Here is just a small sampling of some of the headlines I’ve picked out this week. Trust me, this is a small sample.
Bryan Fischer: ‘The Mark of the Beast Today is the Rainbow Flag’
‘Vatican Changes Actual Translation of Draft That ‘Welcomed’ Gays’
‘Top Vatican official tells parents to shun gay relatives’
‘Duck Dynasty’ Star: You Can’t Catch STDs from ‘Biblically Correct Sex’
Amongst these headlines, and the large amount of others just like it, can you guess how many I was able to find by religious people which did NOT promote hatred of another group? That’s right, none. Not a one, Zero. Zilch. Nada. Are you getting the point?
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some headlines that include acceptance from some smaller church bodies, such as:
‘Hillsong Church Pastors Won’t Speak Out On Gays Because Jesus Didn’t Either’
And the blogs released over the last few weeks, one from a Christian pastor and one from a rabbi explaining what they would do if they found out one (or more) of their kids came out. (Spoiler: They’d accept, and continue loving their children, no matter what.)
For the longest time, I’ve been attempting to get people who tell me “Not all (insert religion of choice here) are like that. There are many of us who don’t feel that way.” Whether it’s about gay rights, marriage equality, a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, any number of issues, it seems that the right-wing fundamentalist minority are the only ones we hear from.
When are we going to see a headline that reads:
“Vatican Opens Up to Gay Congregants.”
“Muslim Leadership Accept Women as Leaders.”
“Mormon Tabernacle Hosts Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony.”
I don’t expect the world’s religions to change overnight, but I would like just a bit of proof that not all people of faith are as hate filled as their extremists are. If you’re going to tell me that you’re ”not all like that,” do me a favour, put your money where your mouth is. Get together with your friends who are of the same mind as your, and start to make some noise. Hold very public rallies, telling the world that your particular faith group is truly one of love, that accepts ALL people, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual identity… and get yourself in the headlines.
Start a Facebook page that shows you ARE affirming.
We live in a world in which you can be a complete stranger to the world one day, and the next have innumerable people knowing your opinion, knowing where you stand, and from those, you can grow your base of people who “are not like that.” Telling me that since you’re not the pope, or some self-styled celebrity, or the head of an internationally known group is NOT a good enough excuse. Just look at my friends list for proof. I have the honour of being friends with incredible voices for rights, equality, and life. Five to ten years ago, nobody had heard these people’s names, and now they are known internationally. How? By standing up, and raising their voices.
This is my challenge to you, my family and friends of faith who are “not like the others.”:
Take a stand. Raise your voice, shout out to the world that not all people of faith are like the hate mongers that we keep hearing from. Prove to me that you believe in a religion of love. Give me at least a bit of hope that there is some love left in the world.