A Challenge to my “Family and Friends of Faith”

Ken challenge

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.”

Oh yeah…never.

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.



8 thoughts on “A Challenge to my “Family and Friends of Faith”

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  3. the writer, Ken asks, “Give me at least a bit of hope that there is some love left in the world.”. In answer to this I say to “Ken”, there is lots of love left in the world, but most of it has very, very little to do with religion and faith.

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  5. Dear Ken:

    I consider myself to be a person of faith, specifically a Christian, and I’ll be the first to admit a lot of the world’s ills and atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, including mine, and that too much hatred of “the other” has been fostered in the name of faith as well.

    I can’t tell you what percentage of Christians are tolerant of, or even supportive of, gay rights. I can’t claim its a majority, I simply don’t know. What I can tell you is I am one of those people, and although I’m not out shouting it to the rooftops (unless Twitter counts) like the awful homophobes who claim to be Christians, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. I know for a fact I’m not: I have frequent conversations with other people of faith who decry not only homophobia among our supposed ranks, but those who selectively apply Biblical teachings, such as ignoring their duty to care for the poor. And if I am both Christian and a strong advocate of LGBTQ rights, given my background, there must be many others like myself.

    I’m the child of two parents who grew up in the Evangelical South, pre-Civil Rights era South, and who were inculcated with some of the worst of the beliefs such an experience has to offer. They are both frankly homophobic, religious hypocrites, and at least moderately racist. They’re by no means the worst of their kind, but its bad enough. They have both frequently made comments that made me cringe with shame to be related to them. Likewise, I’m of a certain age well past the flush of first youth and grew up in an affluent heavily Republican area of the country not particularly noted for its progressive attitudes. Nothing in my familial history, my age, my hometown would make me a good candidate for pro-LGBTQ sentiments, yet here I am.

    I choose to believe in a loving and forgiving God, for whom all of mankind are his children, regardless of their religious faith. I refuse to believe in a God whom would condemn one of his children because of whom they loved on this earth. I feel nothing but contempt and pity for those pathetic souls who condemn the LGBTQ community and feel such irrational hatred and condemnation of them. (If I were a better Christian, I suppose I would forgive and pray for them, but pity is the most I personally can muster up for such people.)

    But more than that, let me tell you how I felt today, as the Supreme Court took another giant leap forward towards true LGBTQ equality. I myself am not gay, so I don’t have a “personal” stake in the outcome, aside from my personal beliefs. I celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision. I gloried in it, and am thankful that millions of LGBTQ Americans will have more of the rights they have been unfairly denied all these years. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy it makes me, or how proud I am of my country for finally acknowledging this right, or how much I long for the day when the LGBTQ community will be accorded every single right that other Americans enjoy and which they have been unfairly and immorally deprived the benefit of. I also cannot tell you how I abhor the bigotry, intolerance and hatred other so called Christians have demonstrated on this issue.

    Its easy in our sensationalist society for the worst and most abhorrent among us to grab and hold the headlines. Unfortunately the ugly elements in the country tend to feed off and amplify one another. I generally don’t go trumpeting my faith in public in part because I consider it a personal matter and I’m not trying to convert anyone, but also because many of my friends and acquaintances are atheists who feel nothing but contempt for my religion (and I can certainly understand and even empathize with many of their sentiments).

    But if I grew up with such strong favorable feelings on the subject, in spite of all the obstacles and impediments against it, then I am convinced in my heart I’m likely representative of a far greater number of religious people who not only accept, but celebrate the events of today, and eagerly anticipate further historical progress in the near future.

  6. Thank you. I appreciate that this is happening, and slowly happening more and more. My hope is that this sentiment balloons across the “religious” spectrum. (I don’t really see it happening, but I can hope.)

    • I understand your skepticism, and can’t say I blame you. But I too hope that this happens, and sooner rather than later.

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