Minnesota Pastor urges Baptists to oppose efforts to limit the freedom to marry
August 31, 2012
Our friends at Minnesotans United for All Families have been working hard over the past year to combat a proposed constitutional amendment that would constitutionally and permanently exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Minnesota. Marriage between same-sex couples is already banned in the state via a state statute, but this amendment would go out of its way to write discrimination into the constitution.
Some of the most vocal groups speaking out against the amendment are people of faith in the state. Yesterday, Minnesotans United posted a video of Pastor Doug Donley from the University Baptist Church in Minneapolis. In the video, Pastor Donley shares his feelings on the amendment and discusses why, as a Baptist, he feels compelled to rally against discrimination.
"Limiting freedom is antithetical to what a Baptist is," Donley says in the video. "Freedom is our lifeblood as Baptists - it's part of our DNA. Limiting freedom, like this amendment would do, ought to make Baptists at least a little bit uneasy."
Donley then talks his congregation through the four freedoms that Baptists hold dear and explained how this proposed amendment flies in the face of each one.
"Soul Freedom," or the idea that each person is a holy soul with direct access to God, means that Baptists are able to seek out God about what they believe directly - they don't have to speak through a minister or other church leadership. Similarly, "Bible Freedom" allows Baptists to interpret scripture for themselves so they can examine it with critical eyes. The marriage amendment would explicitly violate Bible freedom, Donley says, because it "seeks to codify one interpretation of scripture, and writing one interpretation of scripture into law is a very un-Baptist thing to do."
"Church Freedom" - the concept that all Baptist churches may govern differently and decide for themselves how to establish leadership and whose marriages may be blessed within the church - is also taken away by the amendment, as is "Religious Freedom." Donley says, "It just makes sense that we ought to be able to freely practice our religion without the coercion of the state."
More and more frequently, people of faith are standing up to talk about why their faith compels them to support, rather than oppose, the freedom to marry. These people understand that celebrating love enriches society, brightening communities and strengthening families.
"I stand by the freedom of those who love each other and who are committed to the sacrifical gift of marriage," Pastor Donley says. "I declare that all ought to have that brave union recognized by the state."
You can read more about the freedom to marry in Minnesota HERE and read more about people of faith and their support for marriage for all couples HERE.