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God Does Not Love A Wall

by Rev. Mary Sue Brookshire

Robert Frost once wrote, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”  Both literally and figuratively, walls divide us and keep us separate from one another.  We build walls when we feel threatened, believing that closing ourselves off will keep us safe.  As a person of faith, I believe that God is one of those “somethings” that doesn’t love a wall.  “God is love,” I learned growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, and as far as I can tell, Love doesn’t build walls.  And yet for centuries, in God’s name, people have erected barrier after barrier.  It ‘s infuriating, maddening, and heartbreaking.

In the recent discussions over marriage equality, some people have sought to protect the institution of marriage by building a wall around it, keeping out anyone who doesn’t fit the so-called “biblical definition” of marriage.  Well, I’ve read my Bible and nowhere does it define marriage as between one man and one woman.  In fact, the examples of marriage in my Bible include polygamy and infidelity, not exactly what I’m hoping for in my own marriage. Opponents of marriage equality claim to be protecting marriage from some invisible threat, but the only threat I see is that my marriage will be diminished by not being shared by all loving couples. I don’t need a wall to protect my marriage. There is nothing here to fear.

God does not love a wall. In the Hebrew Bible, the children of Israel marched around the wall of Jericho seven times, and that wall came tumbling down.  Today, we have marched against the walls that would divide us—walls of discrimination, injustice, and oppression.  And I am convinced that our God—the God of justice and righteousness who is in the business of tearing down walls—will work through us to tear down these walls as well.

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act is one of those walls, and I am happy to say it is already crumbling.  Just a few days ago, its very author, Bob Barr, said that DOMA “has to go,” although not for the reasons we might hope.  President-Elect Obama agrees that DOMA should be repealed, and we are here today to encourage him to do just that.  Nationwide, we are hoping to collect at least a million signatures on our Open Letter to Barack Obama.  Borrowing a phrase from another president, we are asking, imploring, demanding, “Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!” Tear down any barriers to equality; destroy any obstacles to justice!

Friends, fear built these walls, but Love is tearing them down.  And we are here today, surrounded by God’s extravagant love for all people, chiseling away the barriers to marriage equality.  We are standing on the side of Love, doing the work of Love together.
And just as sure as we feel this gorgeous California sun on our skin, may we feel the love of God in our hearts and in our souls, giving us strength for the work ahead. Amen.

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