During the days of slavery, people who kept countering the “Biblical” arguments for slavery with the “Biblical” arguments for the end of slavery were wasting their time. The very back and forth of it made it seem like possibly those who argued from scripture in support of slavery had a point at least worth opposing.
Instead, somebody needed to stand up and say, “I don’t give a damn what scriptures you throw at me, or how you spin them. Slavery is WRONG, and you’re sick, and that’s the end of it. Call me a heretic or whatever, but the universe arcs toward justice and in the end you’ll have been on the wrong side of both history and theology.”
Likewise, I don’t care what scriptures people are throwing out to justify the discrimination and hatred against gays. And let me be clear — it’s hatred on a level that is hard to imagine.I’m not talking about merely taking a theoretical position for or against “homosexuality.” I’m talking about a way of treating people whose sexual preference is different from your own. That is where you see the hatred. I’m thinking now of all those people who called and canceled their child sponsorships with World Vision because they didn’t like the idea that they might end up drinking at the same water foundation as a gay person. Apparently not even feeding hungry children is worth doing if a gay person’s hands might touch the food first.
Continue Reading »
I used to think it was hypocritical when people would claim to be tolerant, and yet not tolerate the intolerance of others. But should intolerance be tolerated?
I now realize that if a person is truly tolerant, intolerance is a characteristic they MUST NOT tolerate. [Tweet this]
Tolerance is actually a very low standard. It is not the belief that all views are equally valid, nor that all opinions are equally credible, and it is certainly does not even come close to what Jesus taught as “agape,” which is unconditional love.
Tolerance is simply the idea that a society functions best when a person’s beliefs are not used as grounds for hatred, discrimination, or violence. A person who sincerely embraces this idea cannot, at the same time, support its opposite.
All values have logical limits. One may believe in and practice free speech, but one may not yell “Fire” in a crowded movie theater just for fun. That endangers people.
A Christian church that claims to be “open and accepting” could not reasonably be called hypocritical for refusing to let an avowed atheist preach the Sunday sermon. It cannot support “openness” to a point where it begins actually working against its core message.
One may be intolerant (it is ignorant, but not criminal), but one cannot reasonably expect someone who believes in tolerance to support intolerance. [Tweet this]
After all, that person sincerely believes that intolerance endangers people.
The next time you are opposing a person’s intolerance, and they accuse you of being intolerant of their intolerance, send them here. Or at least make this argument.
The most significant moment of my moral life was the moment I decided to never let fear, or being offended, to keep me from considering whether something is true.
Make that commitment and your life will never be the same. It’s the moral equivalent of taking the red pill.
When you make that decision, you wake up. You start seeing with clarity you never knew was possible. The first thing you start to see is your own fear and defensiveness, how deeply rooted in you they both are, how quickly you become offended and fearful.
Continue Reading »
I read an article this morning called Don’t Call Beyonce’s Sexual Empowerment Feminism. I’d recommend you read the article, but the gist of it is that Beyonce (and, by extension, all female artists who are using sex to sell records) is not a feminist, regardless of her claims to the contrary.
I agree with the article. And I don’t think this issue needs to be all that complex.
There is a clear way forward for women who wish to be sexy, intelligent, creative, and feminist. All we have to do is look at Pink.
Pink is sexy without being a sex object, she’s a fantastic singer, she writes powerful songs about life and female exploitation (without participating in it) — she’s the whole package. And she’s wildly famous to boot.
There are others, of course.
Continue Reading »
It’s official. Michigan’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage has been declared unconstitutional. Things in Michigan are about to change, big-time.
I was one of the people going to door to door having people sign petitions to get the gay marriage ban onto the ballot in 2004. As a pastor, I even encouraged people in my church to do it. I now regret that very deeply.
I know I hurt some people at the time and drove wedges between myself and others unnecessarily.
What can I say? I was 35 — just a youngster! I was trying to hard to be “radical for Jesus,” but now I understand that the kind of radical Jesus was went way beyond my small-minded notions at that time.
Jesus was, and is, radical enough to let people make their own choices. Jesus never forced anyone to believe, or tried to shout down his opponents. He simply allowed people to live their lives, and let them know that, whether they realized it or not, they were already standing in the refreshing stream of the mercy and love of God, which was available to them freely.
That mercy and love is available to you too, no matter who you are. God created you and loves you. You may be gay or straight. You may struggle with your sexuality or embrace it. You are a creation of God, a work in progress, a gift to the world.
I apologize to those I hurt and have wronged by my well-intended zeal on this issue.
If you are gay, I want you to know that for some time now I have supported your right to live according to your best understanding of how you should live. That’s not a religious issue, it’s an issue of how we treat human beings in a free and pluralistic society.
Justice has been served today.