If by any chance you were wondering why religion has lost so much of its appeal in modern-day America in general, and Virginia in particular, look no further than the reactions of religious leaders in Virginia to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
According to Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, “Today, I join with my brother Bishops throughout this great nation in expressing my profound dismay at the decisions announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding marriage. The Court’s decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and to refuse to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, will have tragic consequences for our nation.” If you look upon equal rights for all Americans as having tragic consequences then we might as well start building our bridge to hell (if you believe in that sort of thing).
While advocates of same-sex marriage have, by and large, celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the court’s decision did nothing to strike down individual state bans on same-sex marriage, a ruling that would truly have been a victory for same-sex marriage advocates.
Maybe my theological competency is a bit rusty, but how exactly do Christians in particular explain the presence of homosexuals in the first place if God, as an all-powerful being, abhors the presence of homosexuals on this rock we call earth? I have no intention, however, of engaging in a theological discussion.
Thousands of years have already proven the futility of attempting to use logic in the sphere of religion. I ask only to point to the absurdity of many a religious position.
The shame is that religious institutions are an important glue for many Americans, a social structure that helps millions of individuals live their lives in happiness, contentment, and/or relative ease. Paradoxically, however, the same attributes that make religious institutions appealing to its followers are the same attributes that may eventually lead to its descent into obscurity.
The past two generations have shown greater and greater tolerances for the “other” and this trend doesn’t appear to be in danger of retreating in the next few rounds of American generations. That is, the push for equal rights for same-sex couples looks to heighten in the generations to come if it already hasn’t been achieved. In the process, religious institutions that cannot or will not accept this social turn will be viewed more and a more as a hindrance to social progress, an undesirable element that society by and large no longer needs.
Of course, religion’s demise in America has been predicted before and its resiliency has been tremendous. The past, however, is not the present and our world is light-years away from what it was even 20 years ago. In our own time, the past holds less sway than at any other time in our young country’s history. Churches, beware!