Monday, September 28, 2009

Let Us Hate, as our Father in Heaven Hates

Homosexuality is a topic I rarely touch, not because of it's controversy but because it is a subject I know little about. I can't even begin to understand what it means to be gay anymore than I can begin to understand being a woman (a subject that my wife reminds me on a daily basis). What I do understand is that our sexuality is a part of our identity. It is part of our humanity and therefore part of our culture and society. It is not something that we should hide and lock up in the closet (no pun intended) nor is it something we are comfortable flaunting in public like animals (although many would agree that we are quickly becoming more comfortable with sexuality in the public sphere). Yet, there is no harm, nor should there be any fear in talking about sexuality in general and more specifically, homosexuality. What do we have to lose by simply talking? Do we really have to hate as our Father in Heaven hates? And will we transcend the fear and the hatred we have for those who may be carry the slightest differences?

Directed by Daniel G. Karslake, For the Bible Tells Me So is a 2007 documentary about the issues and struggles between homosexuality and Christianity. Can someone be a Christian and a homosexual? Does God really hate them? I first saw this film about a year ago and regardless of your views I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. The video is up on Youtube in 9 parts, so watch it while it's still up.

"You have to think when you read the Bible. Which is why before the Reformation perhaps the Roman Catholics were right in saying that ordinary people shouldn't be reading the Bible cause they usually get it wrong." We assume that based on our understanding of God and the Bible that we know that our interpretation is correct. Yet we constantly forget that these texts weren't written directly for us. In my humble opinion, keeping the context of the scripture in mind is the only way of avoiding the pitfalls of prejudice and justified hatred that Christianity has stepped into almost willingly.

"There about 6-7 verses in all of scripture that speak to even remotely of what we may call homosexual activity or homosexual conduct." This may sound like a small factoid from the Reverend Peter Gomes but it demonstrates the anxiety and fear people have when it comes to homosexuality by overemphasizing the importance of these verses as opposed to verses on poverty. Homophobes may have stronger arguments if there were 30 verses scattered throughout the Bible, but a stronger argument doesn't mean that it's morally right to persecute anyone.

"I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, the Bible does." This is by far the scariest quote of the film (from the West Wing clip) because not only do people actually think like this, but it rests the burden of morality on something else instead of ourselves. We let something (or someone) else think for us, reason for us, choose right or wrong for us, and in the end this form of thinking is used to justify denigrate and subjugate people who do not believe like we believe. The reasoning that "if God hates it, then it's okay for us to hate it as well" is monstrous and absolves us from loving one another.

Should not the Church be moved to heal the damage its teachings have inflicted on LGBT people? When did the Church overwrite the teachings of Christ's universal love with teachings of hatred? Forgive me if I paint the Church with a broad brush, there are some progressive and liberal churches that are welcoming and willing to heal the damage caused by some of Christianity's teachings. But the issue still at hand is that Christianity is still overwhelmingly against homosexuality based on a handful of verses. Where is the outcry against poverty, the hungry, the sick? How many people will starve to death by the end of this film? Yet, we worry about and preoccupy ourselves with what two people may do behind closed doors.

For those in Bible study groups or anyone who would like to hold in depth group conversations about this film there is a study guide available for download (PDF file, 77 pages) created to accompany the film. You can find it here. And if for some reason this film is no longer available on the internet then I highly recommend renting it.


Don said...

Erusso- Thank you so much for posting this. I watched and ordered the DVD from Amazon today. As the father of a gay son with two straight brothers, this is a Godsend. My wife and I will watch this DVD together and get it to anyone who needs it.

Eruesso said...

Your welcome, Don. The beauty of this film is that these are everyday people, and it's easy to condemn someone for the "sin" of homosexuality until you find out that someone close to you is one of Them. Which may or may not begin creating cracks in the Us Vs Them Wall we've erected.

David said...

Thank you very much for posting this!

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