Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Our Turn Now

If I can accept into church a straight person who may be a gambler, a closet alcoholic - or a tattoo artist or shellfish salesman, why do some take issues with us for being gay, bi, transgender or intersex?

Did we make ourselves? They believe God made everyone - except us. Somehow, we were supposedly responsible for making ourselves. We are in their eyes, illegitimate - while they see themselves as blessed, righteous and perfect.

Hypocrisy.

I will say it again: HYPOCRISY.

Because they think we will not stand up for ourselves. Because they think nobody else will take our part. Because they have forgotten the church is God's house - and they are NOT God.

Last week I engaged in a spirited debate on a Facebook group set up to support Ecclesia de Lange, a Methodist minister who has been dismissed by the Methodist Church of SA for marrying her long time girlfriend, Amanda in a private ceremony which was performed by another church denomination. I was debating with a man calling himself a Christian, whose argument proved to me that he held no affiliation with the same Christ figure that came to this Earth to love all people abundantly, inclusively and unconditionally.

This argument by Amiel Joshua indicates to me the schizophrenic nature of the Christian religion, not just today, but as it has always been.

If the spirit of Christ is missing from the church, what does that say of the church? Is it still "Christianity" - or is it "Ianity"?

Let's pick up where we left off yesterday.

"I'm not sure which church you go to - " Amiel continued, using the modern bible as authority and justification for his banal condemnation of Ecclesia and all GLBTI people and reducing their nature to mere "behavior". "But most churches believe that the bible is the final authority for both belief and behaviour. To explain the authority of the bible the Alpha course uses a good illustration, Sir Christopehr Wren is said to ahve built St pauls Cathedral yet he never laid a single stone he was just the architect. If you consider the bible yes a number of people "authored" it but it was God achitected and inspired."

I take a certain amount of pleasure in pointing out that "inspired by God" doesn't mean "written by God" - just as the telephone directory was inspired by Alexander Graham Bell, the bible is about as relevant as the same - and even in the 21st century, the telephone directory still has errors in it.

"hetro people need to choose their lifestyle as well." Said Amiel, trying to make it look like he wasn't focusing on sexual orientation, and not quite pulling it off. "I choose not to sleep around, watch porn etc etc as I'd like to try live according to God moral standard. Gay people who want to be chrsitian need to as well." According to Amiel, being gay is a sin, regardless of how else you live, and whether you are Christian or not. In fact, from the above you can clearly see that Amiel - like the religious right and conservatives often do - sees being gay and Christian as mutually exclusive. In other words, to be one, you must cease being the other. If Amiel is anything to judge Christians by, I am quite happy with my decision to renounce religion altogether. So, see Amiel, your tactic works quite well. Many people have turned their backs on the religion you and your friends have hijacked and claimed for your own.

Then he referred to his earlier comment which compared gay people as sinners to Hitler, being eligible for salvation should they turn from their sin. Great analogy, that. "A genocidal maniac is a sinner like the rest of us, there are no degrees of sinner." Ah yes, Amiel - but yet gamblers, porn stars, tax collectors, divorced people, women who have had abortions, ex-convicts, farmers who grow mixed crops, fish merchants who sell shellfish, people who work on the sabbath are all permitted to be full church members - and to marry whomever they will. And the lovely accepting church still chooses to single us out alone. Why is that?

"The God and bible is not in dispute," Amiel insisted again, doubtlessly frustrated by his own lack of evidence to substantiate his bigotry and prejudice. Oh, but it is to me, Amiel. Always. There is almost nothing in the bible or in Christian doctrine that wasn't stolen from older religions. Is there anything at all that is unique in Christianity? Anything that is even true? Even Sundays are a lie - the Sabbath is really on a Saturday. Even Christmas is a lie, based on the pagan festival of Saturnalia, complete with symbols, greetings and even the dates - as are Advent, Ash Wednesday, Easter etc, etc. Even the messiah rising from the dead after 3 days was taken from ancient religions of Tammuz and Nimrod and is not unique at all.

"if it were Ecclesia would not want to be a pastor / priest in the methodist church. it would actually be interesting to see aht her take is on the bible view of homosexuality." - Here is one possible view, although I feel it is casting pearls before swine giving you the link as you obviously are too brainwashed to accept it.

And then Amiel does the expected - coming up to defend the ACDP, that nest of vipers poised to strike at human rights for the pink community in South Africa. "For all their faults the ACDP do actually keep to the bible standards, except one problem not all south africans are christians." - Why is that a problem? Not everyone can or will ever be Christians, Amiel - and I am so glad of this, because otherwise we would all be mindless little lemmings all marching in step beneath a white flag with a blue cross on it. There are many paths, and I don't believe any one group has any claim to say they have the only right one. The ACDP attacks and undermines human rights and has Christianist oppression and totalitarianism as its central ethos.

"marraige is between a man and women" Says Amiel, parrot-fashion, "...but its a civil union for gay people, hence the quotes on marriage." - Actually Amiel, this is South Africa. The church does not make the law of the land, and the Constitution says we are all to be treated equally, which means that marriage is between two people who love and commit to each other, regardless of gender.

By now our friend Amiel had got so riled up and frustrated, that he revealed his true purpose on the support group - to attack and deride the dignity of GLBTI people. To presumably try to score brownie points for his own bleak afterlife. He pulled out the ignorant bigot card and started belting out lies that gay people can change - and that they should change.

"Yes, its possible to stop being gay as well as to stop living the gay lifestyle." - BULLSHIT - as witnessed by the following:

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Amiel then attempted to substantiate his bogus claims by presenting the basis for his fallacy - yet another fallacy. Sorry, Amiel - but one lie upon another does not make a truth.

"i have friends that were missionaries in Kazakstan, there was one guy in his 20's who has gay but after months of coucelling they traced back to his childhood and found sexual abuse, which they were able to overcome and in months he was able to develop normal feelings." - So being gay is a result of child abuse? MORE UTTER BULLSHIT. See the above links. Only a James Dobson clone could believe rubbish like that - and then expect other people to persecute others based on it.

It is no more than a plethora of lies, misinformation and horse manure used as a weapon against innocent people.

"Once again the authority of the bible is not in dispute." Oh yes? Think again. Or better yet, start to. How can you discount one side of an argument and claim "there is no dispute?" How small minded of you. I would like to see you and those who think like you, extend any authority over me.

"You're concentrating on the livitcus passage, shellfish etc do you understnad the issues of the old testament law and how it comes together with jesus teaching and the new testament???" Amiel countered - by calling me "ignorant". Ah but there you have sunk your own argument, Amiel - because the Leviticus passage is where you like to condemn gay people as an "abomination" along with eating shellfish.

WHERE in the NT does Christ condemn gay people - or even ONCE address the subject? Oops on your part.

He then asked me "who is the APA?" proving to me that he only knows one side of the argument that he believes in so completely. So much for MY ignorance.

The American Psychological Association, dear Amiel, is the leading authority on the matter of mental disorders - and they say that so called "experts" who claim to be able to change people's inborn sexual orientation - or "pray away the gay" if you will - are a lot of lying charlatans. What is your degree in again?

Regardless of anyone's belief, the laws of equality have been infringed upon, as has Ecclesia's dignity and ours.

Arguments of logic, as is typical when confronting such people, seem wasted as they simply retreat into a corner, spouting rhetoric and scriptural references, getting wide-eyed and agitated. If it were not so tragic - and dangerous, it would be quite entertaining.

"Remember." He said (I could picture him standing in his corner with a finger waving in the air) "...with God all things are possible, you could be become straight even." Sure, Amiel. Even if this nonsense were true - WHY would I want to? This is who I am. I am happy and whole as I am. This is how I was made. Did the potter's hand slip?

"Its not BS..." He protested again. Yes, it is. "on what grounds can you just dimiss it?" On the grounds of scientific and medical fact. Let's list it again for everyone's benefit.


Catch a wake-up Amiel and friends - fact trumps mumbo-jumbo and fairy tales (and bullshit) every time.

We have all heard the same rubbish and hate-inspired propaganda from people like you before. Why don't you go rant and rave in Uganda where people who agree with you want to murder all the gays in their country in the name of God? At least they may believe you.

It is ironic to me that the pink community is forever on the outside looking in, and never in the management of an "inclusive" church, to speak out on such matters from within the leader group. It seems matters such as the Ecclesia issue are designed to ensure that this remains so. If the legal path is the only way to force change, then so be it. Time will heal those wounds also.

I would say this is where we are standing now. The appeal of Ecclesia has been heard and rejected, the memory forgotten. Where to now when appeals and reminders of conscience have fallen on deaf ears?

Let's look at it this way: How many GLBTI people are in the leader group of the MCSA? How many of them can you say are unbiased? Bearing this in mind, how would you rationalize the outcome of this trial and appeal?

Now a legal battle looms that will rap them on the knuckles and remind them that they are not the law in this country - but also give them grounds to complain that "the church is being persecuted" - and yet another thing to blame us for, another thing to hate us for. It seems they always have all the cards in their favor, either way, we always end up losing.

Yes, the lawyers are the ones who gain financially - but through similar battles,(which made others rich financially) we now have equal civil rights, and the right to marry - but apparently still not in the holy halls of the almighty MCSA.

If leaders call themselves unbiased or inclusive, then they should back this up with actions that demonstrate the all encompassing love they proclaim to have in the image of Christ.

The poor, poor church. An unfeeling lump of stone being placed before the needs and welfare of those who form its foundations and bleed and suffer under its weight daily.

It saddens me that those Christians who do not have to apologize feel the need to do so. It saddens me when those who should apologize and make things right, instead pass the blame onto God and Christ and use them to justify their hatred.

Nevertheless, thank you.

When confronting institutional bigotry and religious prejudice from the narrow-minded, we can use their hatred to our advantage. Their unwillingness to compromise can be used to work in our favor. It shows them up, and they seldom realize it, in fact they cannot even recognize that there is another side to their "one-sided" argument.

I believe most people are good, even deep down, even if you have to dig a little - although some people can tempt one to pick up a shovel and actually put that to the test.

We need to stop apologizing for the way God made us. If they have issues with us they should take it up with the Maker, not try to fill the Maker's shoes. They abuse us and think there is no reason to apologize. They degrade us and see no reason to feel bad for it. They oppress us and they see no reason to feel guilty.

It's time the worm turned.

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