Man. I’m even further behind now. This is a bad stain on my once-a-day deal. My bad. I will definitely get at least two up today, hopefully all three. …not that anyone reading this after the fact knows what I’m talking about because I always backlog these things… Let’s just pretend I’m a Time Lord and leave it at that.
So, I can’t remember if I told you guys, but I ended up in a bit of a verbal brawl over my Thanksgiving break. I kind of expected it, truth be told. This wasn’t the prettiest election, and the disdain for President Barack Obama ran high among conservatives, which my parents are. This election was also the election of bringing up ridiculous, unnecessary, irrelevant and occasionally completely fictional stories in attempts to smear candidates. Sure, it happens every year, but the birther thing? The “Obama’s going to send in UN troops” thing? Seriously. It got ridiculous.
But, of course, my parents are conservative. And I’m, well… not. So, on the drive to my grandma’s, I ended up verbally combating both of my parents with the occasional assist from my older sister. I’m pretty sure I was doing well on my end. Had it been a presidential debate, I like to think all the papers would’ve said I won, partly because my parents often adamantly refused to actually source any of their claims… but we all know that’s not how things work in the debates, sadly. One of the subjects my parents were wholly unable to accurately back-up was the claim that religious freedoms are being and will be squashed under Obama.
Ignoring how “religious freedom” extends beyond Christianity and the argument is easily made that many non-Christian religions have suffered obstructionism in the more Republican and religious areas of the United States, the idea that Christianity is suffering under Obama is silly and I said so. They of course bring up several superfluous things, like Obama asking Buddhists to pray and yadda yadda… and eventually, the subject of homosexuality got brought up. Which pretty much confirmed to me that, were I gay, I likely would’ve been disowned by my family. I hadn’t heard my dad’s side on that particular subject before, but he definitely lost respect from me when he suggested homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because they’re pedophiles.
I couldn’t really comprehend where this animosity and disdain was coming from… except I know exactly where it comes from. And it isn’t the Bible. It was interesting how, when I said that the Roman Catholic Church’s Catechism (my dad being Catholic) specifically states that homosexuality is not a sin, my dad got more upset saying I was wrong. I eventually clarified my point (or, you know, repeated it) until he agreed (because it’s true), but he was still very against the idea. And, while I avoided getting into a Scriptural-based argument, it’s been my experience that most that think homosexuality is anti-Christian simply use the excuse “The Bible says so.” Occasionally, you’ll get someone quoting Leviticus, or Jesus talking about man and woman skipping off into the sunset to marry or whatever. They usually can’t get into specifics or details. So, it basically boils down to “someone told me the Bible says so.” And that someone is usually a pastor, or just a church body in general.
So, imagine my surprise when one of the (admittedly more sensible) pastors of an American megachurch, Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, admitted that perhaps some of the animosity and hatred toward gays, some of the negative – and occasionally violently so – atmosphere they live (or not) through might be the fault of churches.
See, here’s the thing… churches have gotten into the nasty habit over the past, oh, probably couple thousand years of demonizing certain sins. Lying, for SOME reason, was always pretty safe… but adultery, witchcraft, divorce, they all went through the ringer. When people were convinced that the Bible placed whites as superior to blacks, animosity and disdain followed. Violence, a poisonous atmosphere where sin and sinner both became equated with evil to not be tolerated, to be cast out. And while many of those other stigmas have faded or lessened, homosexuality stands still reviled.
I feel like I’ve talked about this before… but maybe if more churches stopped and said, “What are we doing?”, things could be better. Maybe if people focused on teaching the message of loving and tolerating everyone, no matter their flaws, the sort of stuff Jesus did, maybe that toxicity would dissipate. And maybe more people would actually think Christianity isn’t such a terrible idea.
But what do I know. I’m clearly a socialist, atheist heathen on a fast track to hell. And it’s not like the Bible ever said “Love thy neighbor as thyself” was the second most important thing for Christians to do. But it sure would be nice to have more pastors follow Warren’s lead. Then, maybe, churches could actually focus solely on doing good without spreading bad.