Last week I posted a video of human rights activist Mitchell Gold taking on smug Christian fundamentalist Peter Sprigg. Got quite a lot of hits, and some interesting comments. One of the comments, from reader Teresa, got me thinking. I’ve edited it for ease of reading (not content) and added hyperlinks to the text she refers to:
I clicked on the Faith in America link and came across this great document, “A Report by Faith in America: Addressing Religious Arguments to Achieve LGBT Equality.”
I found this in the document.
“In 2006, the organization began a series of four-week educational campaigns in a number of communities across America with print newspaper ads, billboards and radio ads with polling conducted prior to the start and several weeks after each campaign – which had closed with a community meeting to discuss religion-based bigotry toward the LGBT community. Polling in each campaign showed positive movement in acceptance levels.”
How do we go about doing this in Montana before the next legislative session?
I think it’s very important to remember that unchallenged religious views are among the most damaging forces to human equality. Many of the fundamental negative things people believe about gay people aren’t scriptural- they’re anecdotal, anti-scientific, anti-experiential and don’t hold up under scrutiny. And I’m sick of people hiding behind Christian belief in order to promote their intolerance.
Maybe it’s time to challenge them on a broader level in Montana.
Anybody own a billboard?
First, listen to this podcast.
Second, listen to this:
This fundamentalist, smug and patronizing interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans by Mr Laszloffy is used to villify and degrade other human beings- and in particular, a human being I consider to be a friend.
Jamee Greer is not part of the radical homosexual agenda or a latter-day Gomorran. He is a man who simply wants identical freedom for all Montanans. This irresponsible podcast advocates harsh judgment, not God’s love and forgiveness.
I’m terrified that some fundamentalist is going to start picking off liberal lobbyists.
Third: If something happens to Jamee Greer because of this, Mr Laszloffy, the cries to heaven will be deafening. So will my words. And they will be these: You are personally responsible for spreading hate and destruction. And I will speak them until you repent.
I asked My friend Kathy to do a bit more work with this. As a straight woman, a Christian, a non-Montanan and a friend, she’s got more objectivity than I do right now.
RESPONSE TO MONTANA FAMILY FOUNDATION’S JEFF LASZLOFFY
by Kathy Baldock, Canyonwalkerconnections.com
The Word of God is a Holy Text. Abuse of the Word of God, unfortunately is rampant in the church. Theology is a compilation of the interpretation that we read (re-written from the original Greek and Hebrew), with our personal translation of what those words mean as understood in our context, our language and our own personal filters. Added to all this, is the personal revelation and relationship we individually have with Jesus.
So, is there room for one person to view Scripture differently than another person? Of course.
One of the most flagrant mis-uses and abuses of verses of the Bible is the section quoted by Jeff Lazloffy on the Legislative Update on the Montana Family Foundation Radio podcast.
Mr. Lazloffy bases his assessment of a group of people at the legislative session in Montana on some verses from the Book of Romans. Verses originally spoken to a group of people left behind in Rome in about 60 AD after all the converted Jewish Christians, the Jews and Gentile “acting like Christians” were forced to leave Rome. Theses groups were infighting over who was right, who got to use the temple space (kind of like today), so the Caesar kicked all the trouble makers out of Rome in the Edict of 54 AD. They were excommunicated for five years. So, after five years, the baby Christians left behind, the ones that were once polytheists and idol worshippers (from generations and culture of both) had fallen back into their old ways of worship in the temples. Duh! They were doing what they knew to do and, they had no mentors around to help stop the falling back.
Priscilla carried a letter from Paul to these Romans (hence the Book) and the letter told the once-gentiles-then-believers-now gentiles-again to please recall commitment once made. Having once known Jesus as Lord, they had turned from Him. THAT was the grave sin. Turning back to idol worship. Not same sex behaviors! Not homosexuality. Idol worship. Putting others things before the commitment to God.
But, misreading and abusing this text from Romans give more fuel to the anti gay crowd, so, we keep on repeating the scenario. “If you are gay and will not stop being gay, God will cut you loose and you will be a reprobate.” Noooooo. If you once had the knowledge of God and turn from Him, He will let you go your own way. Back to your old stuff.
For a full treatment of these verses go to “Romans 1:18-32. . .To Whom Was This Directed?”
It is dreadful when Christians misuse Holy Words to subjugate, threaten and demonize any other group of people . I read the Gospel as Good News. How did a Book of love get to become a weapon of fear and destruction? This is how: you put it in the hands of a people who indeed have an agenda of fear and exclusion, two messages completely contrary to the message of the Gospel.
I speak the same language as you Mr. Lazloffy, so this is for you. I do not believe for one minute that God showed you a vision of Mr. Greer in the way you depicted it. If those were God’s eyes, you would have seen someone you are called to love and serve, not judge and oppress. You were looking at one of God’s children, equal to you in His eyes. If you need a verse, stop camping on the misuse of Romans 1: 28 and drop on back to Isaiah 58:6-12. Cut the cords of oppression, fight for justice. Stop laying more oppression onto the backs of others.
I am assuming many of the objects of your version or “God love” have left churches. Yet, you want them to follow the club rules and, not only have they never bought into the rules, you won’t even let them in the club. (My assumption here, but I do assume you are not welcoming of gay/trans people in your home church, unless they change that is.)
The church has gotten to looking very much unlike Jesus. Rather than look at this group of others as “steeped in sin”, do what God really did ask of you: look at your own sin and, back to this again, love and serve.
Christians like you are keeping the youth away from churches, denying 5% of the population access to a God that somehow was able to handle my sorry self and yours. If He wants to make someone not gay, or not liberal, or not whatever the thing they are that makes you uncomfortable, then let Him do it. This stinky stuff called self-righteousness that we wear out in public is a stench to a Holy God. And it is stinky to others too.
Go love and serve, fight for justice and against oppression and then, you might actually smell sweet enough, like Jesus, to draw people to Him instead of repulsing them away.
I am a straight Evangelical Christian who is finally understanding the message of Jesus that is not embodied in Romans 1:28. The overarching message of the Bible is not power packed into six anti gay verses, it is this : love your neighbor (told once) and love your enemy/the stranger (told twenty six times). I do not need a vision to confirm that you are failing at that calling. I only needed to listen to your three minute legislative summary.
Go apologize and serve the others, then, you will begin to look like the Lord I love and serve