The passing of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, which essentially said, "Hey, we know homosexuals can't get married already but we just want to make EXTRA sure they know we are against it," has really stirred up the fires on the issue of marriage equality and the Church is responding. Terribly.
First, there was a sermon in which a pastor told his congregation that he thought all homosexuals should be put in an electrified fence, fed via flyovers and left to die out because they can't reproduce. (Because we all know gay children come from gay parents. Oh... wait....)
Don't get me wrong, the electric fence guy made me feel upset but at least his idea was insane so I just dismissed him as crazy. It was disturbing, but, to be honest, I wrote this guy off immediately. He sounded ignorant. He used terrible grammar. It disgusted me he would suggest something like this, disgusted me that his congregation would applaud and say "amen", but on the whole I thought, "Stupid nut job" and moved on.
But these comments from Curtis Knapp made me sob. I made it about 30 seconds before I completely lost it and started crying my heart out.
"They should be put to death.... it tends to limit people coming out of the closet. 'Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them.' No, but I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should."
What is wrong with this man? These men?! The people in their churches!?! Did anyone stand up and leave? I want to believe that next Sunday he'd stand before an empty church. Unfortunately, I'm sure that's not true.
I don't, I can't understand how that man could think it would ever be okay or the will of God to say something so terrible. In his reaction to the responses he's received as a result of his sermon, Knapp said, "My hope is for their salvation, not for their death" but did not apologize for or retract what he had said. So, sorry Knapp, I'm going to have to call bullshit on that. And I'm going to have to call bullshit on other Christians who try to pull this same thing, ie, attacking the LGBT community, oppressing them, calling them animals, debased, abominations, etc. and then claiming they are acting in love. That, I'm sorry, is not love.
I know, I know, that many Christians believe they need to stand against the LGBT community and stand for the Bible, but I ask you, is that what they are doing? Is saying hurtful and hate-filled things what Jesus would do? I just can't believe that. Even if you believe that homosexuality is not the way God wants someone to live, you should not threaten that person or do harm to them, whether that be physically or emotionally. Shame on us. Shame on the Church for crushing these people's spirits with hateful speech. Shame on us for claiming we think their sin is the same as ours and yet treating them like lepers. Shame on us for allowing men to stand in positions of authority in the church family and say such horrible things. Shame on us for letting our desire to win trump our desire to love and care for the humans around us. Shame on us all if we don't stand up and tell people that this is not acceptable, these words are not okay, these men do not speak for me.
Friends, don't let this issue of marriage equality divide, destroy and devolve the Church. Whether we all agree about whether or not homosexuality is sinful, whether or not your church wants to allow LGBT members into the fold, we should all be able to agree that we should have one response to them- love. Love like we love ourselves. That is just not happening. These men are not loving these people, they are not even beginning to treat them as they would wish to be treated. I don't believe that these pastors would suggest death or imprisonment for themselves. I believe what they are doing is reacting to the social environment with fear, extremism and hate. They believe there are too many Christians not upholding that "old time religion" and damn it! they are going to fix it by showing that they will obey the Bible no matter what! Be it insane or cruel, no problem!
"My friends, you were chosen to be free... use your freedom as an opportunity to serve each other with love. All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love each other as you love yourself. If you keep attacking each other like wild animals... you will destroy yourselves." - Galatians 5:13-15
We are destroying ourselves. The Church is becoming synonymous with hate. We are the hate people. And I am grieved.