Davina Kotulski

Bell, Book & a Candle to Light the Way

Filed By Davina Kotulski | April 17, 2013 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: 7th Day Adventists, Diane Linn, Gavin Newsom, Jason West, Jimmy Creech, Mabel Teng, marriage equality, Ryan Bell, straight allies

Ryan Bell, the Senior Pastor of the Hollywood Adventist Church, an evangelical, Seventh-day Adventist congregation was asked to step down last month. Ryan-Bell.jpgBell has served the church for eight years and was asked to leave due to his support of marriage equality and his association with other 7th Day Adventists who believe that it is time for the church to broaden its acceptance of LGBT congregants and their families.

Bell has spent his entire life devoted to his spiritual community. However, he realizes and acknowledges that "sometimes people grow in ways that are incompatible with the institutions they have been a part of."

This is clearly becoming the case for many 7th Day Adventists (both LGBT and straight allies) who cherish the traditions of their religion, but part ways with archaic traditions and views on social issues; including the exclusion of women from church leadership roles and acceptance of LGBT people. The progressive factions of the 7th Day Adventist church are truly at odds with the patriarchal majority.

I applaud Bell, a straight ally, with a wife and two children, for his willingness to take a stand for love and equality even at great personal expense. It is this kind of leadership and integrity that moves mountains. It takes tremendous courage to stand up for what you believe in and yet if we don't muster up the courage our world will not change. I invite us to look into our own lives and ask ourselves "Have I taken a stand today for what matters most to me or have I chosen to play it safe and not rock the boat?"

Where would we be today in the marriage equality movement if straight allies Gavin Newsom and Mabel Teng hadn't taken a stand for marriage equality in San Francisco? What if Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, New York and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane Linn of Portland, Oregon couples had made their careers and following unjust laws more important than equality and real justice? What if Methodist Minister, Rev. Jimmy Creech, defrocked for marrying same-sex felt it was more important to follow church doctrine than to recognize the love and beauty of same-sex love and commitment?

It is important that we remember the names of these brave straight love warriors who have been willing to take a stand for LGBT equality and are still dealing with hardships from the fall out of these decisions years later. Please hold these wonderful people in your thoughts and to remember their heroic acts of love and equality and please hold Ryan and his family in your thoughts and prayers. You will truly never know how much your support means to them. Remember our straight allies need us too!

You can read Ryan's letter of resignation here.

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