Pastor Susan Brecht Speaks Out Against Prop 8

November 19, 2008

Rev. Susan Brecht, who received her MDiv from PSR in 2004, speaks about her activism in support of same-sex marriage and against Proposition 8. The church at which Brecht presides, Community Church of Atascadero United Church of Christ, is a member of the Coalition of Welcoming Churches. The text of a letter she submitted to the San Luis Obispo Tribune follows.


November 4th was an historic night. This country took a giant step forward in electing the first African American president. Sadly, California took a step backward in writing discrimination into our state constitution with the passage of Proposition 8.

This letter is to all you people of faith who voted “yes,” and to all who mourn as your civil rights are revoked. I write as a Christian minister who actively worked against the passage of Prop. 8.

Years ago, an agnostic, bisexual friend of mine began attending church, and for the first time in his life acknowledged the existence of God - until one Sunday when the minister preached on the sin of homosexuality, equating him with rapists and pedophiles. One sermon drove my friend out of the church, reversing the tentative steps he had taken towards a relationship to God and a community of faith.

I fear that with the prominent role of clergy and churches in the passage of Prop. 8, more of our GLBT brothers and sisters will be driven even farther from the joys of knowing a loving God in the context of a faith community.

Why would they risk walking in the door when they’ve been told they are second class citizens, when they’ve been told by your churches that their love for each other is somehow different from yours, and should therefore be denied the same status and recognition, when they’ve been told that God blesses your covenants of love and commitment, but not theirs? You’ve shut out a whole segment of our community in the name of God. I don’t believe God would approve of that.

My denomination, the United Church of Christ, has a motto, taken from Gracie Allen; “Never place a period where God has placed a comma, God is still speaking.” I ask those of you who supported Prop. 8 to listen a little harder, with a more open mind and heart. Maybe you’ll be able to gain a new understanding of God’s command “to love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do onto you,” and put it into action.

Meanwhile, I say to my GLBT friends; the God I know and love loves you and hears your cries. God created all of us equal. Some of us are still in denial about that. Don’t give up. Struggles for equality in this country have never been easy. There are many people of faith standing in solidarity with you. The California Council of Churches opposed Prop.8. Here on the Central Coast the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations welcome you with open doors and open arms. God is still speaking. Help us to hear.