Let’s stop beating around the bush. This is not a time to play “nice”.
A national coalition of more than 150 U.S. Evangelical leaders released a statement Tuesday entitled the “Nashville Statement”. They claim the statement is a reflection of God’s will for humanity on the question of human sexuality.
It is not.
The Nashville Statement is a document full of fear and overly-simplistic biblical perspectives. It is an attempt to confine God’s Creation by defining sexuality to only be acceptable if it is a reflection of the tiny world view that they have.
It is a manifesto that takes fourteen articles to say little more than, “love the sinner, hate the sin”. In other words, it’s nothing new. It is the same old shell game that religious folks who want to normalize the whole world to look, think, and act like them have been playing for years. It claims to love people, all the while, it denies a central part of who they are and labels that as unacceptable and even evil.
Not that I believe in a Devil, but to put it in terms they may understand, it is of the Devil.
The folks who came together to create this disgusting diatribe of words frequently make calls demanding a forceful response in the face of hateful Muslim extremism. This may be the one thing we agree upon: hateful extremism must be named as such and be confronted for what it is. It needs to be wiped out like the dirty blot on humanity that it is.
The reality is that the Bible is largely uninterested in same-sex relationships and it is completely silent on the question of transgender folks. The fact is that the Nashville Statement puts more words to the issue than the Bible ever does. I’m not sure if that’s absurd or hysterical. It’s probably both.
If these folks are sincere in their desire to be Christians, to follow the teachings of Jesus (and frankly, things like the Nashville Statement can make that difficult to believe), I encourage them to think about some of the things Jesus most frequently talked about: loving your neighbor as yourself and standing with those who are marginalized (as opposed to taking part in marginalizing them).
As I say in one of my articles on the Bible and Homosexuality (Clobbering “Biblical” Gay Bashing), “Time and time again, Jesus made it clear that we should not put ourselves in the place of playing God and that, unlike far too many humans, God welcomes and loves us all equally. Period.”
Reading the Nashville Statement through the lens of Jesus’ teachings, it is very clear that it is not of God. If anything, it’s an attempt to pin hateful beliefs on God, to put words into God’s mouth that run counter to what Jesus taught us about God.
And, that? That’s using God’s name in vain. It’s blasphemy.
When religion isn’t practiced with intelligence and compassion, it can easily be used as an authoritative confirmation of biases. Without critical thinking and the innate valuing of individuals, perverting religious outlooks to suit personal prejudices is far too easy. Add to it the dogmatic environment of most churches and it can be the perfect petri dish for growing cultures of hate and homophobia.
Putting homophobia into the hands of God also makes life easier when you are confronted with social injustices. If you can place a group’s marginalization on God or some deficiency that runs counter to what you think God intended, then you not only get to dismiss your own role in causing it, but you get to do nothing positive about it – after all, who wants to go against God? Not only that, you don’t have to feel bad about the privileges that are given to you when you choose not to extend those same privileges to people who, in your mind, have already been judged by God.
The Nashville Statement is nothing more than hateful politics wrapped in the false facade of Christianity.
It falls on the shoulders of all other Christians who do not believe in such hateful and unloving theology to stand up and speak out against this kind of draconian evil every time it lifts its horrific head.
Because, in the end, love does win – but it does not do so unaided.