Do you know the one about the conservative Christian who forgave his enemies? Or anyone, for that matter? No, I don’t either, for the simple reason that to the best of my knowledge, no such event has ever taken place. Perhaps in all of recorded history.
Case in point:
Christian Minard, 22, a lesbian student at Southwestern Christian University, a school, we are informed by Christian News, “affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Bethany, Okla[homa]” was expelled one semester short of graduation, for marrying her partner, Kadyn Parks in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 17 of this year.
There is freedom of religion in Albuquerque, if not at Southwestern Christian University, where Minard had to sign a “lifestyle covenant” prohibiting “homosexual behavior.”
According to the report,
On Wednesday (July 9), a letter addressed to Minard from Brad Davis, the school’s vice president of student life, arrived at her parents’ home, telling her she was being expelled.
“Why” this happened is probably not a question we really have to wonder at, but for the record, Brad Davis explained to the young woman,
I was informed that you recently married someone of the same sex and saw a few pictures from Facebook. Of course, this is opposing to our view as an International Pentecostal Holiness denominational university as well as the Lifestyle Covenant that all students must agree and sign.
Yes, churches and religious organizations really do expect to have the right to tell you how to live your life, to control and mandate what activities you engage in outside the classroom, or the workplace, on the street, or in a store, or anywhere else, for that matter.
These are all symptoms of a disease called “theocracy.” This is something the Taliban does, something for which they are excoriated by the Religious Right’s Talibangelicals while busily doing the same thing at every opportunity. Because theocracy is theocracy, whatever its religion. There is no essential difference in worldview between an Islamist and a Christianist.
One could reasonably expect a self-identified Christian to identify with the words of Jesus of Nazareth, since, after all, their religion is based on Jesus’ life and teachings. This is the same Jesus, by the way, who was quite big on the whole forgiveness thing.
It was Jesus who said that if somebody took your coat from you, to give them also your cloak (Matthew 5:40; Luke 6:29), a sort of ancient BOGO. Theft is a violation of the Ten Commandments. You know, “Thou shall not steal.”
Marrying your same-sex partner is not.
Remember too, that Jesus hung out with all the low-lifes of his time, prostitutes, tax collectors and the like. The people respectable Jews kept at arm’s length. Jesus, unlike Southwestern Christian University, didn’t expel them. He welcomed them. He showed them love. And forgiveness.
But then these conservative so-called Christians really don’t care what Jesus said or did, and so such expectations would be misguided, as the following tweet makes clear:
Really…Christians do not have to be tolerable of sin?
This is possibly another case of fake Christians having a special Bible they’re not sharing with the rest of us. There seems to be a lot of that going around.
Then again, it could be they just don’t open their Bibles.
So let me try:
Do you remember the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4)? The versions differ by denomination but in general, they all come down to the same thing: forgiveness.
Forgive us our trespasses/sins,” Jesus said, “as we forgive those who trespass/sin against us.
Pretty neat concept. It sounds like a very tolerant attitude.
Not one orthodox Christianity has ever taken seriously, mind you. No more than it has some of Jesus’ other inconvenient injunctions, such as “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7).
People like the authorities at the school (and the tweeter above) seem always willing to cast the first stone. What is interesting is that in its Articles of Faith, the school claims that it believes “In the verbal inspiration of the Bible.”
Which parts, if not these?
These words of Jesus are all part of what Thomas Jefferson thought of as the sublime moral teachings of the man from Nazareth. All ignored by the Religious Right in favor of Old Testament fire and brimstone (selectively misquoted), and all the New Testament’s mystical stuff (including the virgin birth, Jesus’ miracles and resurrection) that Jefferson disdained as a “dunghill.”
We have anti-Jewish pogroms, the forced conversion of polytheists the world over, the Crusades both in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, and of course, the Inquisition, and religious wars galore, as stark reminders of just how seriously organized Christianity has taken Jesus’ instructions.
For her part, Minard doesn’t feel severed from Jesus. She says a strong faith in God. And believes “you can still have faith in God and live a gay lifestyle.” Since Jesus did not say he was dying for some and not for others, this is a perfectly reasonable assumption. One of the tenets of Christianity is, after all, that Jesus died for our sins, and the university claims it agrees.
Ironically, one of the university’s three core values is “building a Christ-centered community.” Keep in mind Jesus lived 2000 years ago and the concept of “homosexuality” has been with us for only a little over a century and that Jesus himself said nothing at all about homosexuality or lesbianism.
Given how little in evidence are Jesus and his values, we would be within our rights to ask if Jesus is just a name fake Christians use to feel more Christian.
Thomas Jefferson himself said that, “He [Jesus] has been enveloped by jugglers to make money of Him” (which certainly seems to be the case here) and that “they have dressed [Him] up in the rags of an imposter.”
To anyone who has read the gospels, as did Thomas Jefferson, Southwestern Christian University would seem to fall into this category, because stoning people, literally or figuratively, just doesn’t seem to be Jesus’ style. Forgiving them does.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.