Calling All Loving Christians

I know you are out there. I know too many decent, open minded Christians to suggest that Christianity is inherently bad.  I know too many that pay greater heed to Jesus’s  Sermon on the Mount than to the more exclusionary words of Paul. So many of you see your faith (as recommended in the Bible) as a private journey and do not foist it on others. So please, don’t be too hurt by what I am about to say.

You guys really need to step up. Not all of you, I know a few that are courageous and stand between the fearful, hateful and bigoted members of your flock and the rest of us. To those of you who do that, thank you. Many of you, however, are almost dangerous in your passivity regarding the behavior of that brand of Christian. Here is why you need to stop that.

I can guess what your response is going to be: “but we’re not like that.” That’s great, really it is. Because you shouldn’t be like that. You should also know that is not enough. It’s awesome to know that you aren’t bigots, that you aren’t homophobes or psychotic zealots out to convert all others at all costs, and really, I am grateful that  you let us all know you are out there. When you do that though, you are not standing up for us, you’re defending yourself.

For the record, because you really need to know, at the moment you are not the one that needs defending. At the moment they are not attacking you because they are having way to much fun attacking us. So far. It is only a matter of time.  Eventually, to paraphrase Martin Neimoller, there will be no one to speak for you. Make no mistake, these kind of people, the kind of people that advocate the beating and rape (literal and metaphorical) of a child would love nothing more than to wipe those different from them off the face of the Earth given the opportunity. Eventually they will have to turn around and test “their own” for ideological purity.

If you want to make sure that is never a possibility you have to do more than look at me and say “they don’t speak for me.” You have to look at them and say “You don’t speak for me.” You have to call them out on that most basic lie and the thing you should be most upset about, their claim on your faith. Until you do that, they will continue to threaten the rest of us and to tarnish you.

4 thoughts on “Calling All Loving Christians

  1. You are absolutely right. As a Christian who believes that Jesus meant it when he said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” I need to be louder, and I will do my best!

  2. I understand your frustration, but I just want to make two points. You seem to be suggesting that Christians are all straight, and thus don’t understand or experience the persecution that queer people do. But there are hundreds of thousands of queer Christians out there, integrating sexuality and spirituality, pointing out that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, that the Christian God is a God of love, and frequently being abused for it ourselves. The other point I want to make is that it is really hard for non-judgemental Christians to have a voice in the media. We don’t fit the media’s stereotype of Christianity and so they ignore us. In the case of the denomination in which I’m a minister, that means the entire Uniting Church in Australia, which has ministers in same-sex relationships and which welcomes queer people as members, is ignored in public in favor of comments by Cardinal George Pell (Catholic), Archbishop Phillip Jensen (Anglican) and the Australian Christian Lobby. No matter how often we say that they do not speak for us in their hate-speech, our voices are ignored by a secular media that only recognizes one type of Christian. But we keep trying. Because God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. Sexual orientation makes no difference to that basic Christian truth.

  3. Thank you for pointing out your concerns Avril, I hope I can address one or two of them.

    “You seem to be suggesting that Christians are all straight, ”

    I understand they are not, I have queer family that are Christian, but I can see how “that you aren’t homophobes ” might lead you to think that I believe that. Actually, the inspiration for the blog was how non-believers like myself are treated in the US. Unfortunately I do not know how we fair in Australia. That is something I will have to investigate.

    “it is really hard for non-judgemental Christians to have a voice in the media.”

    Again, I don’t know how things are where you live. In the US the radical right does get more of a voice. That said, left wing Christians do get a voice here. It is often, though not always, relegated to the alt media. When they do get a microphone, or a camera, they spend most of their time explaining how they are not like “those other guys.” That was the source of my frustration. Language matters, and when they address me it sends the message that they are more concerned with defending themselves from me than from defending their faith from those that would co opt it.

    I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, but I do love so much of the message he shared, in particular in the Sermon on the Mount. It would be more helpful if Christian allies took that message to their less inspired, less open brethren. I’ve read the Sermon, I know that message already and I think it’s awesome that you guys live by it. It would be more awesome if you spent what time they do give you convincing the hatemongers to listen to it.

    “and thus don’t understand or experience the persecution that queer people do”

    Plenty of Christians do experience legitimate persecution. I make the distinction because at least in the US, and I’d love to hear from you how this plays out in Australia, the Christian right will sometimes flat out state that not allowing them to oppress others is in fact oppressing them. I am sorry if I gave you the impression I believe otherwise. With that in mind, I would think that would be more motivation to dress down the Christian right.

    Also, I am not about to get into a discussion of quantity (“we’re more oppressed than you!” is one of the most irritating and impossible to prove statements out there, with the perhaps the exception of the indigenous people of both our countries) but quality is a different matter. Different types of persecution call for different action. I won’t say too much more about this because (self serving, narcissism driven link here) I have written about that elsewhere: http://handofananke.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/dear-allies/

    Please tell me if this has helped, or if it hasn’t why not. I’m a big fan of John Stuart Mill and believe the free exchange of ideas the most important part of a healthy society.

  4. Pingback: Believe What You Will | Hand of Ananke

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