Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pastoral Response to Gay Bashing for Jesus

Did you read the latest nonsense about two more preachers of the Gospel ("Good News") preaching violence and hatred against same-gender loving persons? If not, prepare for some horrifying, odious, and appalling statements delivered in the name of religion. The disturbing comments can be read by clicking the following link:

Curtis Knapp of the New Hope Church in Seneca, KS and Dennis Leatherman (obvious joke will not be inserted, despite great temptation) of the Mountain Lake Church in Oakland, MD are the latest to make vile statements from Christian pulpits demonizing and dehumanizing LBGT people and using violent language against them.

Of course, recently, we have also heard similarly disturbing comments from Sean Harris and Charles Worley, and we know, sadly, that Billy Graham actually endorsed the hateful anti-gay marriage amendment in North Carolina. Not to be left out of the Homophobia Hit Parade, Leatherman and Knapp have now chimed in.

One of these unenlightened souls says the government should kill same-gender loving people because God (famous author, apparently, and instigator of hate according to the diatribe) says so in "his (sic) word."

The other preacher of pugnacity likes the idea of killing queers but admits to follow through with it would be wrong.

I find it interesting (and amusing) that those who pretend their hatred and intolerance of difference are righteous blame their bigotry on a deity who they describe as male and who has no female consort. Mr. God, in their theology, has no Mrs. God, but somehow insists on heterosexual coupling. Funny that...

All snark aside (but in the spirit of needing to laugh to keep from crying, this tragic kind of gay-bashing for Jesus deserves a bit of snark!), these kinds of hateful quips presented in and as homilies show why our ministry at Sunshine Cathedral is so important.

The rhetoric that these peddlers of prejudice are using contributes to violence in our society. The less mature and less well adjusted in society hear these messages and convince themselves they are doing something good when they attack people they perceive to be gay or lesbian.

And the victims aren't limited to those who are attacked by the bullies; there are other victims - those who become so despondent and hopeless because of such verbal abuse directed toward them that they actually try to harm themselves because they can't imagine a lifetime of being targeted simply because they are attracted to (and might fall in love with) persons of their own gender.

To everyone looking for a relevant, contemporary, intellectually honest, ever evolving spirituality that affirms the sacred value of all people and that celebrates genuine love shared between consenting adults regardless of the genders involved, we at Sunshine Cathedral are here for you!

And our message isn't simply that gay is good (and it is part of the wonderful diversity of creation), but that bodies are good, that sexuality is good, that love is good, that thinking is good, that questions are good, that science is good, that learning is good, that life - YOUR LIFE - is good!

Those who use the names of the Sacred to promote fear, hatred, and violence are using those names in vain. Those who quote ancient texts to protect ancient (and modern) prejudices dishonor the very spiritual traditions they claim to represent. Those who say God is love and then teach you in the name of God to hate yourself are perverting what is meant to be "Good News." I say with prophetic authority: Homosexuality is not a sin; but homophobia is!

Let me state it another way: being wired to love someone of your same gender is not wrong, but using religion as an excuse to hate those who are different from you is.

Not all religious communities preach hatred. Not all religious people promote violence. Not all readers of sacred texts read into those texts their own prejudices, insecurities, and bigotry. There is a different kind of church!

"Sunshine Cathedral is a different kind of church, where the past is past and the future has infinite possibilities." Sunshine Cathedral is here to affirm you, to celebrate your uniqueness, and to help quench the fiery darts of hatred and misunderstanding that have been hurled at you.

Continue to support the church that supports you; and continue to share the word that there is a different kind of church in the world - The Sunshine Cathedral.
Yours in shared service,
Durrell SIg
Rev. Durrell Watkins, D.Min.
Senior Minister
Sunshine Cathedral

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