Everyday the first thing I do here at Believe Out Loud is look for LGBT religious related news. I look for stories to feature on our website or interesting people with whom we ally ourselves. This morning, I was on The Advocate website, and came across a story about one of my favorite comediennes: Lucille Ball. Although not work-related, I had to take a minute to see why she was featured in The Advocate. Turns out she was a supporter of gay rights! But, alas, this is not a blog about Lucille Ball and her advocacy.
As with most online news stories, this story was replete with reader comments. The majority of them? Adoring I Love Lucy fans? If only. Instead, 80% involved a piercing dialogue from a reactionary Christian who found his way to The Advocate to berate and harass the website’s LGBT-friendly audience. Using Biblical passages and scriptural references, he preached death and torment to the LGBT community as “God’s word.” His vitriol, and the reactions to it, comprised virtually the entire comments section; Lucille Ball’s support of LGBT rights was lost in the shuffle.
That same morning, I came across another story, a story that (thankfully!) is increasingly familiar. It’s Headline: “Baptist Minister Protests Lack of Marriage Equality.” An out and proud Lesbian minister, Rev. Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC has decided she will no longer sign any marriage licenses until gay couples have the same marriage rights as straight couples. Earlier this year, the senior Minister of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church in Louisville, KY took a similar stance, and UMC pastor Reverend Amy DeLong faced a potential de-frocking for performing a Holy Union for a gay couple and living out and proud as a Lesbian.
Do you notice what I notice? The use of Christianity as a justifier and how it differs for everyone?
While today, more and more Christians are standing up for equality and inclusion, there are many who use their belief to justify their hatred: as if it gives them license to talk down to us, and damn us to Hell.
Each of us has a choice. We can make a conscious decision to either walk in the light, love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ and embrace each other, or we can use our religion as an excuse to preach hate and act unjustly.
Here at Believe Out Loud we are working to bring together 1 million Christians for inclusion and equality. Our Facebook page recently passed over 21,000 likes, jumping from just over 16,000 when I arrived a month ago. The word is spreading, and people are realizing that we are here…and more importantly, that we deserve to be here. So my question to you this week is: What is your Christianity used to justify? What example are you setting and what message are you preaching?
Image flickr asbolov