Rise and Shine - June 9
The Rise and Shine discussion group meets Sunday mornings at 9:00 am in the Parlor. Adults from the 8:00 & 10:00 services gather for discussions that are relevant to their lives through the lens of a current topic and scriptural references. This week's discussion outline can be read or downloaded below.
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
- When have you felt discriminated against, intentionally or not?
- Is it ever ok to make rules or laws that benefit the masses but inordinately harm a minority?
- Do you believe that it is true that there is no distinction between people in God’s eyes since all of us are imperfect?
In the News
Both Parents Are American. The U.S. Says Their Baby Isn’t.
James Derek Mize is an American citizen, born and raised in the United States. His husband, who was born in Britain to an American mother, is a United States citizen, too. However, the couple’s infant daughter isn’t, according to the State Department.
She was born abroad to a surrogate, using a donor egg and sperm from her British-born father. Those distinct circumstances mean that, under a decades-old policy, she did not qualify for citizenship at birth, even though both her parents are American.
“It’s shocking,” said Mize, 38, a former lawyer who lives in Atlanta with his husband, Jonathan Gregg, a management consultant. The couple received a letter denying their daughter’s citizenship last month. “We’re both Americans; we’re married. We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn’t be able to be in our country.”
At issue is a State Department policy, based on immigration law, that requires a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth. That is generally not a problem when couples have babies the traditional way but can prove tricky when only one spouse is the genetic parent.
The policy has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid lawsuits arguing that the State Department discriminates against same-sex couples and their children by failing to recognize their marriages. Under the policy, the department classifies certain children born through assisted reproductive technology as “out of wedlock,” which triggers a higher bar for citizenship, even if the parents are legally married.
Other cases include a married Israeli-American gay couple had twin sons in Canada using sperm from each of the fathers, and an Italian-American lesbian couple in London, who did not use a surrogate for their two children, instead having each mother take turns carrying and giving birth. In both cases one of the siblings has been granted citizenship while the other has not.
The State Department, which has emphasized that the policy applies to opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike, declined to comment, citing pending litigation. But in practice, advocates say the policy has a particular impact on same-sex couples. “The State Department is effectively saying our marriage doesn’t count,” said Adiel Kiviti, 40, another father who said that his child’s citizenship was recently called into question. “If you aren’t going to afford us the benefits of a married couple, what’s the point of giving us the right to marry?”
Though the state department policy governing surrogacy and citizenship is has the unintended consequence of harming gay couples, there are other laws that are much more explicit in their discrimination. Federal law does not expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in fields like employment, housing, and access to services, and fewer than half of states offer explicit protections for LGBT people at the state level. Without these protections, LGBT people across the United States lack clear recourse and redress when they are fired, evicted, or refused service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Against this backdrop of legal vulnerability, lawmakers who oppose marriage for same-sex couples and recent moves to advance transgender equality have led an anti-LGBT charge, pushing for, and often succeeding in getting, new laws that carve out religious exemptions for individuals who claim that compliance with particular laws interferes with their religious or moral beliefs.
In recent years numerous states have considered and enacted laws that permit people to infringe on the rights of LGBT individuals and their families to the extent they believe that discriminating against them is necessary to uphold their own religious or moral beliefs.
These laws and bills vary in scope. As has been widely publicized, some would permit people to refuse to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies or to provide goods and services related to such weddings. Others, less widely publicized, would permit child welfare agencies, physical and mental health providers, businesses that serve the public, and other actors to refuse service to LGBT people and other groups. Some argue that such legislation immediately endangers LGBT rights and threaten the broader principle that people should not be refused goods and services solely because of who they are.
Together, the failure of most states to enact nondiscrimination protections and the growing number of religious exemption laws leave many LGBT people with little recourse when they encounter discrimination. While these exemptions are almost always couched in the language of religious freedom or religious liberty, they directly and indirectly harm LGBT people in a variety of ways.
More on this story can be found at these links:
Twins Were Born to a Gay Couple. Only One Child Was Recognized as a U.S. Citizen, Until Now.The New York Times
Tennessee DA says gay couples are not entitled to domestic violence protections.TheHill.com
Here are some Bible verses and a question outline to guide our discussion:
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
but an accurate weight is his delight.
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Prayer for the Human Family (BCP p.815)
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.