Respect the Dignity of Every Human Being

“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?…I will, with God’s help.” Book of Common Prayer, p. 417

I wasn’t going to get into this conversation, but a few of my readers have asked me about it since they know I am a Christian and an Episcopalian. My beloved Episcopal church has actually thrust parishioners right in the middle of the discussion even if some weren’t ready to address it. I keep wondering what the big deal is, but since you asked I will give you my two cents since which is about all it’s worth really.

You may have heard that the Episcopal church blesses same-sex couples. That seems contradictory to what most people think Christians are or should do, so let me explain the reason it is actually more Christian than you may think it is.

What I would like to point out first is the statement at the top of the page. We are called to “respect the dignity of every human being”. It was clear that in the Episcopal church marriage will still be between one man and one woman. Same sex couples will receive a blessing by the bishop. I am sure that not all my church family members agree with the decision, but even if they did not like what they were hearing, not one member got up and walked out. Even if they did not agree with the decision, no one left. That speaks volumes to the character of my church family.

I think the reason everyone sat and listened to the decision without a gasp, or frown was the fact that we, Episcopalians, all agree on what is important. There is so much more to life than this one thing. We agree with love, we agree to respect everyone, and I mean EVERYONE….and get this, we don’t care who you love. We don’t care if other Christians think you are a sinner. That is because we are sinners too. We love you anyway! Unconditional love should be the foundation of everything a church, any church, does. The focus of church should be on taking care of people despite what they choose to do with their bodies. It matters not if we are talking about sex or whatever behavior you want to talk about. Please show me one time where Christ said one time, “Love your neighbors like yourself, except….(insert person here)”.

I am a Christian first. I am an Episcopalian, yes, however, I will sit in any church and praise God with anyone who will have me. I have been known to show up in any church at any time. I have also been known to get up and walk out of any church that teaches bigotry in the sake of what is often called Christian values. If a church in any way judges another fellow human sinner, I am out. Yes, teach your children values, respect, and love. Do not teach that you and they are a better christians because you do or don’t do a thing.

People are so much more than the things they do, their lifestyle, and their choice in spouses. We should love and respect the person. People seem to forget that humans have this wonderful thing called free will. We are given the ability by our creator to think and act for ourselves. We Christians should focus on the person, not what they do. What they do is between themselves and God. It is up to God to judge. We are not to judge, no, not one soul. Leave the judgment to the one who is perfect, since we are not. We are to love and serve them all as Christ would.

So the next time you decided to judge a person because of their lifestyle or the church they choose to serve God in, think about what you are doing. Think about how Christ would treat that person.

Believe in unconditional love and respect.

~Lori O’Gara

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