If prayers winging their way to heaven bore light tracers, the skies over Washington D.C. would be a vast cross hatch of petitions flying off at cross purposes this week.
Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments in four cases on same-sex marriage. By June, they could rule that the right to marry is constitutional, or they could leave the door open to continuing state-by-state battles.
Launching from the right – figuratively speaking – will be prayers from traditional Christians fervently opposed to gay marriage.
And from the left will come prayers by Christians, Jews and others who seek marriage equality with equal fervor.
I don’t know if this is like petitionary prayer before during the Super Bowl, March Madness, the World Series or Stanley Cup.
During those sports mega events, people all say, oh, no, they’re not trying to park the almighty in their preferred team’s locker room. No, no, no. They are just praying for everyone to do their best and be healthy and safe.
Okay, so I’m just going to assume the very best of the prayerful who attended Saturday’s rally by the National Organization for Marriage – which invited the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, to lend his clout to their view that the Bible dictates one-man-one-woman marriage only.
And I’ll assume the same for those who attended Sunday’s National City Christian Church National Weekend of Prayer for the Freedom to Marry or who will join the flock at Tuesday’s Unite4Marriage equality rally at the Supreme Court.
Surely, all are praying that the Supreme Being guides the nine mortal Supremes – six Catholics and three Jews — to a wise ruling. (Meanwhile, religious leaders on both sides of the issue aimed to tilt the ruling, filing friend of the court briefs.)
But when the justices do rule, some folks who slipped partisan prayers into the mix — conflating God’s will with their own or with their church’s desired outcome — might be gravely disappointed.
That’s the thing about prayer, isn’t it? When you pray ‘God’s will be done,” you can’t just up and declare it wasn’t done when you don’t agree.