Saturday, July 09, 2016

Orlando: The Complicity of Christians

I realize that I have beaten this horse a great deal recently, but given the batshitery just noted in Maine in the previous post, the time has come when Christians who continue to support anti-LGBT churches MUST be confronted with their complicity in anti-LGBT discrimination, animus, and, yes, the murder of LGBT individuals.  No longer can these people be given a pass and allowed to speak out of both sides of their mouths.  They have a moral choice to make: they must renounce the religious based bigotry and cease funding anti-LGBT churches and organizations.  They need to grow the balls and spine to demand that their respective churches end their anti-LGBT policies and positions now, or they need to walk away.  Doing the morally correct thing often brings discomfort with it, but this Christian complicity needs to end.  I came across this lengthy piece written by a Methodist minister that looks at Christian complicity in anti-LGBT animus and atrocities.  Here are some excerpts:
The horrific massacre of 49 people and wounding of 53 more at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando confronted certain Christian leaders with the dreadful reality that their own denominations might be complicit. The possibility that their Biblically-based anti-homosexual beliefs and discriminatory practices could have contributed to the anti-LGBTQ climate inviting such shocking violence was too repulsive for them to consider. Thus they responded with denial — and compassion.
Yet the reality of their complicity must be acknowledged and transformed, if LGBTQ persons are going to feel safe and be themselves in nightclubs – and in sanctuaries. The reality of Christian complicity must also be confronted if Jesus’ fundamental teaching, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is to include everyone – rather than be perverted by denominational beliefs that brand certain neighbors as “incompatible” (United Methodist Church), “objectively disordered” (Catholic Church), or engaging in a “sinful” not “valid alternative lifestyle” ( Southern Baptist Convention).
While the 6,000 SBC messengers “regard those affected by this tragedy as fellow image-bearers of God and our neighbors,” they could not bring themselves to identify their “neighbors” as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons, which leads to another enacted resolution.
In the face of the shocking violence in Orlando just days earlier, The Southern Baptist Convention messengers, representing some 6,000 local churches, adopted a resolution ‘ON BIBLICAL SEXUALITY AND THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE.’ This resolution reaffirms the biblical statement that “marriage is between one man and one woman ordered by God,” and rejects same-sex marriage, legalized by the Supreme Court in 2015, as it “does violence to the Constitution and is contrary to the Bible and natural order.” The resolution favors the enactment of religious freedom laws that protect the conscience of Christians, by giving them the right to discriminate against persons whose lifestyle conflicts with their anti-LGBTQIA biblical beliefs.
Something else is going on among Christian leaders of anti-LGBTQIA denominations when prayer is their primary response to the Orlando shootings. Their refusal to acknowledge and confront their own denomination’s complicity in creating an anti-gay climate,  . . . .  they are compensating for their comfortable commitment to the status quo. . . . The moral posture of folding one’s hands and doing nothing.
The horrible violence against LGBTQIA persons at the Pulse gay nightclub led the Vatican to issue a statement, which began, “The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred.”
Various Christian leaders used the word “senseless” to describe the horrific attack in Orlando. If the massacre of gay nightclub partygoers is defined as “senseless,” the complicity of Christian leaders and their anti-gay denominations disappears.
Florida Catholic Bishop Robert Lynch is one of the few Catholic bishops reported to have acknowledged the complicity of the Catholic Church in the massacre of people in the Pulse gay nightclub. To him, they were not “objectively disordered” second class church members. He wrote, “Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people.”
The United Methodist Church engages in forked tongue theology by calling homosexuals “individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,” and in the next breath rejects their integral identity in declaring that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” (Ibid) The practice of discrimination with a straight face. In reality, LGBTQIA United Methodists are relegated to an inferior position, and forced to ride in the back of United Methodism’s family bus — never behind the steering wheel.
But biblically-based and culturally indoctrinating homophobia dies hard. Just two months ago, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church met in Portland, Oregon, and continued its four decades-long practice of kicking the can of real inclusion down the road: another commission was formed to study The Book of Discipline’s discriminatory positions on homosexuality.

My July, 2016, VEER Magazine column looks at the issue of Christian complicity.  I am sure that many of the "godly folk" will be offended.  They need to be offended and forced to open their eyes and face the reality of their actions. 

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