I discovered the power of digital communications when leading the Latino outreach for a presidential campaign back in 2003. Through the work of the campaign's digital team, I quickly began to see the opportunity presented by digital to mobilize, engage, and create vibrant communities to transform the world. In short order I became an evangelist of this work and I dedicated the next ten years of my life to digital communications working as a blogger, a new media practitioner, and a serial digital entrepreneur.
The first online community that I launched was a progressive Christian community, CrossLeft. A grassroots platform for interdenominational progressive Christians, CrossLeft's goals were to re-center the conversation as it relates to Christianity and the core values of the Christian faith, create a virtual and physical community that furthered the mobilization of the Christian left, and provide a place of dialogue between the left and the right. In addition to my work with CrossLeft, I also served as one of the founders of the Institute for Progressive Christianity (IPC), a research institute committed to producing work firmly rooted in scripture and the diverse Christian values represented in Progressive Christianity. Through the work of IPC, powerful arguments were developed to recast the Christian image into one of tolerance, diversity, and reason.
Today, ten years later, I am honored to be supporting the inspiring work of Reverend Dr. Janet Edwards who was recently named in the Advocate as one of "10 Pro-LGBT Religious Women You Should Know." Reverend Janet was tried and unanimously acquitted by a church court for presiding at the wedding of a same-sex couple in 2008. Reverend Janet sees her ministry as one of reconciliation and she is working to change the hearts and minds of Christians who are not yet affirming of LGBT equality.
Earlier this month, in a piece for the Believe Out Loud blog, Reverend Janet wrote about the great progress that has been made since Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry. She reflects: "Christians whose hearts have been opened have come to recognize that a marriage between two people of the same gender can embody the covenant of marriage as described in Scripture: I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion (Hosea 2:19)." However, there is still much work left to do.
This week the Supreme Court has been hearing challenges to Prop 8 and DOMA, the law that prevents the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples. In California, Prop 8 took away the freedom to marry from same-sex couples after the State Supreme Court granted them that right. Recent polls show a majority (58%) of Americans now favor same-sex marriage and support for gay marriage among young adults is an astounding 81%.
Across the United States, local faith leaders are asking the Supreme Court to extend the freedom to marry to all couples and affirm the love and commitment shown by same-sex couples throughout the country.
The "United for Marriage: Light the Way to Justice" effort has over 150 events scheduled across the country where people of all faiths have been organizing candlelight vigils and worship services during which members of these congregations have been praying for the court to do the right thing. In Pittsburgh, Reverend Janet joined with local Pittsburgh faith leaders to host a special interfaith worship service on the eve of the Supreme Court's deliberation on Proposition 8 and DOMA at the First Methodist Church.
Supportive communities of faith hosted a session of prayer and singing in support of the freedom to marry. Gay and lesbian couples were invited to come forward for a silent prayer of blessing and affirmation.
My prayer this Easter season is that the arc of the moral universe continue to bend towards justice in the ruling of the Supreme Court Justices. This summer the Supreme Court Justices have the ability to rule in favor of righteousness and justice. I am hopeful that they will do so.