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Loving the patriarchy

So, I just read this article about a Methodist reverend who performed a wedding for his gay son, against church doctrine, and is now facing disciplinary action from his church because of it.  Reading through some of the comments at the bottom of the page got me thinking.  I am a believer in civil disobedience. That is, if there is a law which is unjust, we citizens have the right to disobey that law solely for the purpose of making the statement that it is unjust.  For example, in some places it is illegal to collect rainwater (it was illegal in Utah until 2010).  This is a ridiculous law.  I think it would be perfectly justifiable for an entire community to get together and all collect rainwater at the same time.

What I find to be odd, though, is that people try so hard to fight against a patriarchal order that they are only a member of voluntarily.  In this particular case, I speak of the Methodist church.  But in general, nearly all churches.  Churches have a tendency to be authoritarian.  That is, the leader speaks and everyone else follows.  In fact, the Mormons say "When the prophet speaks, the thinking is over."  There isn't room for disagreement.  There isn't room for dissent.  That's just how the organization is set up.  Now, if that was the doctrine that the government was trying to push on us, I would say, hey let's get out there and civilly disobey.  But we're talking about a church.  You can leave a church.  You can say that you no longer subscribe to the doctrines it teaches and therefore you wish to exit.  And then you can exit.  There's no requirement to stay.  Legally, you are allowed to leave at will.

Why, then, do people stay when they disagree with the authority?  A similar thing happened just recently with the LDS church.  A group of people got together and made a big deal about the fact that no woman had ever prayed in the church's semi-annual worldwide conference.  In this case, the church didn't actually have a policy in place (at least, not anywhere formal or visible) that women could not pray in this meeting.  It was simply unprecedented.  So, they actually had a woman pray this last conference.  But some of the same people who were pushing for this prayer are also pushing for women to be able to have the priesthood.  Like most churches, the LDS church only gives the priesthood to men.  Women have never held it.  What I don't understand is why stay in an organization that discriminates against you?  If you believe that the leaders of the church are inspired to receive revelation from God, then do what they say.  If you don't believe that, then get out of the church.

And the same goes for this reverend.  If you think that you should be able to perform a wedding for a gay couple but your church says that you must not, then why not leave your church?  Why not join a church which allows for gay couples to be married?  Or just start your own church and perform  weddings for gay couples?  Or just not belong to any church at all, and practice your faith in whatever way you personally deem appropriate?

It's hard for me to understand why people submit themselves to authoritarianism and then blatantly defy it.  You're the one who chose to be in your church.  You should accept their doctrine or leave it.  If you don't believe in your church's doctrine, why are you in your church?  If you do believe your church's doctrine, why are you fighting against it?  In a way, this kind of feels like Stockholm Syndrome, but in the reverse.  With Stockholm Syndrome, prisoners of war were found to have developed sympathy for their captors.  In that case,  it was people who were forced into a relationship against their will but then developed feelings of sympathy toward their captors.  In this case, church members are in a relationship at will (they have decided to be members of their church) and yet develop feelings of resentment, hostility, or rebellion against their chosen leaders.

I mean, if I had a choice among several different regimes of government and I could choose which one to be subject to--without even moving my residence--and I was unhappy with my current one, I would gladly drop out and switch to a more pleasing one.  So, why not do so with religion?

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