Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Days Facebook Went Red

I used to have two facebook accounts, one for church and one for me.  It was a way for me to maintain boundaries.  I was not being dishonest or not real, I was myself in both and had many friends who were on both.  It’s just there’s something you talk about in church, and some things you talk about with your friends.

Recently I decided it was too much time and work to go on both and I was missing relationships with everyone so I switched as many people as would come over to just one.  And I learned to make lists for who would see what posts.  I have my crazy liberal list.  And my parish list.  And my no politics list.  I am kind of outspoken and like to talk about things but I don’t want to alienate people in the parish who don’t share my views.  I have facebook friends I have pretty much hidden because their political posts annoy me and I did not want to be *that* person to others.

Then came the day everyone was changing their profile picture to a red equal sign in support of marriage equality as the Supreme Court took up the California Prop 8 and DOMA .  And I had to make a decision. 

When you change your profile picture everyone sees it.  And I knew not everyone in my parish would not appreciate it.  But this is the thing.  When my former parish was all up in arms about the ELCA Churchwide decision to allow those in same sex relationships to rostered leadership I took what I thought was a measured and “neutral” position.  I did put forth the argument for full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT people but did not necessarily advocate for it.  I talked mostly about the importance of our unity being in Christ, not our position on this issue.  And I still suffered and lost my job.  Neutrality didn’t help anyone.   I might as well have been more outspoken for all the good being neutral did me.

I have a lot of unchurched friends on facebook, many of whom have had bad experiences with the church when it comes to being judgmental.  And I decided that it was more important that they see a Lutheran Pastor advocate for  rights for all people, than worry about offending some church members who think their pastor must agree with them.    So I went red, along with most of my facebook newsfeed.

Funny the only pushback I got was from my young Wisconsin Synod great-great niece.  I still used my lists because I didn’t think it was necessary to be in your face about it.  I made my stand known. 
Did going red influence the Supreme Court?  No.  Is it enough to change your profile picture or posts memes to work for justice?  No, of course not.  But sometimes a red profile can mean a lot to people.  It did this week.  And I’m glad I went red for couple of days.


  1. When we moved from red state Kansas to Seattle last fall I was very happy to join a Reconciling in Christ ELCA congregation. But I had to come to terms with publicly supporting R74 (Washington's Marriage Equity referendum) because I want churches to stay out of politics. Then I realized they had been dragged in by antis who said "Christians can't support gay marriage."
    Here is the pastor of my church.

  2. I'm not into changing my FB pictures at all, so I didn't do that. But I will say, I'm amazed that among my church (and churchy) acquaintances and relatives, only two are taking positions publicly against Gay marriage. The little Bible Study group I attend is all grey haired ladies and they are very open minded to supportive of gay marriage. The people I know on FB who are against it are also the people who post the most outrageous fact-less things about politics. I am open minded enough to WANT to read well written pieces from other points of view, but quite frankly, a number of the more conservative sources for political "facts" are as holey as swiss cheese.