Religious leaders split over 'profound' turning point
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide marked a historic day for some people of faith, but a dire turning point for others.
Some Metro Detroit religious leaders saw the decision, which voided bans in Michigan and 13 other states, as a tragic milestone in the evolution of society.
"It's a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family," said Monsignor Michael Bugarin, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores. "It's a tragic ruling. The court is wrong, and the court's decision is not going to stop public dialogue."
But the nation's highest court, in a 5-4 ruling, ruled that same-sex marriage is right, and a right available to all Americans.
Even so, leaders contemplated how future generations will look back on the day for a barometer of the nation's ethos.
"It is disappointing to see that our society is taking a sharp turn toward what I believe is nothing short of moral decadence," said Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, former spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Wisdom in Dearborn. "By legalizing same-sex marriages, we are setting the wrong values for generations to come."
Not all religious leaders agreed.
Rabbi Mark J. Miller of Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills called the ruling "long overdue."
"Our concern has always been for strong families, strong communities and loving relationships," Miller said. "This was an affirmation here in America that we all want the same thing, and I am glad it is now available for everyone."
Within Reform Jewish communities, Miller added, same-sex marriage was embraced long ago, and now society has finally caught up.
"It's an interesting turnabout, unlike when often times religion feels like the older and more ancient viewpoint," Miller said. "In this point, modern society is catching up with our viewpoint."
Not for all faiths though. Mohammad Ali Elahi, founding imam of Islamic House of Wisdom, said it wasn't that long ago that homosexuality was regarded as a form of mental illness, and now couples can marry.
"It shows the shocking speed of change of culture in a generation," said Elahi. "... From Adam and Eve until now, we have had one definition of (marriage), and that is the union between the man and woman. The oldest definition of this institution in history has totally changed now."
Pastor Christopher W. Brooks does not believe the justices made the right decision, though he said he respects the ruling.
"But this presents Christians with an opportunity to show love and compassion for those we disagree with," said Brooks, who leads Evangel Ministries, an evangelical church in Detroit.
"The story of marriage in America is a long story," Brooks continued, "and this is just one additional chapter in this story, although an important chapter. My prayer is that our nation is going to turn back to a traditional definition of marriage."