An Open Letter to Chesterfield Voters: Reject Article 37.


During the fellowship hour which followed service on Sunday, a parishioner pulled me aside and let me know of some of the going ons with the annual town meeting in Chesterfield, NH.

 As many of you know, I am not a resident of Chesterfield.   As such, I have no voice or vote in any town proceedings.  Yet despite this fact, Chesterfield feels like home.   I am proud of the people, the spirit, and the heart of this small community, and I find myself continually challenged and encouraged by the example of those I meet.

 Unfortunately, there is, what I believe a vocal minority in the town, who have been successful in adding an item to the Town Warrant, that should be unthinkable to the citizens of Chesterfield.    Article 37, of the current town warrant is calling on Chesterfield, to draft a resolution and forward it on to our State’s Government to once again reopen the debate on same sex marriage.  The only conceivable purpose of such an initiative is the desire to overturn the law recognizing same sex marriage by the state of NH.

 From what I understand, this Article was added by petition, from those who believe they are basing their argument on the teaching of our faith.   As such, I feel it my responsibility to offer up a contrary opinion.   I also point out that I write this as a person of faith, and not as the voice box of the church I serve.  

I will be at the meeting on Tuesday night to have my presence remind others, that not ALL people of faith are in one accord on this subject.

 Please read the following open letter to the citizens of Chesterfield, NH;

 A Call to the Citizens of Chesterfield, New Hampshire

March 9th, 2010

To the Voting Citizens of Chesterfield, NH,

It is my intention that this letter, serves as a call to the citizens of Chesterfield, NH to reject Article 37, of the current town warrant. Article 37 would require a resolution in the name of the citizens of Chesterfield be forwarded to the State House of Representatives and the State Senate, calling for a statewide vote of New Hampshire citizens to define marriage. It is my belief, that this article, is a vainly disguised attempt to reverse House Bill Number 73, which legalized and recognized same sex marriage in the State of New Hampshire.

Recognizing that within this community there are many positions on this issue, Chesterfield is faced with a challenge. No matter the course of the vote or debate at this meeting, the citizens of Chesterfield share the duty of standing together and deciding the message that best reflects the common spirit of our community and the collective soul of this town.

Throughout our nation’s history, people of differing faiths have found themselves on both sides of most civil rights debates, and as such there are never simple solutions or easy answers. Despite this reality, it is precisely these moments where we have an opportunity to determine, for ourselves, the message that we as a community deliver. Too often, is has been those with the loudest voice or biggest soapbox, that have done it for us.

Although I serve as Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, I did not write this letter on their behalf. Instead I approach this issue as a concerned member of this community and a person of faith. I am compelled to take this opportunity to affirm the position of faith that declares it wrong to discriminate or deny to any of our committed neighbors the right to enjoy the legal, financial, and family protections afforded to them in the right to marry.

Although many would like to turn to the teachings of our faith as the basis for their stand against HB73, it is important to recognize that many who embrace those very traditions, find opposition on faith grounds to be the result of a distortion of what we truly believe. We affirm that the use of only select scriptures to deny marriage to our gay and lesbian neighbors, ignores the full message of our faith. As such, we can not idly stand by as those practices reach our doorstep. In fact, many of us believe that our continued silence in the face of these uncharitable and unchristian assaults on the humanity of our neighbors, is the greater threat to the future and framework of this community.

I urge you to listen to that smaller voice as you enter into discussion on this article. Allow the voice that drives your actions in determining right and wrong, to drive you in the manner in which you vote on Article 37. I sincerely hope that this is not the message that Chesterfield decides is the most reflective of who we are as a people and as a community. Let us be people who err on the side of healing and equality, rather than division or fear.

 Again, I strongly urge you to vote no, on Article 37, on this years town warrant.

 Your in service to this Community,

Scott Masters

pastorscott2007@yahoo.com

 I strongly urge the voters of Chesterfield to consider the content of this letter, and to come out to support the defeat of this Article on Tuesday night.   A special thanks is due to the United Methodist Reconcilling Ministries, for some of the verbiage used in this letter.

For those interested in more details on the Article or on House Bill 73, please visit the following links:

New Hampshire House Bill Number 73 -Final Version

The 2010 Chesterfield Town Warrant

The official website for the Town of Chesterfield, NH

A PDF Version of the Above Letter

An Important Discussion of the Faithful Support of Same Sex Marriage Washington Post

 

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4 Comments

  1. Super interesting post! Truely..

  2. If only more than 44 people would read about this..

  3. pastorscott2007

     /  June 8, 2010

    Thanks Bethany!

  4. pastorscott2007

     /  June 8, 2010

    Thanks, and I agree!

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