First let me just say after a power flicker while in the middle of writing this blog, the term “Jesus saves” has new meaning for me this morning.
I want to say to my sisters and brothers in the LGBTQIA community who have been so battered and beaten by the religious establishment, especially those of the Christian faith, I am indeed sorry. Those in the religious faith have either by design or ignorance have gotten wrong about us and our standing with God.
I have figured out the real problem with my community is not coming from the world of science.
Our problems with living a peaceful life are not coming from psychologists.
Our inability to walk our streets safely is not coming from the really bad attitude of law enforcement or some jerks that wouldn't understand their own sexuality if it hit them in the face.
Nope, our problem is just one word: sin. Sadly this has become the catch word for anything the so-called moral elite don't like about a person or groups of persons. If one does not behave according to a strict set of guidelines then they are sinning and the consequences of whatever harm comes their way is their fault.
Before the reader deletes this blog or goes running from the room screaming…read a little further and one will see that I am correct.
I also think for the activist LGBTQIA not dealing with this or acknowledging this as the bottom line issue that is really holding us back from our civil rights is a huge mistake.
We must begin to take this issue on and not talk around it or act as if it is the simple argument of a religious fanatic.
I know there is the whole separation of church and state thing, but folks let's be honest, that is a crap argument and we know it. If one claims to be a person of faith regardless of their religion that faith affects the way they live, think and work within the community.
Since our religious faith affects us so dramatically, it then only stands to reason the effects to our community are dramatic.
Some points to be ponder.
We have no protection for our relationships in the state of
because our relationships are seen as sinful. Georgia
We have no protection in this state and many others from hate crimes, well, cause homosexuality and all other variations of sexual behavior aside from male to female missionary style intercourse are seen as a sin.
We have no protection with our jobs because “well damn preacher that lifestyle is a sin.”
We have no protection with our housing because two women or even more so two men living together and sharing a bedroom is a sin.
We cannot get married in this state and many others because same gender relationships are seen as a sin.
Still not convinced? Still think I have come to this conclusion because I am a preacher? Read on…
This concept of us being sinful is so deeply interwoven into our minds even we as a community can't see it for what it is anymore.
I had a young man in my office the other day who was desperately trying to be ok with the fact he was gay. We went through all the arguments concerning nature and nurture.
We covered all the “Christian slaughter passages” and he could see and even understand the culture and translation problems they present.
We even covered the arguments that being same gender loving is not a lifestyle.
At the end of an hour and a half discussion, he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I get all of what you said Pastor, I even agree with most of it. But what if you are wrong? What if it is a sin?”
The word itself, however, is so commonly used that it has become debased, distorted and abused.
In this condition, it carries little emotional and intellectual force.
To some people, it has become like "The sky is falling!" of Chicken Little fame.
To unbelievers, "sin" is almost a joke—they even compose songs containing light references to it.
So how is the word defined? According to Wikipedia; “A sin is an act that violates a known moral rule. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Sin can refer not only to physical actions taken, but also to thoughts and internalized motivations and feelings. Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, selfish, shameful, harmful, or alienating might be termed "sinful".
So, who decided LGBTQIA people and who they are is a sin? At least for it me it isn’t God or that “Higher Power”. So who made this great dramatic decision that loving the same gender was a sin?
As a Pastor my working definition of sin has always been, “any intentional act, word or deed that brings harm to another or oneself.” Now hang onto this for a second, we are coming back to it.
This week I had a gentleman in my office who allowed for my entire defense of the LGBTQIA community up to a point. His final argument was that when a person took Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they set aside the old and began living in the new, leaving their sinful nature behind.
I told him I was that person. He said, “But you continue to sin even though you know that your relationship is wrong in the eyes of God, therefore you continue to sin.” What??? This guy can’t be serious! Yet he is and this is the problem for our community in a nut shell. Sin.
For those of you who have read my blog for a while already know this but it bears repeating.
1) I accepted Jesus Christ as Savior when I was in the 8th grade.
2) I was called by God to ordained ministry in 1986.
3) I met my partner in 1982 and we entered into a covenant relationship (marriage) and 30 year later we are still together.
4) I have preached the “gospel” for the last 26 years, which has included feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty and visited the sick and imprisoned.
5) I have spent almost my entire life trying to the best of my ability and sometimes failing in grand ways to be about doing justice, to be merciful and walk humbly with God.
6) My partner and I own a home, pay our taxes and live in a quiet neighborhood.
7) We love watching the Atlanta Braves, and I am a huge Chicago Blackhawk fan.
8) My partner will read any kind of “science-fiction that he can get his hands on.
9) My partner works in the computer field and would have to be physically dead before not reporting to work.
10)Finally, but not least we have 2 labs, a Macaw and 2 cockatiels.
So where is the sin? What intentional act, word or deed have we done because we are a same gender loving person that has brought harm to another or even ourselves?
I am not trying to be a “goodie two shoes”, because I am not, far from it. I certainly have my short comings and times where my responses to life's situations are lacking.
However, that is not due to my sexual orientation, my sexual orientation is not a sin.
GLBTQIA’s sexual orientation is not a sin.
Sexual orientation has nothing to do now or ever with the definition of sin.
All the things we are fighting for will fall into place when the “Church” stops lying to themselves and us. We are not a sin and they know that. There are 10 other things the “Church” should know as well and my thanks to Rev. Jim Rigby for having the guts to point it out.
1. If Jesus did not mention a subject, it cannot be essential to his teachings.
2. You are not being persecuted when prevented from persecuting others.
3. Truth isn't like wine that gets better with age. It's more like manna you must recognize wherever you are and whoever you are with.
4. You cannot call it “special rights” when someone asks for the same rights you have.
5. It is no longer your personal religious view if you're bothering someone else.
6. Marriage is a civil ceremony, which means it's a civil right.
7. If how someone stimulates the pubic nerve has become the needle to your moral compass, you are the one who is lost.
8. To condemn homosexuality, you must use parts of the Bible you don't yourself obey. Anyone who obeyed every part of Leviticus would rightly be put in prison.
9. If we do not do the right thing in our day, our grandchildren will look at us with same embarrassment we look at racist grandparents.
10. When Jesus forbade judging, that included you.