Sunday, April 13, 2008

Christianity versus "Christians"

Lots has been said of late by people in Maine and around the nation about the recent announcement by Mike Heath that his group, the Christian Civic League of Maine (CCLM) would start anther petition drive to reverse any and all progress for queer folks in Maine in the past 25 years. It's a nasty petition. It calls for a ban on any kind of same-sex marriage, ever, it would remove protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation from the Maine Civil Rights Law, and a host of other nastiness.

I am getting tired of this fight. Heath and his minions should not take heart at this - they will not win. I will fight, no matter how tired I get, but it merits saying that this argument is really getting old.

I would like for the alleged "Christians" of the CCLM to start behaving like the Christ they claim as their Saviour.

I would like to see them volunteer at soup kitchens, feeding the hungry.
I would like to see them volunteer at hospitals, bringing comfort to the afflicted.
I would like to see them volunteer at battered women's shelters, and at homeless shelters, bringing comfort to those who are less fortunate.
I would like to see them adopting the babies they insist must carry to term, despite being crack-addicted, despite being horribly disfigured and painfully ill, despite being the products of violent rape, or incest, or poor choices by 15-year-old girls.
I would like to see them caring for their neighbors.
I would like to see them stepping in to stop one person from judging another.

I don't consider myself a Christian. I was raised in the Catholic Church. In fact, back then I thought the Irish Catholic Church was different than the Roman Catholic Church. How the pope worked in, I was not sure, in my childhood understanding of things, but I somehow got the message that the Irish branch of things was somehow more rigid than the Italian brand. Go figure.

In any case, I am not a Christian. I do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. I do not believe in the death and resurrection, and I don't hold a lot of faith in the concepts of heaven, hell, or the fundraising construct that is purgatory.

That said, I feed the hungry. I donate what I can to help the poor. I offer my energies and my skills where I am able and where they might help. I invite people into my home to share special times when they might otherwise be lonely.

That's the kind of stuff that I understand Christianity to be about. Be kind to others. Even if you don't agree with them. Even if you don't like them. They still deserve to be treated like human beings. They still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

That's what Jesus taught: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me."

What do you suppose Jesus would say about the actions and efforts of the CCLM? Are not the glbt community within "the least of my brothers" that Jesus spoke of? Did not Jesus befriend the downtrodden, the outcasts, the prostitutes and lepers? He did not judge them, instead he treated them with kindness and compassion. Trying to institutionalize second (or third) class status for glbt people is not treating us with kindness - it is judging and cruel. It is decidedly not Christ-like.

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