Jonathan Swift, 17th Century Satirist, Clergyman, Writer (Gulliver’s Travels), Political Activist said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
I wonder why that is.
But I don’t question it.
I see it. All around. In different religions.
The shooter, who claimed to be Muslim, on June 12.
The response to the shooting by those claiming to be Christian:
Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento told his congregation, “Christians shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites…the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is – I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job…I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.”
Jimenez posted his sermon, in which he made these remarks, on his church’s website under the title, “The Christian response to the Orlando murders.”
So that’s the Christian response? That’s how Jesus would respond?
Pastor Steven Anderson, who has previously said that gay people are “worthy of death,” weighed in with these words:
“The Bible says that homosexuals should be put death in Leviticus 20:13. Obviously, it’s not right for someone to just shoot up the place because that’s not going through the proper channels. But these people all should have been killed anyway but they should have been killed through the proper channels as in, they should have been executed by a righteous government that would have tried them, convicted them, and saw them them executed…That’s what the Bible says. Plain and simple…the bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they’re going to continue to molest children and recruit people into their filthy homosexual lifestyle.”
Hateful speech has punctured the airwaves for years:
In 2012, Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina told his congregation, “Build a great, big large fence – 150 or 100 mile long – put all the lesbians in there…Do the same things for queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”
Last year, Matt McLaughlin proposed a ballot measure in California mandating the execution of all homosexuals by “bullets to the head” or “any other convenient method.” He explained that it is “better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath.”
Connecting gays with God’s punishment is not new.
John Hagee, in a 2006 interview, described Hurricane Katrina as “God’s retribution for a planned gay pride parade.”
In 1988, as Hurricane Bonnie set its course toward Orlando, Pat Robertson pre-emptively blamed gays at Disney World’s Gay Days Weekend for being the cause of the pending storm. “Hold the judgment, Pat!” The storm changed course, completely missed Florida but hit the rest of the East coast. One of the hardest hit areas was Hampton Roads, VA, where Robertson’s 700 Club is based. Oops.
Following the 9-11 attack, Jerry Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘you helped this happen.’”
In January, 2016, Franklin Graham said in a radio interview,
“We have allowed the Enemy to come into our churches. I was talking to some Christians and they were talking about how they invited these gay children to come into their home and to come into the church and that they were wanting to influence them. And I thought to myself, they’re not going to influence those kids; those kids are going to influence those parent’s children.
What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving. We have to understand who the Enemy is and what he wants to do. He wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation and we have to be so careful who we let out kids hang out with. We have to be careful who we let into the churches. You have immoral people who get into the churches and it begins to effect the others in the church and it is dangerous.”
LGBT kids, the enemy? Did he really say that?
40% of homeless children in the United States are LGBTQ.
68% of them report their homelessness is due to family rejection because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, often by religious parents.
Is there a connection between those statistics and the sentiment expressed in Franklin’s words? How could there not be?
Is there any wonder why our LGBTQ friends hesitate or refuse to enter the doors of most churches?
How much religion do we have? Enough to love?
Are we following the ethical progression in the Bible? God calls us to a higher and higher ethic. I see this in Jesus’ repeated phrase: “You have heard it said…but I say to you…”
The Bible, in both Testaments, condone slavery. Yet, we abhor and condemn slavery today. Why? Ethical progression. Jesus is constantly calling us to a higher ethic of love. The Spirit of Jesus has transformed how we interpret and apply the Biblical passages on slavery.
It’s easy to look at the Orlando shooting and make judgments about the shooter’s religion.
Are we willing to look at our own?