In a recent meeting of the City Council, some members of the faith community were reported to have objected to the adoption of an anti-discrimination resolution on the grounds that it would conflict with biblical values, and discriminate against Christians.
That shocked me. I thought of Sojourner Truth, a poor black woman evangelist, and said to myself, “ain't I a Christian?" Sure, Episcopalians are fairly broad-minded, but Is it possible I’ve thought I was Christian and am not. It possible that there’s a difference between those who know what the bible says and those who think they know what Jesus said.
So, I began enumerating what I knew about Christian teachings, such as love one another, respect one another, invest your talents, be kind, share, help the poor, tolerate differences.
Christian values sounded a lot like American values. Values such as our being created equal and endowed by our creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Scriptural references to loving thy neighbor, honoring others, tolerating differences are reflected in ten amendments to the constitution that ensures the free exercise of religion, free speech, the right to assemble and the right to a redress of grievances.
It is not in the name of Biblical values, but of democratic values that we must protect the rights of individuals. Fortunately, those values often coincide with Christian values, but maybe it depends upon whether we are reading old or new testament, or translating words out of both historical and cultural contexts to understand God.
I sometimes think God must weep over his decision to give us the intelligence to make choices knowing that he would frequently have to bestow grace that is neither earned nor deserved.
I hope that the city councils across Wyoming do what the legislature has failed to do in this “equality” state. But I hope the Council understands that there are many of us within the faith community that ask, “Ain't we Christians, too” and wish them to consider all of us.