Another said the announcement indicated an ailing culture.
Reactions from clergy to President Obama’s statement that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal generally followed denominational beliefs on gay issues.
â€œI think it’s fantastic,â€ said the Rev. Jane Florence, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Omaha. â€œI think he (Obama) has struggled with the issue. It reflects the idea that people can learn and be transformed.â€
On the other hand, the Rev. Curt Dodd, senior pastor at Westside Church in Omaha, said he was â€œdisappointed that we have a politician trying to define morality from a governmental view.â€
Dodd said the president’s endorsement â€œreflects the darkness of our culture that is self-focused rather than God-focused.â€
â€œHallelujah!â€ said Rabbi Aryeh Azriel, senior rabbi at Omaha’s Temple Israel. â€œPraise God! … I’m absolutely overjoyed. It’s about human rights.â€
Pew Research Center polls show that among Catholics and white mainline Protestants, roughly half now indicate support for same-sex marriage. Fourteen percent of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, according to Pew.
The Rev. Chris Alexander, associate minister of Countryside Community Church in Omaha, expressed support for Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage.
â€œThe gay community should have the same rights as anybody under the law,” said Alexander, whose congregation belongs to the United Church of Christ. â€œIt’s a legal issue, not a church issue.â€
But Obama’s position drew concerns from the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Rev. Karl P. Ziegler, senior pastor at First Lutheran Church in Papillion, a congregation that’s part of the Missouri Synod, traditionally a more conservative branch of the Lutheran faith.
Ziegler said the president’s support â€œreflects an opportunity to secure a voting bloc.â€ Ziegler said he does not believe God condones same-sex marriage.
â€œMy concern is that for thousands of years, we’ve defined marriage as between a man and a woman,” he said. â€œThere is an arrogance to our age that says it’s time to do things differently.â€
Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, said: â€œWe are disappointed. The definition of marriage was created long before there were any governments. Neither the church nor the state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.â€