This topic has been on my mind ever since I wrote my little rant about Straight White Males. I know much of what I am about to say is going to boil the blood of the faithful but please take a moment before reacting to truly try to understand what I am saying. This is not just some mean-spirited attack on Christianity. This is an appeal to the humanity of those who use religion to justify hatred of others because of thier race, religion or sexual orientation and those who use it to justify hating themselves. A few days after sparking off that last controversial debate I was on Maurice Broaddus' messageboard discussing racism and discrimination in general when the discussion turned towards gays in the church. My comments went like this:
"... I will try my best to be diplomatic here, but the Christian church is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the oppression of sexual minorities. And I mean even the most liberal of them. How would you feel if you went to church and they said "We accept you and welcome you even though we think that your very nature is a sin against God and nature."
I remember visiting my mother's church to see a play. The basic idea of the play was that faith can cure anything. Positive message. Except what was it that faith was supposed to be curing in this play? One man's drug abuse. That's positive. Another woman's partying and promiscuity. That's positive. And then one young girl's homosexuality. What? My mother didn't get why I was so offended by this. She kept telling me that her church welcomes gays and wants to help them. "Why does the church assume that gays are in need of help?" I asked. "Because homosexuality is a sin." She replied. "I see, so your church is not accepting of gays." I replied. "Oh yes we are," she said, "We want to help them." "By telling them that they are diseased and in need of a cure? That's real accepting." And round and round we went.
What if you were a young kid who was already feeling terrible because he had just realized he was gay with all the social stigma that comes along with that. You go to church and they keep telling you that you are sinning against God and that you were suffering from some type of mental disease that you could cure through faith. You watch a play that shows a sinful young homosexual finding God and getting cured. So you pray and pray and ask God to take your sinful nature away but nothing happens because you are what you are. So you start feeling even worse about yourself. Your friends ridicule you, society ostracizes you, and now even your church has told you that you are fucked up. Is there any wonder why the suicide rate among gay teens is so high?"
And remember this is just about those congregations that do welcome gays, many do not. Most cast homosexuals out of the flock as soon as they are discovered. Most churches preach fiery sermons blaming homosexuality for the fall of the entire moral fiber of America and a sign that Armaggedon is near. Basically, telling everyone that God is about to destroy the world because your neighbor sleeps with another man.
It is no secret that I have no love for religion for many reason. The biggest is because of my undying love of truth and reason. The other is because I can never understand how my people who have been enslaved for centuries could so willingly adopt their slavemaster's God and willingly bow before yet another master, the great overseer in the sky. Sorry, I bow to no one. The other is because I think it impedes people's ability to reason clearly and it has turned my mother into yet another mindless zombie. And the biggest is because the religion I grew up with, Christianity, is filled with hate and intolerance which has spawned millions of hateful intolerant people who justify their hatred with the bible. And before you say that these people are misinterpreting the bible please read it. I think you'd be surprised.
In Leviticus 20:11 the Lord says unto Moses: "If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
How can a religion that on its surface professes to be so peaceful and loving contain such hate? But more importantly how can genuinely sweet and loving people accept it? How can the very people this hatred is aimed at still accept it?
I have never understood how people can read such hateful intolerant crap in the bible and say "Well, I don't believe that part." or, "I don't accept everything the bible says." or, "I choose to interpret it differently." How many different ways can you interpret hate? How many different ways can you interpret the fact that the bible says all homosexuals should be put to death? How then can we continue to call this wrathful intolerant deity the God of love? Remember the laws governing chain of evidence? Garbage in. Garbage out. If you can admit that there are things in the bible that are contrary to your beliefs, thing that you believe to be false, vicious, nasty, and hateful, things you do not accept, how then can you believe any of it? Garbage in. Garbage out.
There seems to me to be no ambiguity about it, no room for interpretation. It says quite clearly that God is a homophobe who thinks all homosexuals should be put to death despite the fact that he created their very nature. Yet, we have gays who flock to the Christian church, struggling to hold onto a faith that has clearly expressed hatred for their very existence. What sense does this make? The Pope is against gay marriage yet we have gay priests, bishops, and cardinals and I would not doubt that there has been a gay pope or two. How can they rectify thier faith with the fact that their own religion has commanded their extinction?
I knew a gay priest back when I was twenty and a tad more naive than I am today. He was no longer working for the church but he was still officially a priest. He started a business managing gay pornstars which I found out one day at a party when I asked why every time I went over his house there was a naked guy lying on the couch with a guitar between his legs. Everyone laughed and informed me that the naked guy was one of the hottest gay pornstars around at that time and that Vince was his manager. Once the cat was out of the bag Vince opened up and started telling me all about what he does and why he left the church. He had left the Catholic church because he didn't feel right telling young gay kids that they were sinning against God when he was gay himself and he was against the church's entire policy against homosexuals. So, he left to do what he wanted to do. It seemed like Vince had everything he wanted. He even tried to talk me into doing a movie. I respectfully declined. Then, a year after I left Hollywood and moved to San Francisco, I found out that Vince had returned to the priesthood. What? He went back to the very church who's edict is that a man who "also lie down with mankind as he lieth with a woman" should be slain? This makes about as much sense to me as women returning to the men who beat them.
The church's hatred of gays isn't the only twisted morality in the bible, however. For those who cling to Leviticus as their excuse to hate all homosexuals please read the rest of that lovely little chapter. It also says that eating pork and rabbit and lobster and crab is a sin. Getting a tattoo is a sin. A woman on her period should be kept in isolation for seven days when she is menstruating and whoever touches anything she sits or lays upon will be unclean. And if a man has sex with a woman who is menstruating then both of them should be exiled from their people. And if a woman is the daughter of a priest and she becomes promiscuous than she should be burnt to death. If a man masturbates he should be put to death. It also condones making slaves of heathens and buying and selling their children. That's right. The King James Bible condones slavery. So, if you believe that homosexuals are sinners do you also believe all the rest of this crap and if not then why not? You want your pork and lobster and tattoos but lets stone all the gays? Is your faith so arbitrary that you can pick and choose what of it to believe and what of it to reject? Is the bible the infallible word of God or is it not? Is it merely a matter of fashion and convenience?
I apologize if I sound hostile but all the people who talk about "True Christianity" and call the extremists and hate mongers who burn crosses on lawns and blow up abortion clinics and perform exorcisms on thier gay children "false Christians" should perhaps read the bible again and not just the user-friendly New Testament. Read the whole damn thing. Apparently the KKK has got it more right than most.
I have never understood how Black people could be Christians when it was a religion that was force fed to us by our slave owners. When our enslavement is condoned in the bible, since we were then those heathens Leviticus talks about making "bondsmen and bondsmaids" out of and giving our children to their children as "possessions". Now the bible is used by racists to condemn "The children of Ham". Another excuse to hate. I have never understood how Mexicans could be some of the most devout Christians on the planet when Conquistadors murdered Mexicans by the tens of thousands and stole their gold while missionaries of the Christian church, baptizing Mexican babies before smashing their heads with stones. And I certainly cannot understand how homosexuals can be Christians when it is the Christian right that opposes gay marriage, gay rights, gay existence and even some of the most liberal Christians, like my loving mother, still believe that you are all mentally disturbed.
There are many good Christians who love all of humanity and are tolerant of everyone's differences. There are many that are not. That's really not the question here. The question is of the religion itself, the bible itself. Is it homophobic? I don't see how you can read it and think otherwise. Are the churches who say to homosexuals, "Come on in! We welcome you and we are here to help you to stop being an abomination against our God with your sinful lifestyle," really what you consider to be loving and accepting? Or are they destructive to impressionable youths who might be gay and scared and confused and probably depressed and suicidal or who might have gay classmates they are thinking about bashing the hell out of. And if God is a homophobe can we still call him the god of love? Should good, loving people still worship him? Can you call yourself a good person even while you are voting against another human being's right to marry the person they love just because your religion tells you to? Isn't that like the Nazi's who claimed they were just following orders? Isn't it your duty as a good person, Christian or not, to stand up for what you know to be right regardless of what it says in the bible, just like you did against slavery and locking women away during their menstrual cycles and murdering men who "giveth his seed unto Molech"? Does being a good Christian inhibit you from being a good human being? All I'm asking is that you think about it. Put your faith aside for one moment and use your heart and mind.