Joe Mirabella

Churches That are Anti-Gay are not Holy

Filed By Joe Mirabella | October 06, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bullying, spiritual bullying, teen suicide

Spiritual bullying is deadly. Children are listening when churchmarquee.jpgreligious leaders call gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people sinners. Children hear them when they shout "abomination" from the pulpit. "Thou shalt not!" they scream into our children's ears.

There is no turning back when a child has heard they are evil once too many times. No prayer, no line from a book written by men, will undo a child's last prayer for help.

No church on earth has the excuse, "but the Bible told me so," because our greatest gift is our reason. We are in command of our actions. We choose to hate those who look different, or are born different than us. Hate is not a Holy virtue and those who hate know it. That is the biggest crime of all. Those who hate ignore their own intuition -- that voice inside that says, "no." And why? Because the Bible told them so?

Those who preach hate in front of pews of people should be stripped of their cloth by the flock they so wish to woo with the slippery tongues. It is possible; history has shown countless times how to alter the reality of our religious institutions. Martin Luther did it with a simple hammer and nail on a wooden door. Jesus changed a church with kindness. King Henry VIII changed a church with law. Evolution is inevitable, but must be instigated by the people. Silence by the flock is deadly.

Do you sit silently when your pastor points with their crooked finger at gays and shames? Or do you stand up and say, "Not in my name! Not in the name of my God, shame on you!" Have you ever told your fellow parishioners that you or someone you know is gay and that they are beautiful? Or do you just let spiritual bullying happen.

My heart is heavy. My eyes are tired. I can not read another story about a young person taking their life because of bullying in any form. I want the world to be truly Holy. I want the world to be a place where everyone is loved and cherished for who they are. I want us to have compassion for one another and to help each other in our time of need. I want a world were we find the Spirit in truth, not through the manipulations of power hungry men and women.

Do you agree? Begin the conversation in your place of worship now. Tell your religious leaders that you believe the LGBT community should be loved and cherished. Do not just let spiritual bullying happen. If you do, it could be too late for someone you know.


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Christians need to take a stand and have their denomination reject the traditional Christian teaching/belief that "homosexuality is wrong." If they will not do that, they are allowing (and helping) the bigotry, bullying and loss of innocent life.

It's not okay to sit in the presence of hatred, bigotry, bullying and the Christian "negative branding" of the LGBT community. If you can't take a stand, at least give up your seat in church. Support the Trevor Project or PFLAG instead.

Very interesting. So now I find myself once again condemned. How is your condemnation better or holier?

It's simple Deena, Christians believe and teach that we are wrong - we are not wrong. That must end. It will only stop when "Christians" take a stand.

Nobody condemned you. Many of us are simply pointing to the source of this innocent loss of life: Christians.

Maybe you should start a new religion. Gather up some "New Christians" and let the old, hateful ones die off and be marginalized. WWJD?

Andrew you seem to confuse learning with talking. And then you defect condemnation through denial just as many "christians" do. I'll try to explain something to you but odds are you won't comprehend.

My walk in life and my attendance in church speaks louder than any words. That was, btw, the way that Jesus spoke to. Oh I suppose I could protest, stomp out and even do as you suggest but that would not have a high probability of accomplishing anything in the hearts of those who sit in judgment of others. What does affect hearts is getting to know someone. Haven't you made that same point many times? I can tell you without hesitation that some hearts have been reached that would still be hardened had I taken your approach and left in a huff.

Now you should do a study. Analyze what the impact would be if hundreds of thousands of GLB people would simply begin attending churches in a quest for a closer relationship with God. Oh, but then I forgot. That probably doesn't interest you.

Brunch?

Deena, it is already happening. Episcopalians are dividing, Lutherans are dividing and Presbyterians are dividing. People ARE leaving their churches.

With 30,000 different religions what's one more? How about a new Christian denomination that rejects the idea that homosexuality is wrong and embraces equality?

Wouldn't you attend that church?

Andrew please understand that I am never uncomfortable in any place of worship. Sometimes I want to scream things like "Do not turn my Father's house into a den of condemnation" but where is the gain in that? Is that not itself a condemnation of others?

This incarnation will end for me at some point. I will not have changed the world. I will have learned and changed. Some good and some not so good. Pointing at others and saying "There is your sinner" gains me nothing. The offering I would give you is that each must look to their own self and how each moves either in harmony or discord with God.

Hi Deena,

It was primarily christians who have done the following:

1. Supported Anita Bryant's crusade agains gays.

2. Oppose gay marriage.

3. It is American christians who worked to get christian Ugandans to develop "kill the gays" legislation in Uganda.

The list could go on, but I think it is very obvious that in the US, it is christians who harass, demonize, beat, and kill gay people.

You rabid animals do this because your god says gays are unholy. Since you use your religion in the public sphere, you have an obligation to provide testable evidence of the existence of your god.

Without evidence that this malicious being exists, then your position is this:

We don't like gays. We've invented a religion that agrees with this position.

Without evidence of your god's existence, your position is just bigotry. Your position is nothing more than elevating straights and lowering gays. Your position is nothing more than a blatant use of a mythology to increase your social status.

This is a secular government; you must provide good evidence for your position. Until you can prove the existence of a god and then prove that the christian text is a god's word, you have nothing but a history of bullying gay people for your own personal gratification.

Joe

No Joe I am an atheist but I think this is overly harsh of Deena. From Deena's comments she is a member of the LGBT community. Now I do not believe in a higher being but to lump her in with these extreme hating Christians is not fair. I have many family and friends who are Christians who are loving and supportive. I also have a brother who is a Christian on the other side who I have shut out of my life. Let's not tar everyone for the sins of some. I wouldn't want to be held to the same as some within the GLBT community.

Now I am a rabid animal? I find your perspective somewhat confrontational but understandable. But have you not seen extremely harsh anti gay sentiment and policies in Russia and China? Have you traveled the world to places not tainted by Christianity and found a Gay paradise? Joe please understand that I do not defend hatred in any form but it is certainly not the exclusive domain of Christianity. If that is your focus you will be greatly displeased when Christianity morphs yet anti gay still is prevalent in society.

The frustration expressed by Joe is very real. We know what Christians teach and believe. We know that it has defined homosexuality is wrong. We know that it has lead to hatred, bigotry, bullying and the loss of innocent life. We know this.

Then we hear from a few "gay Christians" that "it isn't all Christians." Really? How the fu*k do we tell you apart? By denomination? Nope. By your individual Church? Nope. A tattoo?

Until these enlighten or evolved Christians stand up to the teachings of their own denominations there is NO progress. Not marketing-driven "acceptance" or "tolerance" but a real unequivocal statement that there is nothing "wrong" with being gay or LGBT.

When will gay Christians have the courage change the primary source of ALL LGBT discrimination? When will they insist that their particular brand of Christianity stops teaching that we are "wrong?" Because until then, any member of that group has the loss of innocent life on their hands, as well as our continued discrimination.

This has nothing to do with atheism. It has to do with the support of the very institutions that are hurting us. Sitting in those churches endorses the continued negative branding of LGBT people. It has become untenable to those of us that see these most recent innocent deaths as being fully preventable.

If ever there was a time to stand up and say "enough is enough" this is it. These young people were hated to death by Christians. Don't gay-Christians want to stop that?

Sorry but disagree with the broad brush method. I disagree with my very fiber with most of the things you say on here and I would not someone to tie me to you and your ideas because we are both members of the GLBT community. I feel the exact way about Christians and refuse to play the they are all alike game.

How do we identify which are which? Any clues?

I want avoid any possible confusion. The comments by "Joe" above are not by me.

Why not Joe? Why do we have this problem? Why does the world believe it is okay to marginalize gay people? Is it religion?

Let's hope that it doesn't take God's immaculately conceived son or a king to change the way people think about gays, since we don't have many of them anymore.

@Deena:
I hear what you're saying about not leaving in a huff and instead staying and changing things from within. The problem is, what happens when something blatant happens and nobody stands up? Bigotry is the one of those rare things that can grow in a vacuum. It likes silence.

Frankly, you're wrong about Jesus leading by being meek. Jesus didn't stand by and let people stone a woman for adultery. Jesus didn't quietly get to know the money changers and convince them to move their business out of the temple. And He certainly didn't sit and eat quietly, hoping the apostles would figure out who had betrayed them.

There are times to engage quietly, but there are also times to stand and speak. The problem is that people become comfortable and complacent in their communities, and don't speak when they need to. We're all guilty of it at some point.

Nothing changes a church like someone in the congregation standing mid-sermon and proclaiming something said is wrong. Have you seen that happen? I did, when I was very young. It provoked more conversation on the topic than anything I'd seen before or since. It pushed the church to focus on the issue in a way they would not have from gentle prodding and kind words. (It was on birth control, btw. And the result, was the church finding a new minister, as the old one stood firm against what the majority of the congregants agreed on after discussion, study and prayer.)

Yes, some people will be angry at religion, and rightfully so. That anger is directed at those who preach this hate, and to the congregants that sat by and watched it without stopping it. It's where that anger will go, and no matter what you say or do, it will still go there like water to a drain. Because someone didn't stand up, and say "you're wrong", we've lost some true gems in the next generation.

This isn't an accusation for gay Christians. It's a call to action. Do what you're doing here. Make your voice heard. You found your voice here to defend religion to your peers. Why is it so hard to find it to defend your peers to your religion?

There are probably discussions going on now about sexuality in every church across the country because of the rash of suicides that have happened. NOW is a time to speak, to guide, and if necessary, to stand. NOW is a time where you can make an impact. Will you let the preacher throw the second stone, and the third? Or will you stand, and say "no"?

Woody you certainly have some valid points. I agree Jesus is no push-over and did not seek to convey that impression. It is also impossible fr me to convey in short text those things I do within the church and quite frankly self exaltation holds no appeal for me. I was simply trying to address some of the positions taken by others which I view as a bit short of enlightened. No one responded to the fact that "anti gay" certainly exists and has existed in countries where religion was directly outlawed by the government.

I try (not always successfully) to carefully choose my challenges in daily life. I could easily be attending a welcoming church such as Unitarian or MCC. I attend a full gospel worship church instead. If you are not familiar with that venue think Pentecostal. And if you understand the environment you will also comprehend that my very presence has more impact than shouting from the congregation that "you are wrong".

Now bear with me a moment while we dissect the blame game. There are certainly people who have no personal relationship with God and even believe there is no God. The Soviet Union was governed by a caste of just such and yet "anti-gay" was horrendous. China is another example and those 2 together account for about a third of the world population. Would you like to include India which certainly is not a bastion of Christianity? Those who lambaste Christianity are not necessarily incorrect but they are far from the whole truth of the matter. I would even say that the "born gay" rationale panders to the very ethics of anti-gay by attempting to say "God made us this way so you have to accept that God doesn't make mistakes". Does that make someone who exercises free will to choose to be gay then subhuman or condemned to hell or worthy of death or even worse? Ticklish question isn't it?

I will not pretend to have a solution to the everlasting problem of mankind's inhumanity to "others". I will tell you, however, that my daily walk has changed some hearts and while the number may seem small it is still significant. I hope ... yes I truly hope that each of us continues in our own ways to reach out where and as we can to touch the hearts of those who would stand in judgment and condemnation. Simply engaging in exchanges of condemnation is a no win approach IMHO.

Sorry I didn't respond earlier but I was at church services.

No one responded to the fact that "anti gay" certainly exists and has existed in countries where religion was directly outlawed by the government.

Realistically places that ban religion still have religious groups. In fact, those that are religious in such climates are virulently more so, since it's illegal. You cite China as an example, though we both know that Christianity is very strong and on the rise in China, despite the influence of the government against it.

Nobody said homophobia depends on religion, or that religion is the source of all of it. Rather what's been said is that religion (especially in the US) often tends to be the sword and shield of the bigoted. Here in the US, I see Christianity used (wrongly) every day to justify everything from homophobia to bigotry to greed. That's the story told above, about how even on the inside, religion was still being (ab)used to oppress someone based on their sexuality.

And if you understand the environment you will also comprehend that my very presence has more impact than shouting from the congregation that "you are wrong".

While I understand it would have less impact in a service where outbursts are more the norm, it can still have an impact. Generally outbursts in such congregations tend to be in agreement with the preacher. I think you'd find a very different reaction if your outburst were against what was being preached. And discussion would definitely be the result.

Again, I'm not saying it's always the best way. But if your preacher starts talking about the sin of homosexuality, and making pointed references to hell, or how the congregation must "stop such abominations", your voice may be the difference, both for someone on the edge, and for your congregation. Silence = acceptance.

Now bear with me a moment while we dissect the blame game.

Nobody is saying every Christian on the planet is a homophobe, nor are they calling Christianity the source of homophobia. Reality is though that the majority of churches (or mosques, or...) preach against homosexuality. When you're raised in a culture where every Christian church you've gone to has called you a sinner and promotes others treating your harshly, you come to the conclusion that most if not all of them are like that.

Arguing with an battered woman that not all men are bad as she's recovering from an attack is non-productive. Showing her love, and helping her improve her self image and self worth, while introducing her to men that aren't abusive can be. Programs targeted at abusive men, to guide them in realizing what they're doing is wrong, and giving them better tools to manage disputes and personal anger also helps.

In this case, the gay community has been the battered wife of the church for a long, long time. There is a generational memory, an expectation that every church is against them, since the vast majority of them actually are. It's irrational to expect non-defensive behavior, and more so to take personal offense when it happens.

Simply engaging in exchanges of condemnation is a no win approach IMHO.

I agree, but then I question you: If you believe this too, why are you engaging in it? Rather than guiding Andrew by talking about positive experiences within the church, or about affirming Christian churches you know, you shriek that you're being attacked, and accuse him of condemning you personally. In effect, condemning him for "lumping you in" with what really is the majority of Christians.

The solution isn't to "feel hurt" when someone says such things, or take it personally as you have done. The solution is to change that perception by changing that reality. Show an example of Christian churches embracing sexuality. Take steps to push your church to recognize what they're doing his wrong and hateful if they preach against it. Or, if your church is affirming, encourage them to reach out to non-affirming area churches and encourage them to see the light as well.

To make progress, we first must know where we are, and where we want to go. Only then can we figure out a path and plan how to get there. By not acknowledging where we are, the route we try to make to get to where we want to be will never lead us there. The first step in every solution is to recognize the problem, accept it for what it is, and acknowledging our role in it. If we can't do that much (without feeling persecuted or condemned), then we'll never be able to make the change we want to live.

Woody you are in error. I love Andrew. I do not get hurt by his comments nor do I take them personally. He struggles.

I beg to disagree... as you did appear take his comment quite personally:

Very interesting. So now I find myself once again condemned.

That shows very clearly that you were taking his words to target you, say you felt he was condemning you (which you reiterated several times in other threads of discussion).

If you don't think you took it personally, I have to ask, why has this become a topic of discussion?

Woody you are delightfully naive or else you are spoiling for a fight. Would you know a tease if it nibbled you gently in a sensitive spot or would you think your nerves were acting up? I'll ask Andrew if you can join us when we do brunch. Then you'll have a better basis to judge whether I take things personally.

Great, thoughtful comment. Thank-you.

The main requirement that a philosophy be considered religious is that it be irrational. For example, suppose a large group of people logically concluded a healthy diet and regular exercise was beneficial. If this group decided to meet regularly to discuss these things they could. But what they could not do would be to get the IRS to allow them tax exempt status as a religion. They could not meet the irrational requirement to be considered a religion.

Now if the group could convince the IRS that their founder came up with these ideas from a conversation with an invisible being a few hundred (see Mormonism) to few thousand (Christianity) years ago they'd be in.

I mention this since religious people of all stripes continue to pretend there is logic behind their actions. One Christian group will cherry pick the Bible to "justify" harming gays. Joe Mirabella has cherry picked the Bible to "discover" one can not be holy if they are anti-gay. Really? Tell that to the Pope and his over one billion mostly homophobic followers world-wide.

IMO any systemized philosophy based upon irrationality is OK if and only if it is not used to harm others. I do not see mainstream religion as meeting this minimum requirement. Remind me again why we let our tax dollars support it.

On a side note why can't the LGBT population in the U.S. make up a religion and then demand the same special treatment other religions get? Why even as I type this my invisible super buddy is whispering in my ear that the LGBT population is special and requires preferential treatment over straights. Also all men must wear dresses on every other Thursday so when our members join the military this will be a required waiver of the current male dress requirements.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | October 7, 2010 9:41 AM

Religion - cultism - is the source of most anti-LGBT bigotry, an unnatural, learned behavior. Institutionally, cults are our implacable enemies because they indoctrinate large populations first to be irrational and then to be bigots.

Many cultists can be seen slipping over the boundary of rationality. That's especially true of fanatics of the three abrahamic horrors, christerism, islamism and judaism.

GLBT folks trapped in cults shouldn't be hated. They should be sympathetically helped to overcome their infirmity. The 'beliefs' of individual cultists are not relevant unless they oppose equality.

Tax the cults.

Secularize, without compensation, cult schools, colleges, hospitals and 'charitable' fronts to prevent rape, harassment and violence against LGBT children and youth.

Take the money away from Jebuz Inc, and it'll shrivel. Bigots will no longer have an excuse. Rabbis, priests, ministers, pastors and imams will be forced to find productive work.

Bill I agree with you that there should be no such thing as a tax exempt corporation or organization. Under IRS regulations an organization or corporation that makes no profit pays no corporate income tax so the whole 501c3 status is unnecessary and simply a shifting of tax burden. Likewise HRC and all, yes all, tax exempt organizations should be converted to standard taxable organizations. To the extent that they make a profit it should be taxable. In the same vein church schools should not be exempt from paying such things as unemployment taxes. It is time to treat all economic activities equally.

I doubt seriously, however, that you are correct in your other assertions that this would solve the bigotry or make a serious dent in religions. One simply doesn't follow from the other but changing the tax law should certainly put your assumptions to the test so why not do it?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | October 7, 2010 11:04 AM

You're right. Taxing cults, the main source of bigotry, will not, by itself, eliminate bigotry, but it'll be a big step forward. It'll hurt cults badly and force many clerical hucksters and hustlers to find productive employment. Quelle horreur! Whatever hurts the cults helps us.

What's really damaging the cults are the ongoing scandals about sexual abuse, which are hardly limited to the roman cult. Another big factor is their exposure as mass murderers. American evangelical christists, including Obama BBF Rick Warren and islamists are becoming known for the mass murder of LGBT folks in Iran, Iraq and parts of Africa, including the horrific and widespread rape and murder of lesbians in the RSA.

Fundi Christians have to have an enemy, I remember when it was Russian Commies. With the fall of Commies in Russia gays are the new (getting old) enemy. The flock of sheeple need to feel better about themselves by having some unknown group that is "evil" or sinners rather than look in a mirror.

Thank God I attend a mainline denominational CHRISTIAN CHURCH that supports and loves God's GLBT Christian brothers and sisters in Christ!! We accept all sexual orientations as gifts from God, and not a curse. All straight, GLBT persons are welcome at Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, Kansas! A church that walks the talk!!! Blessings and Peace!
Dakotahgeo, M.Div. (Ret.)
dakotahgeo@hotmail.com

Please post their formal statement that homosexuality is not wrong. Acceptance and "welcoming" are not enough.

Another day where the lunatics are running the asylum. And today, they're presuming to teach logic and civics lessons.

Nasty bunch.