Thursday, September 3, 2009


“I don't call myself a white supremacist. I'm a civil rights activist concerned about European-American rights.” [Statement by White Supremacist, David Duke.]

Let me rephrase the above statement as a professing Christian homophobe would likely phrase it: "I don't call myself a homophobe. I'm a Bible-believing Christian concerned about the well-being of the family and of our society."

Most everyone does what he or she thinks is the right thing to do! In this case, the issue is does the rhetoric and actions of professing Christians reflect the teachings of Jesus? Jesus said His disciples are to be humble, love other people, not judge other people, care for the well-being of other people.

In a secular vein, the question must be asked if it's rational for a person to defame and seek to discriminate against LGBT people, and seek to codify his or her prejudices into law, by demanding that a minority group's civil rights be up for grabs according to the will and whim of the electorate? Our Constitution and Supreme Court rulings have established that "separate is not equal" and that we have "equality under the law."

A minority group's civil rights cannot be decided according to the will of the people, lest there be a tyranny of the majority, something our founding fathers abhorred: hence we have a Democratic Republic (Representative Democracy) rather than a simple Democracy.

It is supremely ironic when an African American pastor feels free, as a professing Christian, to both advocate discrimination against another minority group; align him/herself with the mind-set of White Supremacists who in the not too distant past sought to deny African Americans equal rights, and who still defame them. This irrational irony was brought into sharp relief when African American pastor, Rev. Gregory Daniels of Chicago stated: "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them."

What homophobic Black pastors and their followers seemingly fail to recognize is that they are seeking to deprive another minority group of equal rights, just as many of those with whom they are aligning themselves sought to prevent equal rights for African Americans; they are aligning themselves with people many of whom wouldn't even associate with them if they weren't fighting on the same side in this LGBT civil rights struggle, a struggle not any less important than the struggle from which Black people profited by winning full and equal civil rights in the 1960's.

It is my contention that the same mind-set that existed (and, in many cases, still exists) among White Supremacists exists among homophobes who seek to deny equal rights to LGBT people! I heard much the same type of rationalizations and appeals to the Bible in the 1950's and early 1960's among those who fought against integration as we do today among professing Christian homophobes who seek to deny same-sex marriage and other civil rights to Gay people.

The profound, ultimate, tragedy is when many of those who profited from the African American civil rights struggle then turn around and seek to oppress members of another minority group, and even have the temerity to do so as professing Christians and clergy, do so in the name of God, and mimic the mind-set and much of the rhetoric of those who once oppressed their ancestors, and would oppress them again if they had the opportunity.

The following video [Thanks to Towleroad.] shows Rev. Harry Jackson's approach as a professing Christian to preventing same-sex marriage in both Washington,, D.C. and in most of the rest of the country. In light of the above discussion, its irony shouldn't escape any of us:

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Anonymous said...

I am a Christian, and I support Gay marriage. This does not mean I condone the lifestyle, but rather respect the freedom to not have to hold themselves to Christian doctrines just because they live in a predominantly Christian nation.
Christianity here in America is not a legalized national religion. This is not an accident. This is by design. People can freely choose to believe and are not forced into obedience. If one chooses to partake of a homosexual lifestyle, or is born with the desire to, then I see no reason to legally restrict it. I see a religious reason, but that is my religion, not theirs. Just as a vegetarian sees it immoral to eat meat and abstains, but does not force the dietary habits upon me, I respect that and choose to return the favor. I will stand up for people's rights, even for the rights I choose not to partake of, Gay marriage for instance. Christians outlawing Gay Marriage is like Jewish or Muslim countries outlawing pork... just because they choose not to eat it doesn't mean others should also be forced to abstain.
In the case of gay marriage, many Christians have failed to see the connection between freedom of religion and making laws on a religious basis alone. What is immoral for you, you must abstain from, but if it is no consequence to others, and makes sense only according to your religious scriptures, that freedom should not be taken away from others if it does not harm the rest of humanity.

To more effectively and less offensively get your point across to Christians:

*Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense: “For myself I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be diversity of religious opinions among us: It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness. Were we all of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter for probation; and on this liberal principle, I look on the various denominations among us, to be like children of the same family, differing only, in what is called their Christian names.”
Given this quote from one of the men that defines the true American spirit, Thomas Paine, it seems that forcing morality and restraining others freedoms on religious grounds is not compatible with the American spirit. America was founded on the principles of religious freedom. To abstain from a particular activity for religious reasons is fine, but when you make others abstain as well, when your safety and personal freedoms are not affected, that is tyranny and mob rule.

*Just as Christianity does not support Christians partaking of a homosexual lifestyle, it also does not support the forcing of Christian morals upon non-believers. (1Corinthians 5:12 to 13- For what have I to do with judging outsiders (non-believers)?...But those who are outside God judges.)
(That said, churches and religions should not be forced to bless or condone anything that is incompatible with their religious doctrines. This means that religious institutions still need the right to be able to choose not to endorse anything it does not approve of. For example, churches should not be mandated to perform gay marriages, in order to retain their religious freedom.)

*The greatest of all Christian morals is LOVE. To hate homosexuals is just as un-Christian as homosexuality itself. The greatest commandment a Christian has is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

*When Jesus walked this earth, He did not force people to follow Him, He invited. God invites, He does not force. What one chooses to follow on his own, he believes and does so freely. This is a much more authentic and intense belief than that of the man who was forced into conformity.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Anonymous: Yours is a very well reasoned argument! However, you state: "Just as Christianity does not support Christians partaking of a homosexual lifestyle...."
Being Gay is not a "lifestyle" but a "life!" We wouldn't say that Straight people have a "heterosexual lifestyle."
Actually, the Bible doesn't even deal with "homosexuality" as a sexual orientation, as that term wasn't even coined until the late 19th Century.
Also, Jesus alludes within the context of the issue of marriage to the fact that Gay people are born as God intended, when He says: "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb...." (Matthew 19:12) "Eunuchs" weren't only castrated males!
For an interesting discussion of this matter, see "Born Eunuchs: Homosexual Identity in the Ancient World, by Faris Malik.
Given your thoughtful assessment of the need for full and equal civil rights for Gay people, I hope you will read some of the links in the Links section of this blog where the issue of integrating Christianity with one's sexuality is seamless; there is no contradiction between being a disciple of Christ and homosexuality.
As Marcel Proust said, "We don't need new landscapes, but we have to have new eyes." We saw the truth of this insight with the Church's turnaround regarding integration and interracial marriage, and I'm confident that we'll eventually see the Church's similar turnaround regarding the "issue" of equal rights for LGBT people, including same-sex marriage.
There are some books you might be interested in reading in this connection: Rev. Peter J. Gomes, "The Good Book: Reading the Bible With Mind and Heart"; Rev. Troy Perry, "The Lord is my Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay"; Troy Perry, "Don't Be Afraid Anymore";
There are a lot of other books on this very subject that I think you would find of interest as well. Best wishes, Jerry.