Saturday, February 27, 2010

MORAL COWARDICE AMONG MOST CLERGY WITHIN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH

Are we this stupid as a nation that we give a damn what some beauty pageant contestant thinks about her perceptions of the biblical roots regarding same-sex marriage?

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[Thanks to PopCrunch.]

How far are we willing to tolerate rank ignorance in the name of "free speech," when such "free speech" causes such pain and suffering to most LGBT people and their families?

It was settled a long time ago that shouting fire in a crowded theater does not constitute the right to invoke "free speech," and that is exactly what ignorant and/or hateful homophobes, be they clergy or not, are doing! They help reinforce a climate of hate in the name of free speech and, God help us, in the name of "religious freedom," and also ignorantly do so in the name of God!

When are biblical scholars and theologians who know very well that the Bible does not in any way condemn same-sex love going to take the risk of offending many of their congregations and clerical leaders, take the risk of losing power and/or prestige and/or wealth, and tell the truth that being Gay is just as morally normal and sacred as is being Straight?

We can't afford to have professing Christian clergy play it safe and put their careers, and the financial contributions of their congregations, higher on their agenda than is telling the truth that if one is homophobic he/she can't appeal to the Bible to defend that irrational prejudice!

To the degree that professing Christian clergy remain silent in the face of the oppression of Gay people, they are just as culpable in bearing false witness against Gay people as are those smug clergy and laypeople who ironically and tragically spew hateful rhetoric against Gay people "in the name of God"; do so by appeal to the Bible bereft of accurate translation and bereft of context of the select verses they choose to use to defend their preconceived prejudices!

So, in this bizarre and tragic scenario, we can have contestants in beauty pageants exercise their "free speech," and have clergy and theologians who know better remain silent and allow ignorance to win the day; allow ignorant and even hateful rhetoric from assorted clergy and others to monopolize the marketplace of ideas in both the religious and secular arenas in which the struggle for dignity and equal rights for Gay people is being fought.

The silence of professing Christian clergy, and their tolerance of prejudicial stupidity regarding Gay people by those in the religious and secular arenas, mimics the very same silence of most White clergy and laypeople that existed during the African American civil rights struggle.

Of course, homophobic statements made by clergy and laypeople are no less egregious than were parallel statements made by "religious" and secular White Supremacists in the U.S. not that long ago!

Because of moral cowards within the ranks of clergy within most of the institutional Church, we can tragically expect the institutional Church to, again, just as in the African American civil rights movement, play the caboose in the trajectory that will eventually lead to full and equal civil and sacramental rights for God's LGBT children!
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4 comments:

genevieve said...

Jerry, your post reminded of Matthew 7:21-23. Many do things in Jesus' name, yet don't know Him in spirit and truth. It's happened all through the centuries.

I read so many stories and articles of the institutional church inflicting harm and death on LGBT people. God will judge them for this.

Jerry Maneker said...

I agree, genevieve. We have to put legs on our prayers and confront the homophobic liars and haters, be they ignorant or not, who are clergy and professing Christians, in any and every venue possible. They do far too much damage for us to remain silent, and no Christian worthy of the name can allow their erroneous biblical interpretations to comprise any paradigm that presumes to call itself "Christian"; continue to cause untold suffering and oppression of LGBT people. Take care, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

It's not just clergy who are cowardly, Jerry, it's anybody who claims to be an advocate for Civil Rights yet remains indifferent while second-class citizenship for LGBT Americans is enforced. We need more clergy like John Shelby Spong, more Conservatives like Ted Olson, more celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, more Civil Rights veterans like Julian Bond who make equality their business. We also need closeted Gay journalists like Anderson Cooper to stop playing it cool take a principled public stand.

Jerry Maneker said...

You're absolutely right, Don Charles! Most people only act when they perceive that it's their ox that's being gored; when they perceive a direct benefit to them. The fact is that no one who claims to be a Christian, and no one who views him/herself as a decent person, can sit back and let others be oppressed, let alone oppressed "in the name of God." Best wishes, Jerry.