Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kansas MCC Pastor & Church Receiving Daily Death Threats Over Gay Marriage Support

I've mentioned before that I'm completely confused these days when it comes to determining which states are marriage equality states and which ones aren't. I thought that Kansas had a stay in place, but I guess not. It seems that some counties are issuing marriage licenses and others aren't. Plus, the state government is inconsistent with its recognition of any same-sex marriage. But technically, it's a marriage equality state right now.

Regardless, gay and lesbian couples are getting married these days in the state of Kansas. One pastor, Rev. Jackie Carter of First Metropolitan Community Church, has been receiving daily threats on the phone since same-sex marriage became legal. Individual calls have threatened her individually, as well as the congregation itself.

Rev. Carter initially captured the attention of the public when she officiated at a wedding for 15 same-sex couples on the steps of Sedgwick County Courthouse on 11/17/14. That's when the current batch of phone threats began (Note: Rev. Carter and her church have received threats in the past because of their LGBT ministry, but not this level of intensity.):
“Monday was probably the most scary time for me,” Carter said. “The phone rang and I went to answer the phone and it was just somebody heavy breathing on it. Then somebody rang the door bell and then somebody started throwing rocks at the windows.”

The Rev. Jackie Carter, pastor of the First Metropolitan Community Church, said the church has been getting at least one phone call a day threatening to kill her or to perform acts of violence against her congregation. The church belongs to a denomination that embraces the gay and lesbian community. Some callers tell her “to repent so I don’t have to suffer inhumane death at the hands of Satan,” she said. Others have threatened specific acts of violence. Before the group wedding ceremony last month, two callers threatened to chop off her head and put it on a stake...

She said the church has instructed people to leave the building in pairs, especially at night, for safety.
The threats have been reported to the police, but the Wichita Police Department has shrugged its collective shoulders. That's because the calls are anonymous and the number doesn't show up on the church's called ID registry.

You hear a lot of social conservatives go on and on about religious liberties, but this type of threat is a huge threat against Rev. Carter's religious liberties, as well as the liberties of those in her congregation (as well as church communities like my own who've long celebrated and honored all married couples regardless of sexual orientation).

The Metropolitan Community Church is a 46-year-old Christian denomination that was created specifically to offer hope, salvation, and fellowship to the LGBT communities at a time when pretty much every denomination (including my own UCC denomination) publicly rejected LGBT people of faith from all levels of worship.

MCC pastors have been performing same-sex commitment ceremonies and weddings since 1969. I bring that up because it's worth reminding people that same-sex marriage bans are tools of the state that directly impede the religiouss liberties of MCC Christians -- as well as those who've come to affirm gay and lesbian families since then.

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