Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Gospel According To...

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

Remember these guys?

I remember, as a young girl in Pasadena, Texas, an incident that didn't didn't make sense to me at the time. I was too young for it to have any mental impact one me.

A neighbor, just a couple of doors down, employed a Negro housekeeper. The friendly local order of the Klan----whose regional headquarters was only a few miles away on Red Bluff Road---paid a visit to our neighbor and gifted her with a burning cross in her front yard.

So young, this meant nothing to me outside the sensationalism of the FBI questioning the neighborhood and the community buzz of the incident.

But I did sense enough to be haunted by it. I'd never been raised to see anyone as anything but human. I'm grateful to my parents for that. Yet only when I grew into adulthood did I actually grasp the meaning of those events---HATE.

I had intended to post a vintage photograph of a Negro lynching from days gone by. But do you know what? They were too violent, they were so heart breaking I couldn't use them. It caused great pain to even glance at them. Bodies---young, old---hanging from trees, charred to cinders from stakes. The horrible denominator most of them had was crowds of gleeful spectators.

One photograph even showed a man, handcuffed and hanging from a tree branch, with a young girl staring up at his body as though she was in front row seats at Ringling Brothers. The photo was taken around 1914, and I wonder---hauntingly wonder---if that child ever, EVER had trouble sleeping at night.

Damn, as a kid, I could hardly sleep after an episode of Twilight Zone. And THAT was fiction, make-believe. This child watched a man hang by his neck until he was dead---and God only knows how horrific that must have been---in real life. And she smiled.

Most of us today are abhorred by this hatred. Churches preach against it. No hate, no hate, love thy brother, love thy brother. Love one another. Love thy brother as thyself.

And yet...and yet...communities band together to do just the opposite. To hate their brothers and sisters.

If you think crimes such as took place with the lynchings were a thing of the past, think again.

If you're like me, your mind quickly makes a path to young Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a vicious hate crime on October 12, 1998. Tied up, beaten, and left to die.

He was only one of so very many.

The thing that torments me about this hate? So much of is, just like the KKK, based ridiculously on scripture. Multitudes of people have taken something, some out-of-context reference, to justify their HATRED. And it is just that...HATRED.

The sad thing? The person who they so erroneously use as their champion for this hatred---Jesus Christ---was himself a victim of intolerance. He died at the hands of arrogance and hatred. The 'church', the elite religious ones, scorned him, hated him from the moment they heard his voice and his far-fetched, crazy ramblings against arrogance and self-righteousness. His adult life was a constant run from those who willed him dead. For what? For being different.

What the sanctimonious voices who promote hatred do not realize is that, if Jesus walked among them today, they would be protesting him just as their kind did during his lifetime.

For every religious pharisee who condemns the gay community is one who would have barred Jesus from the very church he founded. He would not, today, probably have been welcome in many religious establishments. He would have been just too damn radical for them. He would have suggested they allow gay men and women into their sanctuaries. For that, he would have not been welcome.

Don't kid yourselves, oh pious ones. Jesus never said a lot of things you give him credit for---things you've taken out of context in order to support your bigotry and hatred---but he DID say that to shun those among you was to shun HIM.

So you, the chicken place who pays millions to promote discrimination? Trust me. Jesus, whose name you commit your hateful acts under, is surely not smiling upon you.

And, in closing. I believe in angels. And I believe those lovely stories about how they walk among us. And I believe, with everything in me, that----by shunning those whose gender you cannot tolerate---you are very surely shutting the door on many of those angels who tread among us.


Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Carol, I am a Christian, but the commandment "Love thy Neighbor as Thyself" sticks with me here. I don't hate anyone. I won't degrade anyone. It's not for me to judge what's right and wrong, or how another person chooses to live their life. One sin is just as great as another. None of us are perfect. We all sin every day.

I think what started as a freedoom of speech issue (which I strongly uphold) at Chick-Fil-A, was blown into a gay/straight issue. Jesus walked with liars, beggars, thieves and prostitutes. How else would he have reached those who needed him most? Jesus was a rebel, and you're right...he wouldn't have been accepted in today's society. He stood for love, tolerance and forgiveness. People have forgotten that somewhere along the way.

We should hate sin, (and I'm not talking about any specific sin here) but love the sinner. JMO...

NPT said...

Well said, Carol.

C. Zampa said...

Hey, Lisa.
I'm a Christian, too. I don't hate anyone you say...I don't perceive myself above another, above anyone. That includes race, creed, gender, religion. We truly are created equal, and are equal in the sight of God...and indeed all are sinners, even the most righteous.

As far as the restaurant...I feel, in my heart, it IS a gay/straight issue to publicly announce support---huge support financially---to aide the anti-gay marriage cause. For me, that was very much a gay/straight issue. I don't resent their voice, which is---most certainly---freedom of speech.

And you are right about hating sin, not the sinner. I just can't see, in my heart, that being gay is a sin. (And certainly NOT saying that you have said so, for you did not).

So it is the prejudice from the haters that I will hate, but not the persons themselves who harbor the hate. It's not for me to judge them, but a much higher power.

Love you, my friend.

C. Zampa said...

Hey, Nikolaos.
Thank you for visiting.
It's how I feel, and may not settle well with others. But it's my heart.

C. Zampa said...

Lisa, one thing I forgot to say.

I made care not to say 'Christian' in my post, as I am a Christian myself, and I can't bear when all of us get lumped into this brew of hatred as if is a Christian thing. It isn't.

My only feeling is the use of the Bible to support hatred. That is what I believe Christ would not condone.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

No, you're right, Carol. I didn't say it was a sin, and I'm glad you understood. Guess I was going by how some people perceive it. A touchy issue for sure. And one I usually shy away from, because it is so volatile. But my point was..we all sin. (He who is without sin, cast the first stone)??? There would be none thrown.

Not one single person has the right to judge another, and I don't agree with using the Bible to support hatred in any form either. God is LOVE. Plain and simple.

Love you, sweet lady.

Unknown said...

The issue I have is with same-sex marriage being viewed as a religious issue. It isn't. If a same-sex couple went into a church, demanding that the pastor marry them, then yes that would be a religious issue. But atheists, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, etc. can all marry in their own churches or at the town hall without the approval of Christians, so why do Christians (or any group of people) have the right to prevent civil marriages between same-sex couples? Chick-fil-A has the right to say anything they like, but attempting to influence civil marriage law is where it crosses the line to me.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My parents brought me up the same way, everyone is equal. My dad used to say that race had nothing to do with whether a man was an idiot. I'm using kinder words. Haha. Dad didn't mince words much.

But it is sad. We have to stop laughing at racist jokes. We have to stop thinking it's okay to poke fun at people who are different. I understand that it's fear that creates bigots, but it would be so wonderful if we could just give these people a pill to clear their brains. People are human beings and everyone is connected to God whether they believe in Him or not.

In Canada a few years ago a judge released a pedophile because he felt the 3-year-old enticed the accused. Can you believe that! The public uproar was clear and loud, and the old judge changed his tune fast. We don't hear much of him these days, but he should have been removed from the bench immediately, no discussion.

I should probably admit that I'm prejudice against evil people.

C. Zampa said...

Lisa, that's all the point I'm trying to make. Through history, the injustices that have been done in the name of the gospel. Oh, those pictures of charred bodies I saw. And crowds standing there, smiling.
Made my heart sick.

I love you, too, my friend.

C. Zampa said...

And THAT was what I feel, Jamie. It is NOT a religious issue, which is why I resent the Biblical support being used to prevent same-sex marriage.

But, then,too, Jamie, my post has not been completely focused on the resistance to the marriage laws. It is about hate. Period. And the Bible being used to justify it.

And, to me, when the corporations take stands against it---sure, it is their right to voice---then, to me, that crosses over into bigotry.

So, for me, it is a religious issue---ONLY because religion is used as the justification.

And, too, the fact that true persons who are not bigoted, we get thrown into the lump with the haters. I just can't bear that.

Thank you for visiting, and your words are 100% true.

C. Zampa said...

Joylene, right, right, right! You are so right!

And the judge in Canada and the accusation about the three-year-old. Oh, I'm still reeling from that.

I think we had the same Dad, by the way. LOL...

Love you.

Lou Sylvre said...

Carol, wonderful post. You're right. Hate surely hasn't stopped killing people, and I think one of the most horrific ways it's done now is to make people hate themselves, or give up on the world, and commiit suicide. Driving a person to take their own life may be less obvious, but it is just as violent as a lynching. When I lived on the reservation, young tribal people hung themselves with a sickening frequency. GLBT-Q youth is another group similarly afflicted. Lives are lost, and hatred is to blame, as you so eloquently pointed out. I too believe there are true angels, the unseen kind, but we too carry the message of love and tolerance--or rather appreciation for others, regardless of whether, by any measure, they are like us or different. Thank you again for a wonderful, honest post that made me think.

C. Zampa said...

Thanks for reminding me, Lou...the effects of intolerance go far beyond just the obvious.

If I attempted to list every result the hatred has on lives and mentals states....well, unfortunately, even the wordy me could never tell them all. There are that many.

And it extends even much, much farther than just the youth in GLBT-Q community. The intolerance covers any kid who is different---whether simply shy, bad complexion, overweight, 'nerds', mentally or physically goes on and on.

And that is just the youth. These young people who begin with so much hatred only grow into the same as adults, only stronger.

Like you say...we have our voices. We have to use them.

((Hugs)) my friend.

B Snow said...

Nice post. (Well, not "nice", but you know what I mean....) I don't know why religious expression (which so many who ate at CFA claimed to have been supporting) is valued so much more highly than any other sort of expression in the US.

I think many of those people were being hypocritical, even if they didn't know it -- I doubt they would celebrate ALL religious expression: evangelical Christians tend to be the most vocal critics of Islam, for example. What they were supporting was not the character of the expression, but the content. They were happy someone finally publicly said that it's okay to keep LGBT people from having full equality.

And I would like to know why we're not allowed freedom FROM religion. Why should religion influence public policy at all? Dan Cathy said he believed in biblical marriage -- what does that even mean?? There are lots of rules about marriage in the bible, many of them contradictory. Basing public policy on the biblical definition of marriage caused England to split from the Vatican and created the C of E. It's such a bad idea to bring ANY religion into government, and vice versa.

Whew, thanks, I needed to get that off my chest.