Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm for the Separation of Church and Hate

I'm excited to attend today's rally for LGBT Equality in Topeka. I'm riding with some members of the amazing church Katie and I have been attending since last November. If you're looking for a church community where you'll feel loved and accepted for who you are, come to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd say one day I'm going to an LGBT Equality rally with some church friends. In the late Eighties, when I was in high school, my LGBT friends and I frequented an all-ages club in Kansas City called the Monolith. One night there were three people outside the entrance handing out pamphlets informing us that we were all going to burn in hell if we didn't repent. My friends ignored them and went on inside to dance. I could hear New Order's song "Bizarre Love Triangle" playing inside, and I wanted desperately to go in and dance to it with my friends, many of whom I'd been entanged in some sort of bizarre love triangle of our own. But I resisted the urge and felt compelled to stay outside and chat with these people who wanted me to know I was going to hell.



"Bizarre Love Triangle"

Every time I think of you
I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue
It's no problem of mine
But it's a problem I find
Living a life that I can't leave behind
But there's no sense in telling me
The wisdom of the fool won't set you free
But that's the way that it goes
And it's what nobody knows
well every day my confusion grows

Every time I see you falling
I get down on my knees and pray
I'm waiting for that final moment
You say the words that I can't say

I feel fine and I feel good
I'm feeling like I never should
Whenever I get this way
I just don't know what to say
Why can't we be ourselves like we were yesterday
I'm not sure what this could mean
I don't think you're what you seem
I do admit to myself
That if I hurt someone else
Then I'll never see just what we're meant to be

Every time I see you falling
I get down on my knees and pray
I'm waiting for that final moment
You say the words that I can't say

written by New Order (Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Bernard Sumner)

"But Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves," I argued with the three pamphlet-weilding Christians standing outside the gay club.

Their response was this: "Repent now and you will live for eternity at the side of the Lord!"

We went back and forth like this for a few minutes, me asking how they could judge others so harshly when Jesus told us to love each other, them telling me to repent. Finally I said to them, "I'll take your pamphet, but I'm gonna go inside now. I love you all, even if you hate me."

My heart was beating fast as I turned away from them and walked through the door. It felt like Jesus was exploding inside my heart, whispering into my ear, Well done, my child! Spread the word of love!

The three Christians standing outside the gay club, trying to convince us we were going to burn in hell, most likely thought Jesus was talking directly to them, too. The problem with religious faith is who knows who's right and who's wrong. That's why I gave up church and quit calling myself a Christian.

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” --Gandhi

But now, twenty years have passed and I've taken back the word "Christian". Why should only bigots in our fucked up society get to use the term Christian? I love God. I love my neighbors as myself. I am a Christian. It's as simple as that.

Mark 12:28-31
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The First Commandment

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

As a bisexual woman, I never felt embraced by The Church until I started going to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church where people take Jesus' commandment for us to love our neighbors seriously.

That's why I'm so excited to join these church members to attend this rally today. At 1pm, please join us on the south steps of the Capitol. We will be speaking out against discriminatory bills such as HB2453 and others. If anyone asks why I'm there, I have two responses. One secular and one faith-based:

1. From the Kansas Bill of Rights: "Equal rights. All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

and

2. Jesus commands we love our neighbors as ourself.

In other words, I'm for the separation of church and hate.