With the coming out this week of the Nashville Statement, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hundreds-of-christian-leaders-release-lgbtq-affirming-response-to-nashville-statement_us_59a71bcee4b0a8d14572cf35) , my firm belief that we live in a polytheistic society was buttressed.
The God that I learned about in the Bible was a God who loved everyone. My mother and my Sunday School teachers drummed it into me that God is love, that God sent his son, Jesus the Christ, to spread that message and to exhibit the behavior that said “everybody counts, everybody matters.”
The stories of Jesus hanging out with the marginalized were riveting. There he was, talking, sharing and eating with those who society ignored. There he was, touching the “dirty” and the sick, embracing everyone who dared come near him, because it was the way to live life. It was what God wanted.
The God of the Hebrew scriptures deplored the Empire and its determination to turn people away from the One God to the gods they deemed fit and mandatory to honor. I learned, with fascination, that there is honor and power in worshipping the One God, even if it meant being thrown into a fiery furnace or a lion’s den. I learned that the One God would always “be there,” no matter how bad or prolonged our suffering because of life’s challenges or the evil intent of the government.
I learned in the Gospels that God the Father/Mother had a special place for “the least of these;” I resonated with the 25th chapter of Matthew where the stories appeared that said that inasmuch as any of us feed, clothe, give water to and visit those who have been cast away, we do it to God. Those who had ignored them had, in effect, ignored God, too.
God, it seemed, didn’t give a hoot about who was “different,” according to society. God loved all because God was the “father” (parent) of us all. God didn’t discriminate against women and poor people and people with leprosy or those who had developmental disabilities. God held all of us, just like a mother and father love a child of theirs who has been born with a cleft lip or palate or some other devastating condition.
That God didn’t care about any of that; all were important; all mattered, including same gender-loving people.
This obsession with sexuality on the part of people who say they love God, is troubling. It is an obsession which has led “God-loving people” to do heinously hateful things to and against people who love the God I just described. It has caused them to put same gender-loving people out of churches; has forced them to remain quiet about who they are as they have listened to sermons putting them down and convincing them they are going to hell. Religious people, many of whom are “evangelical” and “Conservative,” have been rather like an abusive spouse, beating and bullying people because they could, using God as their justification. “The least of these,” including same gender-loving people, yes, but also black and brown people, women, people with disabilities and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, have been beaten down, over and over, by these religious imposters who throw their weight around in a bag full of hurtful and sanctimonious theology which is counter to the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Bible.
These “evangelicals” who wrote, signed and distributed the Nashville Statement must be like an offering which is putrid to the very nostrils of God. More than once, an angry God in the Hebrew scriptures has denounced the “offerings” of the so-called “holy” and religious. He has said that their worship is an abomination to Him/Her. The spirit of evangelical self-righteousness has been around from the beginning of time. Their god and what their god leads them to do (little “g” intentional) has never been acceptable or pleasing to the One God. I am purposely not lifting any scriptures at this point, because the evangelicals of this ilk love to get into theological debate about them, to prove and bolster their position. Nobody has time for that kind of banter, not now.
In spite of our claiming to be monotheistic in our beliefs, we need to just “fess up” and say we worship two different gods, that Christianity is not characterized by a uniform belief system, but has splintered into a Christianity which believes in excluding people who do not “fit” human definitions of who is worthy to be loved by God and treated with dignity, and a Christianity which has remained stubbornly aligned with the principles taught by the God in the Hebrew Bible and his son, Jesus the Christ.
We have at least two gods in this country and in this world.
The evangelical god, he/she who allows and sanctions homophobia, racism, sexism and all forms of exclusion, is not my god. The evangelical god sees nothing wrong with denigrating the lives and spirits of people whom God created. My God finds that offensive. The evangelical god turns people away from the One God, and toward despair.
The God of Creation finds that despicable.
The Nashville Statement needs to be damned and rejected by all who believe in the One God. Silence is not an option because the God of Creation is a God of love and inclusion. To be silent is to reject the God who made us all.
That is not a good thing.
A candid observation …
Litany Against Racism
Leader: We, Your people, come to You because there is a storm raging in the land.
People: There is a hurricane attacking the land and a hurricane attacking decency and dignity for all people.
Leader: The land cannot absorb the immense amount of water that will fall from the heavens; it is too much. The land will be flooded and the people will hurt.
People: The souls of the people cannot absorb the hurricane of hatred, racism and lawlessness which is coming from government; it is too much. Our souls are being attacked, and we are hurting.
Leader: Racism is not of You or from You. You created us all. There is no master race, and You do not sanction any race to assault another.
People: The souls of the people cannot absorb the hurricane of hatred, racism and lawlessness.
Leader: The people who rule this land say this is a nation of laws, but they ignore and break those laws when they want and twist those laws to make it all right to assault people of color.
People: Lord, hear us!
Leader: Leaders before our current president allowed laws to be broken and looked the other way as “the law” was used as the cover for abject and obvious acts of racial hatred.
People: Lord, hear us!
Leader: As the deer pants for streams of water, so do our souls pant for You, O God. We pant for the strength to fight against racism until we stomp it out.
People: Lord, hear us!
Leader: God, we wonder if You hear us? The prophet Nahum says you are slow to show Your anger but that You are great in power; the prophet says that You will in no way clear the guilty. (Nahum 1:3)
People: Lord, show us the way to stand against racism and lawlessness!
Leader: The prophet says Your way is in the whirlwind and storm; the prophet says You will make full end to Your adversaries. (Nahum 1:3b; 8)
People: God, show us what to do to end Your adversary, racism.
Leader: We need to hear from You. As African Americans were assaulted by racist lawmakers in the 60s in Alabama and in cities all over this country, brown people are being assaulted now.
People: God, show us what to do to destroy Your adversary, racism.
Leader: Help us not to shake our heads but do nothing; help us to rise up as Your people of many faiths and challenge the hatred and bigotry.
People: In order to save Your children, help us to rise up!
Leader: We have been called for such a time as this. Help us to be steadfast and immovable and determined to eradicate racism and protect each other.
People: Help us to resist the hurricane of hatred coming from government and people in power. Our souls are flooded with pain. We say “enough!”
Leader: No matter the cost, help us to rise up against racism and racist leaders!
ALL: Lord, in Your mercy, hear us and give us the strength to love and to act!