In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Get the @#$)&#$ Out of My Church

Writer Pam Harrison has a good handle on what the fundies in the Religious Right are all about. I think one could sum it up by citing a verse in the Bible -- one of the ones that start with "Hypocrites!" She's absolutely right when she says they concern themselves with casting judgement on others and concocting lists of potentials sins -- leaving no time for performing good works. If that's what their churches are about, perhaps it's fortunate they don't want to make a place for fair-minded Americans. We're far too concerned with matching word with deed to ever be able to fit in.

Holiness and Homosexuality

"I believe that even the testimony of Scripture is far from clear on this subject."

-- The senior pastor of Elizabeth Stroud's church, the Rev. Alfred Day III.

The big GLBT news of the past week has been the report of the lesbian pastor Elizabeth Stroud in Pennsylvania being defrocked and a Lutheran church in California being stripped of its status because of lesbian pastor Jenny Mason. America has been handed yet another example of the fact that this country and its religion are only reserved for straight people. The rest of us can, I suppose, get the bleep out. It reminds me of my childhood when we set up our tree house club and only let in certain kids of the neighborhood. Unlike the Religious Right, we learned our lesson from this bit of childhood discrimination very quickly: Once you kick everyone out, there are not enough people left in to have any fun. It gets boring when you have only a couple of kids left in the tree house staring at each other. Everyone else has taken their toys and moved on. And you sit there looking stupid.

You¹re damn straight -- pun intended -- that I¹m calling the Religious Right immature and intolerant in these dealings. According to nearly every religion, God or the Gods created us all, but we seem to have taken it upon ourselves to decide whom God favors over another. From the time the first cave people trembled in awe at the majesty of a thunderstorm, there has been religion: the reverence for the power of a higher being. Many of the greatest minds of ancient times were devoutly religious according to their own faiths, but their homosexuality was not regarded as spectacularly worth harping about until the AD era. ... Sin, ethics, and morality -- all these have been redefined many times over in the course of history. The bottom-line basis of religion is that everyone is basically good; and if we¹re not, then we damn well should be. Religion defines and sets the limits and expectations of our ethics and morality. Being self-righteous, on the other hand, carries its own little bit of baggage.

...I found this little goodie on a Churches of Christ website: ³We are attempting to accumulate as complete a list as possible of all of the sins that are mentioned in the Bible and the biblical reference locations of each sin. We feel this list will be of great help to those studying sin as well as help those who may read it to find out what the Lord considers sin so that they may avoid itŠ Our goal is to bring the greatest possible glory to God.²

...They¹re too busy nitpicking over defining sin to do the good works God asked them to do. In my Bible, there are about 378 listed sins, by chapter and verse. Everything is a sin according to the Bible. Taking pride in your own accomplishments is a sin. Standing up to an abusive spouse is a sin. Standing up to authority is a sin. Trust me ­ according to (the King James translation), if you¹re breathing, you¹re a sinner.

By the way ­ all the Angel Trees in our local stores are still stuffed with angels waiting to be sponsored. It seems our Christian community is too busy chasing homos out of its church to actually be setting a good example for the needy this Christmas. Maybe the poor aren¹t fashionable this year, either. While they¹re busy foaming and ranting about who is more deserving of Jesus¹ love and spending all their collection money on pretty new churches, I think the GLBT community needs to take the opportunity to help a needy child and buy up these angels. That¹ll show Œem. -- Pam Harrison

Read the entire column here --> http://www.outinchicago.com/arts/speakingof.asp


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