Conservative Christianity wants to return to the “good old days,” that is, to go back to a time when anyone other than heterosexual, cis-gender people stayed neatly in the closet or acquiesced to inhumane conversion therapy.
As a cis-gender female, in other words, a person whose gender matches the gender I was assigned at birth, I cannot know what it’s like to be a member of the LGBTQ* community. I cannot know what it means to be targeted, often violently (even with the threat of death), because I love or express myself differently than the majority. I cannot know what it feels like to be excluded from safe places like the church because of irresponsible biblical interpretation.
Last week, I wrote broadly about the Christian Right, which targets the LGBTQ* community with impunity.
Last Sunday, a church in San Diego handed out flyers warning parishioners they would go to hell for voting Democrat. The flyer cited five policies that mark “mortal sin,” including support for same-sex marriage.
Saturday Night Live covered this controversy, welcoming back Comedian Dana Carvey in the guise of “The Church Lady,” a character he made famous in the late 80’s. In the sketch, Carvey embodied the Christian preoccupation with human sexuality by accusing all of Hollywood (including the sketch’s host) of being homosexual.
In the Christian worldview, notes Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, “behaviors that do not conform—such as homosexuality—are forms of disorder, tools of Satan, and must be abolished.”
Instead of worrying about sins like poverty, racism, or poor health care, conservative Christians put all their weight into discriminatory policies like repealing the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
As a Christian seminary student who takes the teachings and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth seriously, I must speak up when the cultural subtext insinuates that the rights of my fellow human beings matter less than adherence to bad theology.
No, “Jesus is not on the ballot,” but is that really what conservative Christians want? I’m not so sure they would like what a candidate Jesus might say.
Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and love our neighbors (Matt 22:37-40).
Jesus said, “Do not judge so that you may not be judged” (Matt 7:1).
Jesus said, “… just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).
Rather than loving, supporting, and affirming “the least of these,” the church has consistently put doctrine before love. It has abandoned its highest call, poisoning its flock and abandoning LGBTQ* youth.
This is its past, but it doesn’t have to be its future.
The soul of the church can be saved, but it must put love of God and humanity above worship of unsound biblical interpretation. It has to stop referring to a history of overwhelmingly oppressive moral stances as “the good old days,” and join “progressive” folks following the 2000-year-old lead of Jesus of Nazareth.