I had an interesting conversation with a self-described "conservative Christian" last weekend and she lamented the popular view of "the church" as cruel and oppressive. The more I talked to her about her values, the more I was convinced that she is not conservative in the least, and that "Christian" and "compassionate" do not have to be mutually exclusive, and rather by definition and theology absolutely should not.
The real conservative Christians are contradictions in terms. It should not surprise my friend that mainstream Americans and liberals in general see organized Christianity in America as evil oppressors. There are many, many efforts aimed at stopping bullying, particularly anti-gay bullying in schools, and they are almost always thwarted by highly-organized and well-funded "Conservative Christian" organizations who devote ridiculous money and resources to keep bullying and abuse as a Christian right in schools. How could any one defend bullying and call themselves a Christian?
I don't know, but they do so with fists of cash in one hand, and a spiked cross in the other.
Christ is love and forgiveness, not judgment. It's pretty obvious that He would be against bullying, not hate any kid or man for being gay (as that is how His Father made them), and he certainly would not suggest spending millions on keeping gay kids beaten or gay adults from getting married. Hey, look over here: the poor, the suffering, the sick and the oppressed are everywhere. Lil' help? No? Tied up in political campaigns and demonization of love? Uh, not in MY name if you don't mind...
Here's the newsletter:
We all know how much has changed for LGBTQ people in this country. And yet, just this month, we've had this tragic news about LGBTQ youth:
Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers freshman, jumped off a NYC bridge to his death this week after his roommate filmed him in a sexual encounter with a man and posted the clip:
Asher Brown, a 13-year-old in Houston, shot himself after years of anti-gay bullying:
Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, also 13, hung himself after years of anti-gay bullying, and just died after nine days on life support: link
Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, died at 15 after hanging himself in response to years of anti-gay bullying: link
Against this backdrop, we learned this week that the Assistant Attorney General of Wisconsin is making vicious personal attacks on the University of Michigan's openly gay student assembly president: link
News items like these remind me how much has changed in some ways, how little in other ways, and how much remains to be done. I never hear stories like these without thinking of the classmate who, along with me, was the identified "homo" in our high school: after weeks of walking past students praying for us at the entrance to school, she shot herself in the head with a shotgun, suffering permanent damage. My memories of her, and of so many others, have helped fuel my years of work as an LGBT center director.