That more people are not scandalized by the Conservative Movement's great silence on Proposition 8 is only a sign of how irrelevant we are: no one really expects to hear from us on any of the pressing moral issues. We've long since stopped making a differnce; why should anyone look to us for leadership now.
Still, the more I've thought about it the sadder I am that I didn't hear anything on it from my Chancellor or my Rabbi. And so I've been trying to imagine the sermon I would have like to have heard. I think this might have been part of it:
You know, my Judaism isn't threatened when people who have very different practices and beliefs call what they do "Jewish" and my marriage won't be threatened by my knowing that somewhere two men or two women are calling what they have a marriage. My marriage isn't threatened, my children aren't threatened, my family is not threatened by the presence of other adults trying to live as responsible caring partners. Their love will do my household no harm.
But what might threaten my marriage is my own fear. You need to be big-hearted to love well. You need to be open to your partner's strangeness, you need to be open to your children's weaknesses. To be a good lover, you have to love to be surprised.
I don't think that most of the people supporting Proposition 8 are evil people; but they are scared. They didn't ask for that fear, they didn't invite it in, but they have spread. They encourage their fear, they even celebrate it, because that's how fear works. But it's that fear that really poses a threat to our marriages, because fear tells us that surprise is bad, that difference is bad, that strangeness is bad. When we give into fear our hearts contract; they grow hard shells to keep the scary surprising strangeness out. And we become less able to love anyone with our shruken, heardened hearts.
I don't know exactly what it means to say "God wants;" I'm not even sure I know what it means to say "God". But I know that whatever it means, I have a hard time believing in a God who would rather us be small-souled. I think if God wants anything it is that we be big and as unafriad as possible, that we be brave and open and loving. And to welcome all those others who ask nothing more than to be allowed to be brave and open and loving as well.