Faith Column: Debunking bigoted views on ‘gays’
Tea Party politician Perry puts erroneous spin on evangelical Christianity
It shouldn’t have been surprising.
Rick Perry, a Republican nominee and governor of Texas, has a dramatically long legacy of exemplifying everything wrong with evangelical Christianity. He’s a staunch pro-lifer, but also a firm supporter of capital punishment. He advocates for prayer in schools, and that creation myths should be taught alongside evolution.
But, for some reason — perhaps to rattle our eggnog-induced faith in the goodness of man — he’s now set his scopes on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community of the United States of America.
Perry’s recent campaign commercial is still shocking. His exact words slapped me across the face: “…there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.’’
It reminded me that homophobia is still alive and kicking in the pews.
I’m sure that most adhering to Christ’s message of love are probably more moderate about the issue than Perry. But he’s the one holding the megaphone, not us.
There are two ways of viewing this issue through a Judeo-Christian lens. The first is that homosexuality is a “sin,” and that the “sinner” should abstain or be healed from the desire to indulge in any of that nastiness. The spiritual justification for that position is found in Romans 1, where Paul wrote that God “gave them over the shameful lusts” and men started sleeping with each other.
Well, that’s just not good enough for me.
If one’s biological urgings are sinful, then I should probably stop eating, drinking or sleeping. But more importantly, the labelling of homosexuality as a sin suggests that the God of the universe screwed up at some point, which I’m not ready to acknowledge. The Christian, such as Perry, who uses such a text fails to critically examine the Bible.
Paul lived in a strange time, where women were considered second-class citizens and human rights that are now considered basic didn’t exist. It’s probably best if we didn’t return to that.
Explaining the other way of understanding the issue is a little more complex.
It’s my understanding that we fully experience life when we live up to God’s moral standards. I don’t feel fulfilled when I drink too much, or over-step physical boundaries with a girl, or spend too much on old-school hip-hop albums. The pleasure is fleeting and I know it.
Although God never instructs anyone not to buy four Run-DMC albums from Amazon at once, I know that I deviate from living a complete life when I do it. Money should be used in a way that builds the community around us. I know it in my spirit. Flaky, sure, but it works for me.
But, I have yet to meet a LGBTQ couple who have told me they don’t feel fulfilled in their relationship because they’re homosexual. There may be other issues, but the problem isn’t their sexual orientation.
They feel alive around each other. They love one another. There’s something there that’s pure, honest and I would venture to say, holy.
For Rick Perry, who represents Christ because of his voiced belief, to storm onto the set and accuse the LGBTQ community of “sinning,” and not finding fulfillment in their relationships is not only offensive and bigoted, but suggests he’s never actually talked to someone who isn’t “straight.”
The Bible says Christ surrounded himself with those marginalized by society and loved them for who they were. Maybe that’s a good start for us.