Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Would Jesus Discriminate? Do You?

From Would Jesus Discriminate website:

It’s often quoted, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

The Church (and individual Christians) certainly aren’t immune from making mistakes — horrible ones, at times. In the past, we’ve misused the Holy Scriptures to defend — and even promote — some indefensible beliefs and actions.

There was a time when most Christians believed slavery was the will of God. There was a time when most Christians believed women should not be allowed to vote. There was a time when most Christians believed that interracial marriage was wrong. Each position was elaborately supported with biblical arguments — and each position, we can now clearly see, was dead wrong.

We now understand that cultural prejudice was at work shaping the way these Christians read the Bible. It is essential, for those of us who seek to know and follow the will of God in all we do, that we learn about the errors in our history so that we never those mistakes again. Precious lives are at stake, and we simply can’t afford to be so wrong again.

Proponents of slavery used three distinct appeals: nature, scripture, and social order. They argued that the nature of African people (often seen as the "curse of Ham") relegated them to servitude. This view was bolstered by a narrow reading of select scriptures. [See note 1. ] They also claimed that human society would collapse if the status quo were not maintained.

Using the same reasons as those who advocated for slavery (nature, scripture, and social order) some Christians have resisted every attempt to improve the standing of women in society, most notably fighting against allowing women to vote. Nature and selected scripture were invoked to show that a woman’s place was in the home, not engaged as a citizen.

In June 2007, the United States celebrates the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights case that struck down laws forbidding interracial marriage. Here is what the judge in the state case wrote:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. " — Statement by Virginia trial judge in 1959 case that led to 1967 U.S. Supreme Court striking down laws in 16 states that prohibited interracial marriage.

Incredibly, this judge was invoking the same prejudiced understanding of God, nature, and social order to make his ruling. And this was nearly a hundred years after the lessons of slavery!

Parts of the Bible, when applied in isolation without the context of the whole of Scripture and without the guidance of the Spirit, have been used to justify slavery, segregation, racism, and the subjugation of women.

So, the questions we submit are, Where else is that same error being committed today in your life and the lives of those around you? When are the same arguments (nature, isolated Scriptures, and social order) used to condemn others?

All of these historical arguments about race and gender sound hauntingly familiar people of developmental disorders, emotional disorders, to people of varied gender identities (transgender), and to people of varied sexual orientations. Even people of advanced age or unique physical features have been subject to the prejudice of "normative" society. We’ve been told we’re contrary to nature, even condemned in scripture, and that any recognition of our rights or relationships will, at the very least, strain social order.

Christian love seeks to encompass all humanity in the embrace of God and to teach each of us to love one another as we love ourselves. There are ways to read read the Bible — spiritually, intellectually sound ways — that are affirming to all. You can hold to an anti-anyone interpretation, but that is your choice. The Scriptures do not compel it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


There is a group of young women who have decided to travel across our nation to point out the growing problem of teen homelessness. In this, the richest country in the world, we have nearly 2 million homeless teenagers. Several recent studies have pointed out that 40% of these teens are LGBTQ. Homeless only because their families reject them because of who they are....

Please visit Homeless Youth Pride Walk 2009 to support this effort, and contact your local shelters to find out what you can do to help.

From their blog:

In May, 2009, Jill Hardman, Nicole Tomlin, and Chloe Michelle Noble are walking across the United States to raise awareness for LGBTQ homeless
youth in America. They will set out from Seattle, Washington, traveling 6000 miles (3000 of it on foot) across the United States in over 6 months. They will be living out of their backpacks for most of their journey, which will give them a unique opportunity to document the lives of homeless youth all over the United States. (They will not be using any resources saved for homeless youth.)

"Almost 40% of homeless youth in America identify as LGBTQ. This diverse group of Queer youth has a unique and powerful voice. We want to support them in their progress and give them a platform to stand on. Studies show that many homeless youth who receive appropriate guidance, support, resources, and encouragement, eventually become successful members of the community. By raising awareness we hope to inspire others to make sure more resources are available to homeless youth for this reason." -- Chloe Michelle Noble