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Outside the Supreme Court: Clashing religious views

March 5, 2009 |  9:33 am

Lanow_prop8ontrial_4 A clash of religious perspectives was on display outside the San Francisco Civic Center plaza this morning.

Beneath a giant TV screen in front of City Hall, Bishop Yvette Flunder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ exhorted the crowd at an interfaith prayer service to "thank God, everybody."

"Your bigger God, much bigger, than the small religious boxes that we put you," she declared. "We ask you for the freedom today ... freedom to have our relations boldly without fear of reprisal."

Lynn Gardner, an intern minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, rocked out to a choir singing the hymn "I Ain"t Afraid."

"I ain't afraid of your Yahweh," they sang, as Gardner snapped her fingers and waved an "I [heart] my wife" sign. "I ain't afraid of your Jesus. I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God."

Gardner, whose wife is also a minister, said she came out to the plaza because "my faith calls me to be here, because I believe in equality."

Across the plaza, contractor Ruben Israel of Los Angeles was also demonstrating his faith. His sign declared that, "Homo-sex is a threat to national security."

And his exhortations, delivered via bullhorn, were even less equivocal. To the justices, he shouted: "When you stand before God, you won't have the ACLU to protect you."

And to the same-sex marriage supporters, he warned: "Where was the tolerance of God during the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you think God is all-forgiving and loving and tolerant, where was the tolerance of God when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?"

-- Maria L. LaGanga