Sunday, May 17, 2015

A (somewhat edited) Blog Repost on this International Day Against Homophobia:

I do not like it when Christians who oppose LGBTQ equality are accused of "hating" or being "homophobic." I used to be one of those conservative Evangelicals, so I think I understand how many of them feel. They do not hate or fear LGBTQ people. They fear God. They carry a perception of the wrathful Old Testament God who will destroy cities or nations if "sin" is permitted (in the Hebrew scriptures, the "sin" which provoked such divine reprisal included idolatry, intermarriage with Gentiles and not thoroughly slaughtering other tribes). Attempts to reconcile this ancient tribal wrathful God with the universal God of love and inclusion that Jesus represented tend to create a sort of cognitive and spiritual dissonance. We see that, for example, in the way that some Christians claim to follow the Prince of Peace while supporting war and torture.  And when it comes to LGBTQ persons, I would suggest that most conservative Christians don't hate and fear them--they really do want to love them and, in fact, think that they already are loving them. But their "love" is warped and twisted by fear of God's wrath.  They believe that God (the tribal, wrathful God) will bring down destruction if LGBTQ people are accepted. They have an earnest desire to be faithful and obedient to what they perceive God's will to be, but their image of God creates a barrier to loving as Christ loved.  It is a mindset that is actually very similar to that which was held by the Pharisees in the time of Jesus. Their problem was and is theological and the solution is a deeper revelation of God's all-encompassing love, mercy, grace, compassion and inclusiveness.  This revelation would, in turn, open up a greater understanding of scripture beyond reading it as a set of rules and stipulations.  The irony is often lost on these devout believers that the strident and legalistic manner in which they are attempting to follow Jesus has caused them to look and act very much like Jesus's arch-opponents, especially when it comes to the treatment of God's beloved children who are LGBTQ.


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