Twice in one day, I was confronted with the unfortunate-but-completely-warranted complaint that Christianity is homophobic. And not just homophobic; violently so.
The first comes from a link to a blog in which the author rails against a Baptist pastor who says the following:
You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals. Hypocrite. The same God who instituted the death penalty for murderers is the same God who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals – sodomites, queers! That’s what it was instituted for, okay? That’s God, he hasn’t changed. ‘Oh, God doesn’t feel that way in the New Testament’ … God never “felt” anything about it, He commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed. (Reverend Steven L. Anderson)
‘Let not many of you presume to be teachers,’ says James. Paul says, ‘They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.’ I suspect that Reverend Anderson falls foul of such verses.
One of the comments gets even worse. ‘Kill All Gays’ says:
Hey f*** all homosexuals once the revolution is near I will go on a rampage killing those worthless homosexuals they don’t deserve to live nasty filthy pieces of sh** they shouldn’t be allowed to vote, make porn hell they shouldn’t be allowed to eat or sleep all faggots deserve to burn in hell or be put into death camps. Nuff said.
Who knows whether this person thinks he’s Christian or not. I don’t know what the ‘revolution’ is, nor how religious his concept of hell is. Just in case he is Christian, I responded by pointing out that Jesus warns against judgment that fails to start with self-judgment, and that Jesus mixed quite freely and lovingly with the sinners of his day. A more measured soul retorted with the following:
Of course it is biblical! the bible clearly states that if a man lies with another man as he would a woman they have committed an abomination and would/should be put to death. Lev. 20:13. Before you try to lay “the old laws were done away with when Jesus came.” you might want to direct your attention to Matthew 5:17 where Jesus tells folks “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
Having said that, I am not a Christian, I am an atheist. I often wonder why Christians complain about a nutcase saying things like this [i.e. ‘Kill all Gays’ guy], yes, he is clearly batsh** crazy! But it IS in the bible, if you read your bible thoroughly and study it carefully in the original languages, I think it would scare the crap out of you at how crazy the bible is itself! If we tried to uphold the laws set forth by a mythological god of the bible, or Qu’ran, we would be in prison, women would be property, and there would be no children at all!
I’m going through all of this in the hope that perhaps the pertinent part of my response to her would be a help to others, especially Christians who like to justify their sick hatred from the Old Testament. I said:
There is a reason why the OT is the way it is. The law is not without context. Israel was God’s Holy Land in which he promised to live among his Holy People. The Israelites were covenanted to God in this relationship with a blood-pledge. Thus, the OT law is there to govern life in God’s presence. This does NOT equate in the slightest to civil law anywhere on earth now, not even Israel (although some Jews might fight me on that). Atheists have no covenant with God. There is no land in which God dwells by covenant and in a designated Holy Place. In other words, the Old Testament laws may be applied (mutatis mutandis) spiritually to the church, but not to broader society at all (or at least not without massive care and wisdom). Civil society has the same relationship to the OT law that the gentile nations did in OT times (i.e. virtually none). Consequently, homosexuality is sin, and as such it is ‘illegal’ in the church. It is also true that, if God is there, such sin will incur judgment from God even for non-Christians (as all sin will). But Christians have no right to insist that homosexuality in non-Christian society deserves its OT penalty when non-Christian society does not exist in remotely comparable circumstances to OT Israel.
Christians might as well be frothing at the mouth about the death penalty for Sabbath breakers, because it has as much to do with the non-Christian judiciary as the Levitical death-penalty for homosexuality does.
The second case of Christian bigotry involves our most popular local soap-opera Generations. The show includes one gay main character, whose presence has apparently spawned a Christian opposition-group called Anti-Gayrations (a clumsy play on the title of the show).
A FaceBook friend reported the following complaint:
S.A. television. Senzo [the gay character] was beaten half to death by “real men”. there were no facebook protests. i suppose that no “christian values” were offended by that scene. bloody hypocrites. i guess that explains why it is less “confusing” to children to watch a man being brutalized for being gay, than it is to watch him kiss another man.
He goes on to say that this group uses scripture ‘to justify why they hate faggots’. I would dearly love someone of influence in the Christian world to make proper public distinction between Christianity and homophobia. I don’t hear anyone vowing to stop watching soap operas when the hetero folk hop into bed with one another, or when someone kills someone else, yet those are also ‘mortal sins’ punishable by death in the OT. Calling homosexuality morally wrong is Christian. But hating homosexuals is ALSO morally wrong and NOT Christian.
If only we’d follow our Lord in loving and reaching out to sinners, rather than approving of their persecution and advocating their deaths.
‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord. ‘Go out and make disciples’, he says to us. We’re seemingly far happier going out and making enemies. We are hypocrites.