“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:5
October happens to be LGBT History Month! I’m not sure if this month is as well-known as Pride Month in June, but nonetheless, it’s important to be aware of it.
I honestly didn’t fully realize the importance of this month until I watched this heartwarmingly affirming ad by Oreo, which I’m sure has become famous at this point.
After watching this beautiful testimony to the importance of love-filled families for LGBTQ youth, I found out that there were still critics. One Million Moms, an affiliate of the American Family Association, has come under fire for criticizing Oreo’s ad as an attempt at “brainwashing” others into believing that this “lifestyle” is normal. Tragic, isn’t it?
Well, I ended up going down an Internet rabbit-hole, looking for other nasty reactions to this love-filled clip. It took me on an uncomfortable blast to the past, leading me to various articles plainly showing that the Religious Right has, for decades, made the LGBTQ community one of its favorite scapegoats. I found a list made by Advocate of 10 disasters that we’ve been blamed for, including dead birds falling out of the sky!
It’s a Gay Ol’ Time
I suppose religious-based slander of the LGBTQ community will forever be a timeless thing. No matter the decade, there will always be a religious leader or organization blaming us for evils outside of our control, or even…the destruction of the family, as evidenced by this quote from a 90’s article I found. Because we gays can not only cause natural disasters, but divorce amongst straight people as well! Who knew we were endowed with such amazing, supernatural talents?
Criticism of homosexuals is a strategy that Falwell, Dobson’s FOF, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and other Religious Right organizations return to time and time again. At the same time Dobson was blasting gay influences in society, CWA’s Beverly LaHaye, for example, was accusing “radical homosexuals” of “forcing you and every other American citizen to gradually accept their lifestyle.” LaHaye asked recipients of her fund-raising letter to complete a “National Survey on Homosexual Rights” and send it back to her with a contribution “before homosexuals completely win the cultural war and our families have lost.”The Religious Right’s Gay Agenda
Check out this article written by People for the American Way, which showcases the number of religious groups crusading against the community in recent years, in the name of defending religious liberty. This became a massive call-to-arms in the wake of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015.
Efforts to frame opposition to reproductive choice and LGBT equality as religious liberty issues picked up steam with the issuing of the Manhattan Declaration in 2009. This manifesto, co-authored by right-wing Catholic intellectual Robert George, pledged that its signers would refuse to “bend” to “any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”Who Is Weaponizing Religious Liberty?
Feel free to read the entire Manhattan Declaration here, if you’d like.
Regretfully, it’s far worse than that. Darlings, that was merely the tip of the iceberg! Have we forgotten that religious authorities love to accuse this community of “recruiting children”?
For example, a direct mail letter from Don Wildmon of the American Family Association included this emotional appeal. “For the sake of our children and society, we must OPPOSE the spread of homosexual activity! Just as we must oppose murder, stealing, and adultery! Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, the only way for them to ‘breed’ is to RECRUIT! And who are their targets for recruitment? Children!”Anti-Gay Politics and the Religious Right
Oho, and here’s this juicy quote the author of the article pulled, for some cringe-worthy irony.
“You’ve got to make it clear that your purpose is not to hurt or punish someone else. It’s not a negative-based movement or a fear-based movement or an anger or hate-based movement but instead the movement is about love and honor and respect and about modeling for our children a healthy lifestyle. That’s what the issue ought to be about. I think if we can define it in that way, we can’t lose.”Jay Sekulow Live radio show, February 20, 1998
No anger, no hate, only love, honor, and respect? Well gee, look how well that’s turned out! Apparently, it’s acceptable to break the Commandment against bearing false witness when your targets are members of the LGBTQ community.
Do you have any idea how much joy it brings us, being acceptable targets for lies, slander and overall malice from these holy people? I’m being facetious, of course. While some of us may enjoy BDSM, none of us are masochistic enough to gain pleasure from supposedly righteous people thinking it’s okay to sin against us.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”Matthew 23:27-28
Think of the Children!
(Content Warning: I’m about to discuss the matter of sexual abuse perpetuated against children.)
Gay men have long been accused of being pedophiles, a fearmongering accusation that’s timeless. But alack, there’s a staggering amount of testimonies that indicate who the real culprit is in this situation: male clergy, who abuse their positions of power over those who trust them.
I read this article today on my lunch break, which wasn’t a good idea because of how nauseated I felt afterwards. The author gives a blistering description of several times Catholic and Protestant clergy have sexually abused children, while ultimately getting away scot-free.
Christian supporters from three states filled the courtroom during hearings against Rev. James Britton Myers, of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Although he was convicted of the heinous crime of raping a little girl at his Christian school over a five-year period, starting when she was five, one member of his congregation called the crime “one drop of ink in crystal clear water.”The Scandal of Pedophilia in the Church
Yes, you read that right. To Mr. Myer’s congregation, his horrific crime against a 5-year old girl was nothing more than “a drop of ink”. Can you imagine being a member of her family, and hearing “Christians” diminish her suffering at the hands of a “man of God”? That would easily be enough to make them leave religion behind. And who could possibly blame them?
It is bitterly ironic that some religious groups accuse our community of being wanton pedophiles, when it’s people in power who are typically the culprit. When it’s the person in the pulpit committing the sin, it’s apparently convenient for them to turn a blind eye and make a plethora of excuses that they wouldn’t offer anybody else. So much for “Christian integrity”! If only they would remember what Jesus said about those who harm children.
“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”Luke 17:2
If it wasn’t bad enough to have clergy accusing our community of perpetuating evil, we also have clergy who show us no Godly empathy when evil is committed against us. Case in point, the aftermath of the Pulse Club Massacre in 2016.
Where’s the Mercy?
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”Matthew 7:15
Pastor Roger Jimenez of the Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California gained Internet infamy for producing this sermon in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. In it, Pastor Jimenez addressed the victims as “50 Sodomites”, and openly stated that he wished the shooter had “finished the job”. After all, who doesn’t like unfinished business, amirite?
Pastor Jimenez clearly didn’t have any compassion or mercy for the victims of the massacre. Furthermore, he failed to do any research on the victims, who weren’t all members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando. As People‘s article honoring the victims 4 years later details, some of them were allies, such as Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, a mother who’d been battling leukemia.
I found a follow-up interview with Pastor Jimenez that shows he had no qualms saying what he did, even going so far as to dress his vitriol as a rallying cry for “free speech”. He repeated his belief that the victims deserved to die. How incredibly loving of him!
We should all collectively take great offense at these people using God as justification for the hatred in their hearts. After all, it’s people like Pastor Jimenez who ultimately drive people away from God, because they claim so often to speak for Him. I’m being completely sardonic here, but would any of us really expect to ever hear God say, “I want more of those damn homosexuals to die!”?
Of course He wouldn’t. We must never forget that God is love, especially in the face of malice such as this.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”1 John 4:18
On a much more positive note, I found an opposingly uplifting message from a pastor here in my state, published a few days after the tragedy. In this message, while admitting that he adheres to the traditional Bible perspective on homosexuality, he simultaneously decried pastors like Pastor Jimenez who refused to do the right thing.
This is how it’s supposed to be done. I’m grateful that I found his message, because this is the one that means the most to me, more than any of the Godless garbage I heard coming out of the mouths of those who were enthused over those lost lives.
I hope that the LGBTQ community’s religious antagonists will eventually accept that they aren’t justified in their accusations against us. Their lack of integrity, especially when they refuse to address their own wrongdoings, is likely the biggest factor in why so many people have refused to go to church these days. When they obsessively focus on making us their scapegoat, any good they do otherwise ends up being overshadowed by their contempt for us.
While there’s always room for a bridge to be built over this gap, it takes two communities to do so.
And here’s one last Biblical passage to finish this delightful post with:
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.Ezekiel 16:49-50
- THE SCANDAL OF PEDOPHILIA IN THE CHURCH (Content Warning for this one. The author brutally lays into several instances where the Catholic Church and some protestant churches reacted dismissively in regards to clergy abusing children.)
- The Religious Right’s Gay Agenda
- About LGBT History Month
- Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Mel White (a powerful, eye-opening autobiography by one of America’s oldest gay Christians, detailing his struggles accepting himself, and contending with his former friends in the Religious Right such as Jerry Falwell, Sr.)
- LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study (an excellent publication created by the National Park Foundation with help by the Gill Foundation.)