When Did The Gospel Become Anti-Gay?

Jesus_facepalmJim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, California, noted homophobe, bigot, and a supporter of Proposition 8, appeared on American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” to say that the push for gay rights will end in the persecution of Christians, telling host Tim Wildmon, who also happens to be president of the AFA,

The short answer is persecution of Christians. It is staggering across America the depths of persecution believers are already beginning to experience. This is not about homosexual marriage; this is about crushing expression of the Gospel.

Crushing expression of the Gospel…Really?

The Religious Right is so opposed to equal rights that they have invested everything in the idea that LGBT equal rights = persecution of Christians.

Yet one has nothing to do with the other, obviously, and worse, their scheme misrepresents their own gospels as being predicated on the idea that the “Good News” Jesus went on about as he preached through Galilee, was itself anti-gay.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus did not talk about sex, let alone gay sex. He never mentioned men loving men or women loving women. Of all the historical Jesuses that have been suggested since it became possible to suggest historical Jesuses without being burned at the stake, none of them is Jesus the anti-gay prophet.

Yet to listen to the religious right, their entire religion revolves around just two issues: gay people and abortion. Guess what? Jesus didn’t talk about abortion either.

Part of the problem is that the term “homosexual” (like the oft-used term “Caucasian”) dates only from the 19th century. There was no idea of “homosexuality” in the ancient world for Jesus to address. Ironically, Garlow has admitted this (sort of) by saying that while the Bible does not address the issue of “orientation” it does address the issue of “practice.”

But of course, Garlow draws the wrong conclusions from this by claiming that because “orientation” is “a modern phenomenon” that nobody is born gay. So because nobody used a certain term to describe something in nature, it was not happening. For examples of more specious logic, you’d have to look long and hard.

The thing is, we have all sorts of modern terms – in modern languages, surprise, surprise! – that we use to describe and explain the world around us, including human behavior. That we describe this behavior in light of modern science does not mean that this behavior did not exist in the days before science.

Nobody described the germ theory of disease in Jesus’ day either (another idea that gained currency only in the 19th century). In the days of Caesar Augustus, the miasma theory was prevalent, that idea that disease was transmitted by miasma, or “bad air.” This should not be taken to mean that people did not get diseases from germs in the ancient world. But that is the conclusion Garlow’s egregious logic demands.

And then there is the not-so-small matter of the gospel itself. Jesus talked about rich people, and how difficult it was going to be for them to get into the Kingdom of God, you know, because to be rich meant that they had sold their souls to the dark powers that ruled this age. But you won’t hear the Religious Right talk about how evil rich people are. They would rather talk about things they care about than the things Jesus cared about. As I’ve said before, this weaponizes Jesus; it does not make them Christians.

Jesus preached about the coming Kingdom of God. His message was to prepare for that upheaval. It was a very different message from what we are hearing today. Jesus not only condemned the rich, but he extolled the virtues of the poor. The First shall be last, he said, and the last shall be first. Today, that Religious Right would have you believe that Jesus’ message was “The first shall remain first and the devil take the hindmost.”

Christians ought to be outraged at this perversion of Jesus’ message. They ought to bridle at letting a bigot like Jim Garlow misrepresent the gospel. Sadly, it is the bigoted atrocity peddled by people like Jim Garlow that gets heard, and that drives the Republican Party of 2014. We hear about the persecution of Christians but what they are really talking about is the persecution of bigots, because Jesus’ message has nothing to do with bigotry, but rather with meekness, love, and turning the other cheek.

It is past time Christians rise up and denounce the false gospel of conservative thuggery, and reclaim their religion. Only when this false gospel is purged from the Republican Party will true Republicans be able to reclaim their party and return to America a functioning government. In the end, this will be a task that requires a Hercules, or, dare I say it, a Jesus. A Jesus, necessarily, who has been de-weaponized.

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19 Replies to “When Did The Gospel Become Anti-Gay?”

  1. The oddity is that in India, actual Christians –as well as Muslims and Parsis- are actually being persecuted by fanatical Hindutva demagogues and the mobs being stirred up by them. This faction could take power and control India’s nukes. But these crotch- Chrischuns can’t be bothered talking about that, except to cite it as a reason for ril uhMericuhns to persecute Muslims. Their sole concern is that men might be having sex with other men, and that women might not be sufficiently punished for having vulvas.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/04/narendra-modi-and-the-rise-of-indias-neo-fascist-far-right-the-facts/

  2. As a practicing Christian, I”m so tired of these extremists in the faith that use the Bible–what is and what is NOT in it–to advance their hatred and bigotry. If homosexuality was so bad–why didn’t Jesus talk about it the way he talks about the worship of money and treating the poor badly? That is never mentioned by these so-called Christians. The poor are demonized and the rich are heralded as saviors. Perhaps these people need to read their Bible a bit better and see that what they think is good policy politically is NOT what Jesus was talking about. These are just smoke screens designed to keep people from truly talking/doing something about the inequalities in this world. Homosexuality is NOT what is troubles this world. It is fear, judgment and a superiority complex that does. Jesus had a LOT to say about those things.

  3. I have tried to figure out why these bullies always want to play the victim. It says in the Bible to love you enemy and turn the other cheek. It says to expect persecution and you will be rewarded in the end.

    I believe that these hard core church going types are suffering form a Schizo/Paranoid Personality disorder. The reason I say this is because no one in this world is without sin, big or small. Personally I accept my faults and try to work on them without religion. My biggest fault is that I drink to much but I stay home and mind my own business.

    It must be difficult to sit in a church every Sunday and smile and say Amen when you’re hiding the real you. Whether it’s cheating on your taxes, or hiding that prescription drug habit, having that affair on your spouse, or secretly watching porn when you’re home alone. Maybe that bisexual tryst now and then, or the child you molested yesterday.

    It would only make sense to strike out at others to absolve yourself of YOUR sins.

  4. these people drive me nuts with their persecution complex…no one is persecuting them but to them anyone not agreeing with their beliefs means they are being persecuted. They are religious fanatics and to call themselves “christian” is a stretch.

  5. I do not expect truly religious people to accept gay marriage or even homosexuality. They don’t have to and it’s their right not to. However the same right that they declare they have to try and stop homosexuality is transferred by constitutional right to the opposing side. A good thought for these fake Christians might be persecute not lest ye be persecuted. just like the Republicans and their lies, the fundamentalists and their lies are not being bought by true Christians or Americans.

    Christians do not have to accept homosexuality, but they have to accept the fact that those who are homosexual have every right to be so, just like they have the right to be Christians.

    I think if we look over the history of Christianity it has been persecuted at various times in history. But by the same token they have done their own amount of persecuting and that is exactly what they are doing right now against those who are homosexual

  6. Yes, the delusions of persecution are particularly amusing. Most Americans are Christian, virtually all religious programming on TV and radio is Christian-oriented, and the ONLY religious holiday that causes the private AND public sectors to grind to a halt is a CHRISTIAN holiday. And yet, somehow, these evangelicals think they’re being persecuted.

    I think the World’s Smallest Violin is BEGGING to be played.

  7. As you would expect I am totally in favor of all of the major Hindu holidays being observed in America.

  8. Shiva, I consider myself to be a Christian and a truly religious person, and I absolutely accept gay people and gay marriage without any qualms about either. God made all of us, and we are to love our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves. A truly religious person should have no problem with accepting LGBT people as their brothers and sisters. It is the abberochristians who have a problem with sexual orientations that are different than their own. These Talibangelicals use the Bible as a weapon against anyone they don’t like. It’s both sad and reprehensible the way these so-called religious people distort the true message of the Gospel.

  9. This alleged war and persecution of Christians is only 1 word and that word is NO. They do not want to hear that word from any one they are trying to persecute and rule over.

  10. He also said heaven and earth would pass away before the single least detail of the Law of God passed away. Guess what that includes?

    He also said he didn’t come to do away with the law but to uphold it.

    It’s a sin Hrafnkell. There’s no pretending otherwise.

  11. There is no disparity between God and science – the disparity is between religion and science. God and religion are not mutually synonymous, one need not ascribe to a religion to hold a belief in a Creator. Religion is the longest running scam that has ever been perpetrated on the human race, and in modern times is nothing more than a business, and should be taxed accordingly. And BTW, the period during the Roman Empire when xtians were persecuted was not as long a time as they would have you believe, but let’s put that up against, say, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Salem Witch Trials, Westboro Baptist Church, ad infinitum…..

  12. Free your mind, pal – this is 21st century United States, not 1st century Jerusalem, and we live by The Constitution, not your Abrahamic playbook, like it or not. There is no mention of God or sin in the Constitution. Sorry about your bad luck. No wonder you people don’t believe in evolution, you’re incapable of evolving.

  13. If it’s a sin, so its declining to stone disobedient children. If not an iota of the law shall pass away, are you eating things you should not eat? Or are you picking and choosing which parts of the law should not pass away?

  14. I saw the dinner photos on line, from Saudi Arabia. I hope that the photographer, still has his hands.
    I would have said ‘her hands’ also, but, the kingdom that honors him, has rules.

  15. I think the important question is, “Is any human really capable and justified in judging another?” My Bible says NO. If God is all powerful and will judge us all, why does he need those whom he considers “filthy rags” to do his job for him?

    In the New Testament in my Bible it is written that man is incapable of knowing the heart of another man, and that only God can do this. This makes it very clear that man’s judgment isn’t God’s judgment. Nothing pisses me off more than having a Christian abuse Christianity by trying to usurp God’s power and by distorting Jesus’ teachings because it is NOT their job to do so.

  16. Right you are. The reason there is no disparity between God (or religion) and science is that science merely seeks to observe and explain nature and does not attempt to find a “Creator.” Although science will steadily progress to seek more information as the observations unfold new hypotheses, there is no drive to “prove” the existence of any specific creator of origin. It’s open exploration, and takes into account the fact that the universe exists regardless of our spiritual beliefs.

  17. Sidnee, a few years back I did some volunteer work at a homeless shelter run by a Catholic priest in a large city. His work-ethic alone impressed me, as he was tireless in helping the people who came to his door. I never heard any judgement from him regarding the character of any one he helped, although he would occasionally cuss out any volunteer who thought they were above cleaning a toilet or helping out in the kitchen (usually as he was busy cleaning out a toilet of cooking himself). He frequently joked that he was an anarchist who believed in the teachings of Jesus. One of the rules to volunteers was that we were to leave sexual orientation alone. It wasn’t our business,as he stated, and had nothing to do with our volunteer work. This man proved to me that REAL Christianity can embrace the whole human race.

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