Monday, June 14, 2010

Hypocrits Who Contradict...

I enjoyed this story for many reasons.  It speaks directly to hypocrisy & the contradictions of man's ideas about sin.  Some point fingers and judge others for sins they don't commit, but are guilty of other sins i.e. "born again Christians" who commit adultery; pass judgment, but send all gay people to hell (in their minds).  However, when it's a sin they have indulged the rules or standard conveniently changes in an attempt to create a hierarchy in sin.  Being gay isn't the sin.  The act of sex is the sin (gay or straight).  Who isn't guilty of fornicating?  I took the liberty of "bolding" & italicizing my favorite line.  It was profound.  Here's the story...

My grandmother, Mama Irene, possessed that South Carolina wisdom we called Mother Wit, and she loved to share her rich wisdom with her grandchildren.  I remember the time when she let me know in no uncertain terms that a man and woman living together without benefit of marriage were "living in sin." But then she said, "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it doesn't behoove any of us to talk about the rest of us."

Mama Irene was our family's Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who resisted the Nazis during WWII. In his book, Life Together, he was clear that "we are, in fact, sinners." However, the reason Bonhoeffer and Mama Irene knew that everyone was a sinner was because they had witnessed the horrible discrimination and violence human beings are capable of--and none are innocent.

But that is different from the "wink, wink" of those who say that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) is simply another sin. I remember, as I grew up in North Carolina and Texas, that some people looked down on those of us who were black and said, "We are all children of God"--"wink, wink." When I hear Christians talk about LGBT people and say they "love the sinner, but hate the sin," I know I am face-to-face with a same old judgmental attitude that harms everyone in its path, and has a kind of spiritual arrogance about it.

Sadly, this bad judgment is often bolstered by references to the Bible: "Look, it says right here..." Many of us in the church are deeply concerned when the Bible is used to declare that some persons are to be treated differently or called "sinner" because of who they are. We remember that the so-called "Noah's curse" or "curse of Ham" was used to demean and dehumanize persons of African descent. The enslavement of Africans and the segregation of African Americans were justified by persons who claimed that they were Bible-believing as they said, "The Bible says black people sinned and are now cursed to be servants and slaves."


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