Cook: Domestic partner theology

Cook: Domestic partner theology

August 8th, 2014 by David Cook in Opinion Columns

David Cook

David Cook

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Times Free Press.

But don't you understand?

God is gay.

G ... a ... y.

Yes, God is straight too, but you already know that. A straight-God-theology drove thousands of you to the voting booth Thursday, striking down the ordinance to give benefits to the domestic partner of city workers.

Said it was an matter of faith.

Said it was about upholding the Constitution.

Said it was about honoring traditional marriage.

But I don't really believe you.

I think it's about fear. Fear of difference. Fear of being around men who like men and women who like women. Fear of trusting in love over legalism.

"Do not fear," Jesus said.

OK, I won't, so I'll say it again: Yes, I believe God is gay ... and straight. And black, white, left-handed, deaf, blue-eyed, elderly and fluent in Cantonese.

In other words, God is everything.

In other words, everything is God.

To suggest gayness as present in the divine is not radical theology; rather, it's quite basic. All major religions subscribe to a God-as-Creator model, which means that any and all parts of created life — from red wolves to the death cap mushrooms to peonies in bloom — originate from the divine.

I don't mean this literally, that God takes the actual form of a great white shark or a Cherokee purple tomato. Think bigger: all parts of this beautiful created world dwell under the Very Big Tent that is God, whom St. John called "the alpha and omega."

Including straight people.

Including gay people.

Yet for the oh-so-longest time, gay Chattanoogans have been subjected to a form of insulting perjury. From pulpits to editorials to petitions, the message has been this: You are less than us.

So you can't marry. You can't parent. You can't have benefits. Because you're not fully human.

It's like a new version of the Three-Fifths Compromise - gay folks, worth only 60 percent of straight Chattanoogans.

"You are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you," God says in Isaiah.

Do you think those words are only meant for straight people?

(The religious author Reynolds Price once suggested that Judas was gay, and betrayed Jesus after being spurned, when Jesus drew closer to Mary Magdalene than Judas.)

Thursday's defeat of the domestic partner benefits ordinance is a hollow victory, the last gasp of a drowning man, the final stride of a tired horse.

Gay marriage will be legal in Tennessee by 2020, sooner if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the side of gay couples who are now suing, claiming the right to marry is constitutional.

Look at Florida. Not that long ago, they voted to ban same-sex marriage.


"Public opinion has shifted so sharply that Florida's savviest political players overwhelmingly see an end to that marriage ban looming," writes Adam Smith in the Tampa Bay Times.

While writing this column, as if on cue, an email arrived with an online album of a friend's wedding pictures from, well, nowhere close to here.

Bottles of red wine on blue tablecloths. Candles, cut hydrangeas, oysters on the half shell. There he is, smiling and handsome.

And there's his husband.

They're holding hands. Cutting up with family and friends. Saying their vows. Kissing.

"It was a great event," he told me.

In John's Gospel, Jesus goes to a wedding.

He'd be at this one, too.

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.