In this business, it’s usually best to stay away from “dog bites man” kind of stories; but then again, in a nation with a rabies problem like ours, it probably does help to call attention to every random mongrel foaming at the mouth. And so it is here, with one free-roaming pack of loving Christians, biting viciously at the pack leader for performing an act of love.
The Reverend Jackie Carter, of Kansas’ First Metropolitan Community Church is beefing up security these days. Not just because “metropolitan” and “community” are the two most hated words in right-wing Kansas. And not because Paul said women aren’t allowed to speak in church, let alone run one. It’s because she’s been receiving death threats for performing same-sex marriages for couples in the Wichita area.
She told KSN that since she began officiating same-sex marriages, the local as*hole contingent has taken to throwing rocks through the church windows, and making threatening phone calls.
“When you’re here and the phone rings, and there’s heavy breathing and two seconds later the doorbell rings and then somebody’s throwing rocks through the windows. All those things combined create fear.”
But she’s not letting them get her down. Instead, she’s fortifying the House of God with the Earthly omnipotence of security cameras, and the omnipresence of security guards posted outside during same-sex marriage ceremonies.
“I’m not going to change my message of inclusion, I’m not going to change my message of love, and I’m not going to stop marrying people. I’m going to keep it up! This is ridiculous hatred that has no place in this city or state or this country.”
Then again, a degree of hatred wasn’t unexpected in this particular case. Carter’s own church made history immediately after the Kansas ban on same-sex marriages was lifted in October; she performed a mass wedding of 15 same-sex couples right on the steps of the County Courthouse, and has since done eight more.
And lest anyone think that Carter herself is just stirring up trouble for Kansas: She’s only following the precedent and policies set by her church’s sanctioning body, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. The UFMCC, with 222 congregations worldwide, led by Moderator and LBGT rights activist Nancy Wilson, and based most gaily in L.A., has had a longstanding tradition of providing religious sanctuary for gays. In fact, the church’s founder Rev. Elder Troy Perry performed the very first public same-sex wedding all the way back in 1969.
That led to the very first federal lawsuit ever filed for same-sex marriage rights. A lawsuit that Perry lost in 1970, but which succeeded in sparking the first public debate over the same-sex marriage rights. MCC has been fighting that battle ever since, culminating over 45 years later in a wedding performed on the steps of a Kansas County courthouse.
But predictably, Kansas (the state, not the band) is fighting tooth and nail to reinstate the ban Jesus never mentioned. And it’s still up for appeal. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled to its wayward sons that its hopes of maintaining state-sanctioned hate and homophobia are just dust in the wind.
But, rabid dogs will be rabid dogs, and they’ll aim to stay that way.