Easter In Midst of Nat'l Gay Marriage Debate, Religion Change in U.S.

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

March 31, 2013

An important celebration in the Christian faith comes right after the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on two same-sex marriage cases.

There are lots of issues that split the country down the middle and with topics like abortion and marriage equality for same-sex couples. These issues are going head to head with religion.

"When I think of same gendered couples wanting to marry, again, it's about hope, it's about possibility, and about new life," said Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller of Sojourners United Church of Christ in Charlottesville.

Sojourners United Church of Christ has supported same-sex marriage for years now, which has allowed some community members to find their faith again.

"Easter is about hope and love, so being able to celebrate it here - I mean, it's the first time in a long time that I've felt just the fullness of a religious holiday," said Amy Marshall, a member of the church and president of C'Ville Pride.

While Marshall and other homosexuals can feel comfortable going back to a church like Sojourners, a Pew Poll from October 2012 shows that fewer people are going to church and fewer people are claiming a religious affiliation. The numbers prove that religion is changing in America and some say politics may have more of an impact today.

"Religion is changing in America, I'm not sure it's for the better," said Pastor Ed Winkler at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville. "When Jesus said that it's our job to take care of the poor, that's a political statement. It's how we go about that and I have very good friends who see it one way and very good friends who see it another way. Religion does make a difference in how we view any issue."

While some churches are opening up their doors and minds to gay marriage like Sojournors, many others are clinging tightly to their beliefs.

"And so if the Supreme Court rules favorably, and this is no longer an issue, what's next?" Miller said.

The Supreme Court will make their decision in June about the two cases being heard right now and how that would affect the future of religion remains to be seen.

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