I have been saddened, confused, and often disgusted by the Christian reaction to the struggle for equality taking place in our nation. I say “the Christian reaction”, though I know many Christians who strongly support equality, because those who protest the rights of others seem to be those that the world hears. I say “the Christian reaction” because, with some exceptions, our churches and our leaders still pride themselves on their staunch stance of disapproval and their willingness to say “the unpopular thing.” In so many churches the ability to rise above ideas like tolerance is worn like a badge of honor, and those of us who enjoy the world with a softer and milder approach are thought to have fallen victim to approval seeking behavior, lacking in the strength to stand against popular opinion.
What arrogance is it that these people never stop to ask themselves if it may be they who are wrong.
It saddens me that there is a world of people convinced that they are hated because of who they choose to love. Many would say “I hate the sin, not the sinner.” Having been on the sinner side of the equation I can assure you, hate feels like hate no matter what part of me it’s directed at.
It saddens me that an entire population of people is being made to feel as though God is only accessible to them if they are willing to set aside a piece of themselves to reach Him, a theology without precedent in Christ. Let me be clear, if your only interest in my soul is outlining the sin within it; if you feel like you need to tell me, “God loves you but not your sin”, or you want to sit with me and share the scriptures that tell me where I’m in the wrong without a solid foundation of mutual love and respect between us, you are not adequately showing me a loving and accessible God.
I am confused by a church that taught me for years that the most important role we Christians play in this life is to bring the love of Christ to an unbelieving world, that souls claimed for God is our greatest success, and then alienates an entire population of the world with talk of hate and division.
I am confused by a church that demands freedom from state and government influence and intrusion, but meddles in government affairs with lobbying and protests and boycotts and public statements of position on topics not at all the affair of the church.
Speaking of affairs, I am confused by a church that does not protest the laws of divorce as an attack on marriage. Call me simpleminded but isn’t the ending of a marriage more of an attack on the institution than a wedding?
I am confused as to why Christians feel they own the idea of marriage – I’d be willing to bet that people were getting married many, many years before there was a Christian theology to practice and preach at those of us who are doing it wrong. I am confused by how a wedding of people who are strangers can undermine your own marriage, how any declaration of love can impact the institution of marriage as a whole.
And, finally, I am disgusted: by the hypocrisy and the doubletalk running rampant within so much of the church; that so much attention is focused outward when so much needs work on the inside. I am disgusted by the lies these Christians tell themselves, by the scripture tossing that is used to defend a bigoted and hateful position. I am appalled that the modern day Christian uses their Bible to rob others of civil liberties in the same way that those who went before them oppressed women and enslaved minorities.
I am disgusted that, no matter how many times it’s said, these Christians cannot understand (or do not care) that they are hurting people; their behavior and protests and angry letters and Facebook statuses and viral memes are all causing actual pain to actual people who have done nothing to deserve the onslaught that is the Christian attack.
The truth is you cannot convince a population of people how wonderful and loving God is by actively protesting their civil liberties and meddling disapprovingly in their very personal and very real matters of the heart. The truth is that showing people a wonderful and loving God is the only Christian public service that really matters at all.
The only hope I can offer is that there exists a different kind of Christian from the one described above. There is a body of believers that, together, builds a church of the spirit focused on communion. There is a movement of love quietly sweeping the nation. It is my belief that the power of love is greater than that of hate. It is my fervent prayer that someday soon the voice of this movement will drown out that of a church too far gone from the model of Christ.