The Evangelical Blow

Shortly following the 2004 National election, Ceil and I started becoming ostracized by the Senior Pastor of a mainstream Evangelical church we called home for over a year. To our dismay, we witnessed the rampant increase in godless, homophobic rhetoric in the months leading up to the election from Christian TV networks such as Paul and Jan Crouch's TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) and Pat Robertson's CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network). However, we never imagined that we'd feel the blow of the "morality" vote in such a personal manner as we did at our own home church.

We had regular, private meetings with the Pastor because he wanted to be educated about homosexuals, and to have open dialogue about our presence in his church. Though we made good progress in these private meetings with the Pastor, the leadership of that church was never given the queue to fully welcome us. Most kept their distance. In fact, the Pastor's wife never shook our hands the entire time we were there.

After the national empowerment of the Evangelicals in late 2004 / early 2005, the Pastor began to distance himself from us. His warm greetings grew colder with each encounter, and the eye contact soon faded completely. Sensing the change in his treatment of us, we called twice to try to schedule a meeting with him. Both attempts were ignored with no return call. In the last sermon we heard him preach, the Pastor spoke on morality, and said if those living in sin would come down to the altar and repent, God would change their DNA, and they can become part of the body of Christ. Giving him the full benefit of the doubt, we tried one more time after that sermon to set up a meeting with the Pastor. Again we were ignored. We concluded that our goal of reconciliation with this "spirit-filled" church had come to an abrupt end.

If this "man of God" no longer wanted open lesbians and gays as members of his congregation, why didn't he have the conviction or the sac to stand up and defend his beliefs? We have our ideas, but what do you think?

7 comments:

Elmo said...

If God can change my DNA, I'd like to be taller...

NG said...

Seems to me this "man of god" was trying to get a rise of you and exploit you politically.

BigAssBelle said...

i think he was afraid of the reaction of his congregation if he did not condemn gays. who is he to judge? wouldn't that be a basic tenet of christianity, that we not judge our fellows and leave that to God?

i am still waiting for someone to explain to me why it's okay to eat shrimp but not to be gay. i haven't noticed any churches here running on and on about shellfish, or polyester or any of the other "abominations."

Han said...

Belle, you're right in questioning the judging done by these "modern day high priests". I'm not sure that he was so much afraid of the reaction from his congregation; these pastors control every aspect of their empires. We found that the people in these congregations are mostly good people who misguidedly follow the wrong teachings and examples of their leaders. The bottom line is - you can't hate enough for these Evangelicals, but even more despicable is the fact that their hate rhetoric is used as a cover for the ugliest truth - their GREED.

Anonymous said...

Belle,

The thing about shrimp comes from the Mosaic Law - the ancient law of Judaism. It contains a lot of laws, some that seem to be common sense and some that seem exceedingly strange. The "man lying with another man" is in there, as well as the prohibition to eat shrimp (and lots of other food or food combinations).
In early Christianity the question of whether or not non-Jewish Christians have to obey the Mosaic Law is a big question and point of contention. Ultimately, it comes down to no. All food is considered clean (and acceptable to eat). Circumcision is no longer required. etc etc. In fact, Paul is one of the loudest voices for this.
Of course, there still appear to be "laws" in Christianity. Where did these come from? Well, for starters, in the early Christian communities, there were problems where people in the community were bringing bad attention to the group by having strange relationships (I think the one that gets attention is a man who is living with his father's wife). This kind of negative attention is no good for a marginalized community. So you start hearing Paul go on about what's appropriate and what's not. Among these there are one or two mentions of homosexual acts. And this is why christians rail against homosexuality and not shrimp, mixed fibers, and the like.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

There is very little said in the Bible about homosexuality (Leviticus and St. Paul to the Romans) and even less about abortion. Most evangelicals (Dr. Laurence White, a Houston crackpot I've been writing about) talk about the "inerrancy" of the Bible, but then they ignore most of the Bible (including what Christ says in Matthew about our obligations to the poor) -- especially the two "Great Commandments." Some evangelicals fall back on Leviticus and the "laws" because there's a human tendency to rely on specific rules. The "rules" about shrimp, pork, and mixed fabrics get ignored because of their inherent silliness. Passages about mass murder (the Amalekites) also get ignored because they raise questions the pastors aren't equipped to handle. God operates (then and now) within a historical context, but He's NOT a captive of history or any specific culture. In fact, he functions well in all of them.

Be aware that some preachers (again, I've been writing about one) absolutely despise the pluralism and diversity of American society. Pastor White, a relentless homophobe, compares modern America to Nazi Germany. He also compares himself, a nice lazy Houston preacher, with the German Christian heroes (Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, Schneider) who died in concentratin camps. Exactly what danger White faces -- aside perhaps from having to listen to his own sermons on tape -- is not immediately clear.

steve maloney

Han said...

Steve,

We've learned that many religious zealots, from any religion, pluck out "holy scripture" to rationalize their actions.

We just have to wisen up and not fall prey to or help enable corrupt religious leaders who will go to any length to build their own empires.