This one is hard for me. Not because I have trouble voicing my opinion…but because this issue is so rooted in fear and hatred of the gay community. Strip away all the rhetoric and what is left is fear at its weakest and hatred at its strongest, neither of which is an acceptable motivation in my book. Scripture teaches that the opposite of love is fear, so that is where I stand first and foremost. Regardless of where anyone of you stand on the issue at this moment, which is a freedom richly fought for and celebrated in this country, level heads must prevail…which is easier said than done. I know that. I’m not the one fighting for my self-respect. What I do know, is that I have many dear and beautiful friends who are gay whom I see as naturally no different from any of the other dear and beautiful heterosexual friends I have. Sexual orientation isn’t something I even recognize so by extension regarding love, marriage and children I see no difference. Period. Except I know that in society there is one. I know social media is rife with profile picture changes and scripture quotations making a clear unwavering stand for their positions on the issue. So how do we come together? We talk, we discuss, we challenge old judgments and work together, and for my part as a Christian…work together as the body of Christ.
When I hear people quote Scripture as an indictment against homosexuality, I wince. Most often because the words are taken literally out of history and out of context. For example, I did question someone when they quoted the first chapter of Romans to me about the literal word of God, but balked when I challenged them on their view on gun control. Jesus did tell us to love our enemies and turn our swords into plowshares after all. I really wasn’t trying to be a smart ass…really I wasn’t. I did want to support the notion that it is dangerous when you use scripture to justify a bias literally on one issue and disregard it in the next. I also challenge all of you who use Romans 1:24-32 to continue reading to the next chapter where Paul admonishes people for judging…you will be judged by the same measure with which you judge others. Never mind that Paul in the first chapter was talking about the state of Rome under Nero, after the edict of Claudius expelled all Jews and converted Jews out of Rome…that he feared for converted Gentiles who lived there that they were falling into old pagan practices. Never mind that the wickedness that Paul lays out in verses 29-31 could describe any one of us…so to heap all those horrible qualities on just gay people is ridiculous…period. I also believe that to take Jesus words in Matthew as an indictment against gay people is just short of blasphemy… yeah, I said it. Jesus was being tested by the pharisees about divorce as a means to find something to use against him, as they often did. Jesus spoke to the hardness of the people themselves as a reason for divorce. He went on to make sacred a union that in his time was often unfair to women, who had no voice, were considered chattel, and who could be dismissed by her husband if the marriage was unsatisfactory. To use the beauty of a verse that celebrates love into a tool that indicts gay people renders its message void, especially since the verses that follow have Jesus blessing the children, entering the kingdom of God by loving God and your neighbor as yourself and concluding with how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven. It’s curious how few take the verse “Go and sell all you have and follow me” literally…not that I would either, I’m just saying.
Jesus spent his whole ministry challenging the notion that we get to pick and choose who we love, and who we should treat with respect. He spent his time with those whom society rejected and he often berated those that held positions of esteem…because it is wrong to use position and power to keep others out. He is the corner-stone whom the builders rejected. He championed our eternal destiny by bearing our flaws. I can’t help but think, as Easter our most sacred day comes near, that we do him a dishonor when we focus more on judgement than we do championing love. Love, as I’ve stated before is so much bigger and more powerful than our limited comprehension of it. When it comes right down to it as Paul goes on to say in Romans…”There will be joy, honor and peace for everyone who does good…there is no partiality with God.”