President Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling with Joy
To the Alumni/ae and Friends of Claremont School of Theology,
I write to you to express the profound joy that has filled my heart since the Supreme Court announced its ruling that establishes marriage equality as a fundamental right across the United States, regardless of a couple’s sexual orientation. This ruling marks a significant moment in this country’s history and a significant victory for a decades-long civil rights struggle.
The impact of this ruling will immediately affect the quality of life for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. My heart delights in the fact that there will no longer be a divide in our country, and amongst our community of students, faculty, staff and alumni/ae, between those who have access to marriage as a testament to the bonds of loving relationship that can grow between two people and those who do not. And I give thanks for the relief that same sex couples will begin to experience through the legal benefits and securities that marriage offers.
Religion’s role in the campaign for marriage equality has been complex, to say the least. It has simultaneously served as the oppressor and liberator of LGBTQ people in their long-fought struggle for justice. That conflicted relationship will not end with this ruling. To that end, it is crucial that CST continue in its mission to educate the Church and its leaders to Create a Difference for the World We Live In. We must use our expertise and experience to help religious communities to grow in their understanding of God’s radical and unconditional love by providing them with theological resources available within our respective traditions.
As a United Methodist, I turn to the teachings within the Book of Discipline that "all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God” (2012 Book of Discipline ¶ 161F). It is the image of God, the imago dei, that each one of us bears, that should motivate us to heed the Prophet Micah’s call to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.” If we accept the Gospel truth that each one of us has been created in the image of God, then an authentic life of faith calls upon us to identify and celebrate the diverse manifestations of the divine we witness in our shared humanity.
We should harbor no illusions that this historic achievement marks the end of the struggle for equality and justice. On the same day that so many danced in the streets to celebrate justice at work, others mourned the ongoing injustice in our country, embodied by the loss of the Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney and 8 other precious children of God at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
As we begin to live into this new era of equality in our country, let us commit ourselves to work together to build on this watershed victory for love. Let us unite our hearts and voices to bring about God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Let us dance with those who dance and mourn with those who mourn as we walk together along the way.
Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan
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