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Saving Christ from the Christians

by Linda Ketner
One of my past girlfriends was Jewish and used to laugh at the contradiction between my unbridled regard for Jesus and my utter disdain for southern Christianity. I’d be carrying on about how embarrassed Christ must be for the actions of those damned Christians and she’d say, “There she goes again, trying to save Christ from the Christians!” I’d really like to make a bumper sticker, “Save Christ from the Christians,” but I don’t want my car keyed.

In April at Passover and Easter time, lots of us went home for family get-togethers and many of us were encouraged to attend churches or synagogues that denigrate us. Beth and I refused to join the rest of the family at Mom’s Sanctimonious Temple of Homophobia and went to a neighboring and supportive church. There was no fight about it because this war had ended and a negotiated peace reached several years ago.
But those damned Christians, they do aggravate the hell out of me and sometimes keep me up at night. Last night for instance. At 1:38 a.m. I awakened apparently unfinished with the Leonard Pitts article I read yesterday (scequality.org/resources/
newsroom). Paraphrased, Pitt said:

“I’ve had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists. By which I mean people … who dress their homophobia up in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it’s not homophobia at all … Yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you’d be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside.

“Meantime, people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass murdered in Darfur. Where is the Christian outrage about that? Just once, I’d like to read a headline that said a Christian group was boycotting to feed the hungry; or pushing Congress to provide the poor with health care worthy of the name.”
Amen Leonard! How in the world can such hateful and judgmental people lay claim to the world’s greatest social activist? They’ve perverted every remarkable thing about Christ; and, they’ve similarly perverted LGBT people.

The entire Bible mentions homosexuality maybe seven times (I say maybe because some of the translations have been challenged) … but it mentions greed, quite specifically, over 200 times. So, if you really were a biblical literalist, that would make God’s priorities pretty clear, wouldn’t it? You’d pay 30 times more attention to greed than to us “maybe-mentioned-and not-at-all-by-Jesus or Moses” gays and lesbians?! Right?
If Pat, Fred, Jerry and friends really are led by God’s priorities, shouldn’t they be unleashing hurricanes, terrorism and a giant meteor on the greedy?! Wouldn’t they warn America about those greedy gerts who unashamedly flaunt their perversion and are a menace to this nation? Wouldn’t they attend funerals of the greedy and wave placards, shouting “God Hates The Greedy”? Now, that’s something that might respond to conversion therapy!

Hyperbolic? Well sure. But, sometimes you just gotta laugh!

Growing up in the traditional church, though, it hurt too much to laugh. We heard and heard and heard how despicable we were, and we were alone with that. It’s hard to find God when the “anointed” among you tell you that “God is not for you.” It’s hard to grow up feeling the love of God if you’re gay because you get no help. No help from family, no help from friends, no help from school and no help from religion.

It’s transforming, difficult, more complex, richer and deeper. For the very reason that traditional sources to find God aren’t available to LGBT people, when we do seek God, God often touches us directly. Religion isn’t the unquestioned, social thing that it is for so many of our straight brothers and sisters. It’s a real and living thing when we find God, a soul thing, a spirit thing, a particularly beautiful thing.

It’s unfortunately all too rare because few in our religious traditions will nurture our spirit as LGBT people.

Why must most religious people try to keep us from one another, delude our families and separate us from the God that made us? It’s positively evil, shameful, unbiblical and nothing less than a sham for good old unvarnished bigotry. It’s time for all truly spiritual people to stand up and against the hypocrisy of it all.

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