- by Julie Ross -
Let me start out by saying I believe in Jesus and what Jesus has done, but like so many others my age, I just no longer identify with the Christian community. Why some Christians treat the LGBT community with such vitriol is beyond me.
Growing up, I attended Southern Baptist church services with my family at the start of each week. In my Sunday dress, I would listen attentively and even take notes. I enjoyed hearing the grownups talk in their southern drawls about how, even though the world was spiraling downward toward hell, they were blessed to know where they’d be sent on Judgment Day. As I grew older, however, the blind faith I had in some of my elders’ long held, "scripture-based" beliefs began to fade. One thing became increasingly more puzzling to me about even some of the most astute followers of God…their seemingly selective memorization of Bible verses. It reminded me of when I was younger and my mother would yell at me from another room that it was time to go to bed. Strangely, I could never hear that request. But every time she called me for dinner, I could hear as clear as a bell. It’s as if our ears, like our memory, have the capacity to filter out information that is inconvenient, unimportant, or undesirable to us.
Obviously one can’t remember every single verse in the Bible. But what baffles me are the verses that some Christians choose to remember in lieu of others. What is it that makes those select verses about homosexuality stick in some Christians’ minds? So much so that they focus harmful judgment or even will passionately scribble hateful slurs on giant pieces of cardboard, attach a wooden stick to it and march around en masse.
Being a child born in the early 80s, I’ve witnessed firsthand the rapid rise in divorce and materialism. Even though the Bible teaches about these topics as well, it seems the same Christians who are so focused on attacking homosexuality seem to overlook these “sins”.
In Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18, we’re told if we divorce our spouse and marry someone else, we commit adultery. 1 Corinthians warns against divorce, but states that if you get one anyway, you must remain unmarried afterward. The Bible is full of verses heralding the sanctity of marriage. And yet, people still continue to leave the confines of holy matrimony. If homosexual haters remembered reading about this, wouldn’t they be waiting outside divorce courts to remind the newly separated of their sin?
In the book of Matthew, we are advised not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth. Proverbs 22:16 warns that “He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.” Hebrews 13:5 says to “keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.” However, I can’t help but notice the amount of Mercedes and BMWs in the church parking lot or churchgoers at shopping malls after services. Or the many Christians who vote for politicians that make it a priority to protect the interests of the rich at the expense of the poor. Why aren’t they angrily chastising corporations who use sweatshops or other unfair labor practices to amass wealth? Why don’t they scream hateful epithets at them as they leave their offices?
To be clear, I don’t want the newly divorced to be harassed by Christians (or anyone else). I don’t even want materialistic shoppers to have eggs thrown at them upon leaving the mall (I promise). Here is the thing… when I think of the Church, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “anti-homosexual”. That is not a community I want to identify with. When they focus on homosexuality while overlooking divorce, that just makes them hypocrites. Why are some Christians so focused on being anti-homosexuality?
To answer that question, I’d have to ask another: What is this really about? Is it fear? The fear that God is going to rain down hellfire and brimstone upon the United States because we allow two people of the same sex to love each other? Or is it about money? The whole “if gay people can marry then they’ll be wanting the same tax and health benefits as everyone else” argument. I could maybe understand that sort of blind selfishness from someone who’s never heard that we should “love thy neighbor as thyself.” But what is the point of being well-versed in a book so full of scriptures guiding us on how to love unconditionally, if you’re only going to remember the ones that cause you to judge and hate?
What’s probably more important than my asking these questions, is for those who hate people who are homosexuals to ask these questions of themselves instead, and maybe do some soul-searching to find the answers. But if that becomes too difficult, then I would hope they would fill their minds with verses on love so there’s no space left for ones that cause the opposite. Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,” seems like a good start.
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Born and raised in Florida, Julie moved to NYC almost ten years ago to teach school. After teaching for five years, she took a hiatus from the profession in order to focus more energy on the band she's the drummer of. After working numerous (seventeen, to be exact) odd jobs since leaving the teaching profession, she got a taste of what life is like for so many hard-working but poverty-stricken Americans. She also had more time on her hands to spend reading and was inspired by the writings of activists like Saul Alinsky and David McTaggart. Social and environmental activism have now become as much of a passion for her as music.