Well a religious fanatic is actually an idiot so there you go!
When a group of Christians try to implant through government our beliefs on others as superior, that subverts the basic constitutional prohibition concerning separation of church and state. And when we try to use the federal government to intercede in religious affairs, it inherently weakens the unique character of Christ’s kingdom.
– Pres. Jimmy Carter
In Autauga County, Alabama, Rev. Anne Susan DiPrizio was arrested for carrying out her duties as a Unitarian minister. And not one champion of the so-called “religious liberty” movement has said a word.
Not one word
And that is where the lie of that movement is exposed. It isn’t about “religious liberty”. It’s about “religious restriction”. It is about making sure that the law of the land reflects evangelical Christian orthodoxy and nothing else.
If your denomination doesn’t believe what the evangelical Christians believe, YOU ARE NOT FREE to act according to the tenets of your Christianity. You must act according to the tenets of evangelical Christianity, in this new world.
Evangelical Christians dictate to the Government and the Government dictates to the Churches what they must believe and how they must act. Rev. DiPrizio found out what happens when you act according to your faith and not someone elses.
That is the world the “religious liberty” movement is trying to build
Their success is one more step on the road to a theocracy. A theocracy run by people that believe the Earth is only 6,000 – 10,000 years old. We simply can’t afford to be led by stupid people.
Anyone that makes a “religious liberty” argument against governmental recognition of same-sex marriages is either a liar or a moron. It’s up to you to figure out which.
If you think your religious freedom requires the freedom to hurt other people, you’re wrong.
That’s not religious freedom. That’s freedom to bully.
I hate bullying.
And so does Jesus.
Father Warren Hall was removed from his position at Seton Hall University for supporting the “NO H8” campaign. Father Hall says that his post was directed at the overall concept of not hating others rather than specifically targeting the hate that Gays suffer daily. A change.org petition has been started calling for his reinstatement and looking to get 10,000 signatures.
A most worthy cause
I can’t/won’t sign this petition because I am not a Catholic and I believe that religions are free to hate anyone they choose. If I were Catholic, I would sign. If you are Catholic, I beg you to sign and support basic Christianity in your religion.
If you don’t have the same compunction as I, PLEASE SIGN
I believe that any rule the hierarchy of the Catholic church comes up with is a proper rule for the Catholic church. If Catholics disagree with the rulings of their leadership, it is up to Catholics to fix it or go elsewhere. Outsiders insisting that Catholics follow the rules and norms of society will not help anyone. In fact, it will only serve to cause the leadership to dig in their heels.
Honey, vinegar, flies…you know the drill
However, as with this case, I often believe those rules are in direct conflict with the rules for being a Christian as articulated by Christ.
Even for those who believe that the words of Christ are of no special import (an attitude held by Christians and non-Christians alike), it is clear that the Lord of the Bible is not a Lord of HATE. Even if one believes the Bible outlaws homosexuality (which it doesn’t), it is still clear that Jesus offers salvation to the homosexual and heterosexual under the same terms:
- Hear the gospel
- Believe in the one God
- Repent of all sin
- Confess Jesus as Lord
- Be immersed in water for the remission of sins
There are no additional steps for those that are attracted to folks of the same sex. No secret ceremony. No payola that needs to go to the church leadership. No special handshake. Not one thing more.
So what’s the hang up? Why are Christians fighting Christians about this? What has led people that supposedly have read the Bible to find justification for hate and discrimination in there? What madness has infected Christians so much that they plead with the government to allow them to openly discriminate against Gays with a vehemence that was previously reserved only for Blacks?
And, most importantly, why are Black Christians at the forefront of this Christian hate tsunami? It all seems so complicated.
The answer lies in the middle of a classic joke told by the inimitable, Richard Pryor.
It is the very real need to have someone, anyone lower on the social totem pole that drives so many Blacks to support discrimination even though we are more than familiar with the pain and suffering that discrimination causes. In Mr. Pryor’s joke, it was the Vietnamese. Today it is homosexuals
The lingering effects of slavery and it’s rape culture (heterosexual and homosexual) continue to drive the attitudes among Blacks. Many still live lives of separation and segregation that differ only slightly from slavery or Jim Crow. The belief that there is someone worse off than they are keeps them going. And, whatever it is that makes them worse off, has to be an indelible characteristic that can’t be changed or removed. It has to be part of the person’s very being.
Society has to make that characteristic so unappealing that even the people that have it, try anything and everything (up to, and including, suicide) to rid themselves of it. They must be forced to believe that they aren’t “normal” and if they just tried harder they would be. Of course, that isn’t true.
Clergy, who have a financial stake in keeping Black Christians ignorant, make sure that they keep the sense of victimhood necessary to keep them looking for someone, anyone lower than themselves.
Separate and unequal
Homosexuals are ready made for the role of low man/woman on the totem pole. They are traditional victims (like Jews, Blacks, Armenians, etc) and, to a certain degree, have become familiar with that role. The Bible is twisted to support this hate (like with Jews, Blacks, Armenians, etc.) by those who benefit from keeping the majority of Black Christians misinformed of the true message of Jesus the Christ.
No. He wouldn’t. Can you still consider yourself a Christian (a follower of Christ) if you do? No. If you follow Christians but not Christ, you are a Christianist. Christianists have no claim on salvation. None.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
– Jesus Christ
Unless these Christianists treat themselves with the same hate and derision that they treat homosexuals, they do not follow Christ’s “greatest commandment”. They follow hate and it’s Father.
It really is just that simple.
“The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.”
– Pres. Jimmy Carter
President Carter is simply telling the truth which Christians, as with the rest of God’s message, must accept or continue to reject at their own peril. I’ve chosen to accept this truth.
Watching my Christian brothers and sisters reject it is heartbreaking. However, the allure of tradition – especially tradition that supports and justifies the current power structure – is strong.
Biblical support for war, slavery, racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and a host of other human failings has been created by Christians over the centuries. Usually, this support is based on either Old Testament writings OR twisted readings of scripture. In either case, the support is in direct conflict with actual Christian teachings.
Ignoring information that doesn’t support our own prejudices is a time-honored human tradition AND against the teachings of Christ.
And it is wrong
Whether you are a Christian or not. But especially if you are a Christian.
The ability to lead others to Christ depends on the ability to model His behavior IN YOURSELF accurately. All Christians are called to let people see the love and kindness that Jesus Christ showed all of us with His life and sacrifice. It is this that God refers to in Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.
It isn’t the physical image of God that mankind was modeled after. It was the spiritual image. And, more specifically, it is the kindness and love and caring of Christ that defines the image we are created after. And, as with Christ, part of the image included freewill.
It is this freewill that allows us to be loving (or hateful), good (or evil), fair (or bigoted), true Americans (or racists), men (or misogynists). It is God’s greatest gift AND most dangerous. It is the means by which we can lose the salvation given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Denying the character of Christ by suppressing the image of Christ in which we were created is the same as denying Christ. To quote 1 John 2:3-6
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
When you find the story of Jesus discriminating or hating or denigrating others, let me know. When you find the story of Jesus treating women as less, I’ll change. And, until you do, let’s focus on the fact that modeling Jesus wasn’t a suggestion. Following His commandments was required. And the greatest of those commands was:
Love your neighbor as yourself
It really is that simple. I’ll continue to take the advice of 1 John 2:6. I’ll continue to look at things through a Jesus-shaped lens.
You might want to consider doing the same.