Happy Monday, my friends! As we near the end of Pride month a curious and entirely predictable phenomenon will occur: all the organizations, corporations, and other entities that created rainbow-themed logos for Pride Month will go back to their normal logos throughout the day on July 1. Even though LGBTQIA+ people will continue to exist on July 1 and our rights to exist, access affirming care, have our histories taught in schools, numerous other hard-won victories will continue to be challenged in legislatures and courts across the United States. Many of the companies which supposedly supported us during the month of June will continue to donate to politicians and causes which support these absurd and disgusting laws. Some of these same companies will attempt to hide behind regional differences as if the conduct of store number 665 in Tallahassee or store number 667 in Dallas which give money to anti-LGBTQIA+ candidates does not mean that the entire organization is homophobic.
This phenomenon is hardly limited to the corporate world. The church finds itself enmeshed in a reality where far too many Christians espouse a belief system that evokes white supremacist nationalism mixed with American exceptionalism which ignores the realities of how the United States developed on the backs of and through the suffering of BIPOC people. Here’s the rub: the Jesus who came to earth, who lived as a human, who preached and performed miracles, who died on a cross, and who rose from the dead was a dark-skin, Palestinian Jew who was born into poverty and experienced life as a refugee and political prisoner before succumbing to state-sponsored violence. The Jesus of “Christianity” and the Jesus of the Gospels and of history are two separate people.
Every month I attend a meeting of LGBTQIA+ leaders in Central Ohio who convene to discuss issues and opportunities for the queer community around Ohio. Normally, I provide a few announcements and chime in only as needed (I’m still one of the new folks in this group). This month, as one of the few faith leaders on the call, I was asked directly about my thoughts on actions by several “Christian” organizations including the Center for Christian Virtue—which is hardly Christian and definitely not virtuous. It felt like a setup, as if I was being baited to defend “Christianity.” I responded that I was disgusted by what they were doing and found their message to be both ridiculous and far from the teachings of Jesus. The response I got from leaders who never seem to know what to do with LOVEboldly was surprising. Here’s why it was surprising: people aren’t used to hearing Christian leaders speak up and call other Christians on the anti-Jesus hate they spew. More Christians need to speak up and tell the truth. It is no longer enough to distance ourselves from the rhetoric or claim that those aren’t our beliefs. We need to call hate out where we see it, even if it is in the church’s own eye.
Where do you see hate in the church? Where can you speak up more?
Let us pray: Jesus, teach us to speak up and speak out like you did. You brought a message of not just hope, but also action to liberate the marginalized. Give us the confidence to boldly proclaim and work for liberation in our own day. Amen.