This is what it’s come to. Christians who insist on talking about “the full message of Jesus” instead of sticking to the message of Pat Robertson (or James Dobson, or Michael Farris, or some other anti-gay, anti-woman pretender of your choice) must be jettisoned. Because we just can’t go there.
The Rev. Joel Hunter, on why he was forced to resign from the Christian Coalition’s presidency before he could be installed:
“My position is, unless we are caring as much for the vulnerable outside the womb as inside the womb, we’re not carrying out the full message of Jesus,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday. “They began to think this might threaten their base or evaporate some of their support, and they said they just couldn’t go there.”
The message of Jesus is threatening to “the base.” Of the Christian Coalition. That can’t be good.
Hunter said he made clear from the moment that [current president Roberta] Combs approached him about the job in April that he wanted to pursue a broad agenda of “compassion issues.”
“I hope we can break out of ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative.’ I’m not sure when compassion became fitted under ‘liberal,’ ” he said. “There are many Christians, especially in their twenties and thirties, who don’t care about liberal and conservative. They just see that if you’re going to love your neighbor, you have to address things like the environment.”
Hunter did not get the memo explaining that compassion is for sissies, not Christians. No, no, no, Rev. Hunter! That ‘love your neighbor’ stuff is just “Sissy Christian” propaganda! Here’s how real, muscular, manly Christians run things:
Faced with rising public acceptance of same-sex relationships, three U.S. Christian denominations are taking strong measures this week to condemn homosexual acts as sinful.
These include a Roman Catholic directive to discourage gay people from making “general public announcements” about their sexual orientation (huh?) and a new policy adopted by the North Carolina Baptist Convention that allows them to “investigate complaints that member churches are too “gay-friendly.”
The decisions are part of a mounting backlash in many U.S. denominations against church groups whose stated goal is not only to welcome but also to “affirm” gay congregants. For many religious groups, the biblical injunction to hate the sin but love the sinner is no longer sufficient, because many believers do not view homosexuality as a sin.
Those pesky believers.
Here’s what one of the hundreds who found the move objectionable, but were unable to derail it, had to say:
“It seems so contrary, at least to me, to the picture and posture of Jesus in the gospels,” Nathan Parrish, from a church in Winston-Salem, N.C., told the assembly. “Jesus’s life and ministry were marked by radical hospitality, openness, vulnerability, humility. By contrast, the Baptist State Convention is recommending that we . . . magnify the message that certain types of people, as well as their friends and perhaps their fellow believers and family members, are neither welcome nor worthy of a place at the table of this community.”
You can see that the anti-gay authoritarians who have hijacked Christanity for their own social engineering purposes have a serious problem. This person, and others like him, have clearly been reading unauthorized sections of the Bible, as well as doing unauthorized thinking and observing. As far as the pretenders are concerned, what is needed here is some corrective patriarchal discipline, which these “strong measures” are intended to provide. (What should we call the pretenders? Andrew Sullivan suggests “Christianists” to distinguish them from Christians. They don’t like it, for whatever that’s worth.)
In case it isn’t already obvious, it is when an idea is losing strength that those who derive privilege from it will find it necessary to take “strong measures” in order to maintain its dominance. An idea that is generally accepted without question, an idea that reflects the real world that people experience, an idea that is generally beneficial to society, does not require this degree of intervention. The lesson here is this: The idea that GLBT people are inferior or sinful or broken is not an idea that can be maintained at this point without “strong measures.”
Need more evidence? Finally, USA Today (!) weighs in with an op-ed by a Baptist minister,
When religion loses its credibility:
Galileo was persecuted for revealing what we now know to be the truth regarding Earth’s place in our solar system. Today, the issue is homosexuality, and the persecution is not of one man but of millions. Will Christian leaders once again be on the wrong side of history?
You know, facts are stubborn things. I wonder if any of our opponents can engage these questions without resorting to rhetorical devices – such as claiming, directly or indirectly, that GLBT people don’t really exist. How do you reconcile the material facts – that sexual diversity has not only always existed throughout human history, but is a regular condition throughout the animal kingdom – with the specific condemnations of certain same sex conduct found in some religious texts? A writer asks this question in a recent letter to the editor: Why would a loving God create people in such a way that they must violate these religious proscriptions in order to live with integrity? It’s a good question, worthy of serious consideration.
Does God make mistakes?
When something occurs with such regularity in nature, does it not seem just a little odd to label it “unnatural”?