(As I write this, another article about the churches in a small town refusing to allow the funeral of a young man, simply because of his sexual orientation crossed my feed. I had to stop and take a break, in order to avoid allowing anger to colour my writing.)
Before we begin, let me start by saying this is NOT an attack on Christianity. If I was more versed on other religions, I would include them in this blog.
How, exactly does an ex-Christian human rights activist respond to “Christian love?” By putting those two words in quotations, I’m talking about the vitriolic hatred and bigotry thrown out so may by Christian extremists like Mike Huckabee, the American Family Association, and their former mouthpiece, Brian, (who we definitely haven’t heard the last of.) and of course our buddy Pat Robertson, who hates everyone who’s not an old, ‘Murican, Christian man, like him. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time, or brain cells quoting these “loving” individuals, we all know what they’ve had to say, and continue saying.
First, some personal background. I grew up in a Christian family, I counted myself as a believer for the vast majority of my life. Sadly, I watched the faith I grew up with, one that taught Love, change to a religion that preached that anyone different was to be treated with distrust, and even to be hated. This was one of the major reason I turned my back on faith, and religion as a whole. When Canada’s Supreme Court was hearing arguments about Marriage Equality, more than ten years ago, pastors, ministers, priests, etc., were shouting from their pulpits about how gay people were out to destroy Canada. The “sanctity” of marriage was being threatened. Read the headlines in states where Equality is being debated, they’re the same tired arguments that we had here. Extremists have claimed ownership of an institution that vastly predates their religion.
Throughout my life, I was taught to treat others the way I would like to be treated. This has stuck with me. It’s my conviction that everyone deserves respect, has value, and has a reason to be here, on earth. I give to, and support others, not because of a promise of reward, (eternity in heaven) or the threat of punishment if I don’t, (eternity in hell) but simply because it’s the right thing to do. This is the only life I’m going to get, I want to make the best of it.
So, how do we answer them? We do it by picking up the weapon they throw at us, and using it as a shield. For every one of the six bible verses that speak (in certain interpretations) against homosexuality, and Equality, there are a number of verses that speak of Love. Let’s look at a few.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
I’ve spoken about this verse in a previous blog. In my opinion, this means unconditionally loving each other. Jesus didn’t say “Love one another, except people whose lifestyle you don’t like.” He simply said “love each other,” wholly, completely, and without condition or exception.
Mark 12:30 “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Again…wholly, completely, and without condition or exception. Yes, admittedly, there are things about ourselves we may not “love” completely, but as Christians, you are commanded to Love your neighbor. You’re not allowed to pick and choose which neighbor you love, just told to love them ALL.
John 8:7 “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Who, among the huge number of “Christians,” is without sin? No body. Not one. ‘Nuff said.
Matthew 7:1-3 “1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Who are you to judge? Who are you to decide what is and isn’t a “sin?” How dare you? How can you put yourself in the place of the god you purport to follow, and decide the fate of another person? If you’re looking for something negative in people, look no further than the closest mirror. You have no qualms about calling out other people’s differences, yet you can’t even see the faults in yourself. This is a verse about karma. That which you give out, will come back to you. Try to remember that.
Matthew 25:40 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
This is the big one. This is the one that these Christian tyrants seem to forget. He’s not just talking about the good things you do for people. This isn’t just about how you lift people, about what sort of, in any, charitable work you do. This is also about the damage you do. If you belittle, degrade, or harm another person, you’re doing the same thing to the one person you claim to follow. So for every LGBT church member, or the members of their family, you bar from your churches, for every gay or transgender whose funeral you refuse to allow in your church, for every kid you force into “conversion therapy,” you’re doing the same thing to Jesus. Is that what you mean to do?
These verses are in my opinion, the real definition of what it is to be a follower of “Christ.” The people that truly live by them are to me, what Christians should be. On the other hand, people who use their translation of the bible as a weapon, deserve no respect. It infuriates me to read that women should be kept in their place, their reproductive rights should be decided by a male dominated government, that LGBT people are “less than” and don’t deserve the same rights as straight people. (Comments like these have been stated by a number of “men of God.”) What inspires me, is the (slowly) growing number of people of faith that are openly supporting Human Rights. (of all kinds)
Cory Booker said it best: “Before you speak to me about your religion, first show me in how you treat people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children.”
My addition to his quote: “Show me you DESERVE to be called a Christian” and someday, I might want might want to be called one again, too.