Being Religious in 2015

A Baptist pastor, Catholic parishioner and a lesbian couple sat down with News 25’s Shelby Myers to discuss the hardships of holding to their religious faith in an ever-changing America.
For many Americans, faith is the cornerstone of their everyday lives, a moral compass that guides their beliefs about what’s good and bad, right and wrong. So, what happens when ones faith clashes with a constantly evolving society? Those who are ardent in their faith often find it harder to balance the two. Handsboro Baptist Church Pastor Joey Bennett said, “It is becoming more difficult to stand for what you believe because the people that you stand and it seems to be against, and let’s just use that word, are people that you care about, people that you see every day. It is members of your own family. It is becoming more difficult to clearly define a Christian world view.”
On June 26th, with a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, sparking a controversial debate, dividing even those of the Christian faith. Many saying it is unbiblical, like Kim Davis, the clerk refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, believing the government ultimately disregarded her faith in making that decision. Others preach tolerance. So, where’s the answer? Catholic parishioner Chris Spear said, “There are areas of life where the church needs to have a strong, unfettered voice and it feels like the state is more and more saying ‘You don’t have a say in this. You don’t have any ability to come into this area. Stay out.’ And that’s really where it’s starting to become some serious conflict.”
When the pope paid Philadelphia a visit, Spear was there, eager for guidance from their top leader on how to stay true to Catholic values without going against the laws of the land.
But if it’s difficult for those regarded as more “traditional” in their faith, it gets more complicated for members of the LBGTQ community, like Jenn and Jena Pierce. Both Christian, lesbian, and married, they both once found it nearly impossible to be Christian and lesbian in America but they are making it work. “A lot of LGBTQ people think that they need validation and permission to be Christian and they don’t. It’s not hard to be a Christian anymore because I don’t allow it to be a problem because I don’t need anybody’s permission,” said Jenn Pierce.
Feeling unwelcome by churches on the Coast, the couple travels to Hattiesburg every Sunday to worship at Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church, a church inclusive of all people no matter their beliefs. “I think that it’s going to take a deliberate effort on the part of Christians to extend a warm welcome to others,” said Jena Pierce.
While a Baptist preacher, Catholic parishioner and a lesbian couple may not have much in common besides their faith, they also agree on one thing: bridging the gap between mainstream culture and keeping their faith must be a task showcased to others through love and not hate. “People can talk to each other. It’s when we don’t talk, it’s when we make blank statements, it’s when we shut our ears to what others have to stay that we cannot relate,” said Bennett.

Categories: Local News, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *