personal actions, words, and articulation of such reflect a God whose name is Love.
How will we take the commandment issued in John 13:34-35 and consider what it means to love one another, love the other, as Jesus loved us?
After all, He made it pretty clear that THIS – not politics, not dogma – is what will let the world know we are his Church saying “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”.