Thursday, March 13, 2008


The late British psychiatrist, R.D. Laing, coined the term, "the mystification of experience," to denote how people can try to take a bad experience and seek to make it appear to be a good experience to others. Similarly, in the name of love, hate can be spewed; in the name of the Prince of Peace, condemnation of others becomes all too common; churches that are to be made up of all of God's children become private clubs and enclaves where exclusion of people by word and/or deed becomes normative; preaching and living out the Gospel of grace becomes twisted into legalistic institutions becoming enmeshed with some of the most reactionary forces in society; ministry to others comes to take second place to incestuous socialization and building beautification.

A young man wrote a heart-felt letter to Sally Kern (state representative for Oklahoma City District 84, whose husband pastors a church) who spewed hateful words about Gay people (see here) saying that they were more of a threat to America than are terrorists.

His letter to her was not allowed to be delivered by state troopers, so his uncle posted it on the internet. It reads in part:

"I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won’t be there. So I’ll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don’t want to be here for that. I just can’t go through that again.

"You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others."

[For the full article and letter, see here.]

Where are the professing Christians who are expressing outrage at this hate speech? Where are the churches that comprise the institutional Church in their condemnation of this kind of hate that heaps condemnation on our LGBT sisters and brothers?

The unfortunate fact is that what passes for "churches," just as what all too frequently pass as "Christians," have mystified the experience for all too many people by taking their prejudices, their hate-filled hearts, and have used words and sentiments to support, either by words or by silence, the Sally Kerns of the world who have been allowed to get elected to political offices, pastor churches, and attain positions of responsibility that allow them to have forums to express their hate.

"Christianity" as represented by most of the institutional Church has shown itself to be meaningless and dangerous, as so many of those who profess to be Christians either spew hate or keep silent in the face of hate and the oppression of others. Moreover, it is an indictment of most of the institutional Church that the kind of hateful rhetoric that Kern expresses resonates quite well with the hateful rhetoric expressed far too often from pulpits throughout the world.

And all Christians worthy of the name will condemn such hate-speech, be it from the mouth of a legislator or from the mouth of a clergy person.

And those who profess to be "Christians," by their mystification of the experience of condoning, even by their silence, such hate-speech, who equate being "church-goers" with being "Christians," will be rightly and finally consigned to being recognized as the two-faced, hateful, cowardly, phonies so many of them have already shown themselves to be.
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