“Sara, just look at your face! It’s filled with hate!”
My face was screwed up in disgust as my virginal mind, not yet all that excited about the mechanics of heterosexual intercourse, envisioned ‘unnatural’ male homosexual acts.
It hit me as a blow to the heart, the gut, my self-righteous, “pure” sentimentality. The oft-quoted “love the sinner, hate the sin” (not a Bible verse, FYI) had failed me, and I was embarrassed.
My beloved high school teacher was on the side of the friend I was hotly debating, though she said next to nothing. She somehow gracefully but abruptly ended our discussion the rest of the class had watched, confused, and we moved on. I was swirling with emotion. I’d acted on my teachings and loyalty to Christian roots, what seemed a natural view of the world based on humanity’s inarguable need to procreate and useful bonding between lifelong spouses, but I felt awful. I couldn’t shake the look on the face of my longtime friend, mirroring mine in horror at what he saw.
I remain ashamed. I’m ashamed that the faith with which I identify has assumed a most hateful expression of hatred for beautiful people in our shared society, and that I was ever party to that type of expression. An unwelcoming, judgmental, disgusted group so indulgent in its pulpit position of finger-pointing that the rest of the world sees as hypocrisy. Jesus weeps.
It’s not all Christians, of course. Many of those who have stepped out to promote and defend legal and societal equality have faced persecution from within the walls of their churches. The broader Protestant church as a massive entity has chosen to “take a stand” for all the wrong things, with much loudness and to great financial expense. It stinks like a whitewashed tomb.
What remains odd to me is the perception of staunch church people that somehow marriage equality, or even GAYness, exist as an affront to church freedoms. I attended a service a couple of weeks ago where an elderly woman was proudly wearing a t-shirt with a section of the First Amendment printed on the back. Congress shall make no law… in classic red, white, and blue.
Crazy that that’s come to mean – “for us, not you heathens.” Not you, Muslims. Not you, atheists. Not you, scary, scary gays. Crazy that the perception of persecution for those in the church has created a huge chip on our shoulders that easily translates into lashing out, holding members of groups of all kinds as some kind of enemy threatening the hallowed, God-selected Church.
Growing up, my tiny community thought I was a nice girl, but kind of weird. Offered drinks but refusing, friends would say, “Yeah, I didn’t think so, but thought I’d offer!” I was different. I went to church, had occasional boyfriends or dates, but didn’t have sex. I played sports, chess, acted and sang, but among all those student interactions I was a little odd. Friends in crisis often trusted me and sought me out, but I didn’t “fit in.” I was teased, but nobody ever physically beat me up for being a Christian. My adolescence is NOT an example of PERSECUTION. Every kid feels out of place for some reason or other.
People in China and parts of the Middle East are being killed for their Christianity. My dear American Christians: you cannot relate being thought of as “different” to being physically beaten, or threatened, or demeaned as are some LGBT youths – some kids who may or may not be gay – though you of all people should show the most compassion for intolerance. You’re turning the First Amendment, to which you clutch so desperately for personal agendas, on its head. It’s disgusting, and it’s the opposite of being Christlike in a world that needs love. It’s one of the worst examples of co-mingling Church and State.
Our mandate is love. “Christian” means “Little Christ,” which you know if you’ve spent measurable time in Sunday School classes or church services. Jesus’ recorded words don’t address homosexuality. When the stakes are so high, why don’t we just go ahead and err on the side of love when interacting with all people, all of whom were made in God’s image?
Or… what Jesus would do?