October 15, 2005

Another "Christian" Reveals His Ignorance

In a recent Sentinel letter to the editor, Paul Garrett wrote in a semi-sarcastic way of his being perplexed that anyone who is a Christian could even possibly be thinking of voting YES to the veto of the Governor’s Homosexual rights bill. This is what he wrote.
“I can't believe it is a group calling itself the Christian Coalition. Surely it cannot be. Christ Jesus, the founder, was not one to discriminate on the basis of anything. Accounts of his life tell stories of him talking to everyone, even tax collectors, prostitutes, Pharisees, Romans and women. All of those groups were disliked, avoided or looked down upon by some in his society in his day. But not by him. He was open and loving and accepting of every person, no matter what.”
Ya know it is this kind of Biblical ignorance that drives me up a wall.
Mr. Garret is right that Jesus was willing to sit down with anyone and chat just as Mike Heath and Paul Volle and so many other Christian leaders have done. But Mr. Garrett’s Jesus is a creation of his own imagination for the same “accounts” of Jesus’ life to which Mr. Garrett appeals for formulating his LTTE tell us other things about Jesus.
When he met with tax collectors, He assured them they were not beyond the reach of a forgiving God but then told them to stop ripping people off!
When he met with the woman caught in adultery, He assured her she was forgiven but condemned her behavior ordering her to sin no more!
Jesus never had anything good to say to the Pharisees, as a group calling them hypocrites, children of the Devil.
When he met with the Gentiles –whether Roman, Greek or Samaritan didn’t matter--Jesus criticized their prayers, their religion, their worship, their behaviors, their beliefs and their values.
And even when Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well much to the dismay of His chauvinist pig disciples, Jesus exhorts her for having repeated illicit relationships and for shacking up.
To top matters off Jesus tells her, her faith is in some imaginary deity, and is worthless and that salvation is coming only from the God of the Hebrews—like it or not.
To Mr. Garrett, and so many other so-called Christians, try actually reading your Bible for once.


Anonymous Mariah said...

I too am driven up the wall by Bibilical ignorance! Amen to that! Aside from your personally-presumptious paraphrasing of the the biblical stories, Pastor, you do have a generally correct recall of some of Jesus' conversations within the New Testament. However, I find your theologies to be quite in line with the Pharisees - admonishing and condemning all those they did not deem "perfect, in their opinion, in the eyes of God", who is Father to ALL. Furthermore, your comparison of Michael Heath to Christ himself is extremely disturbing to me. It is my belief that the leadership within the Christian Coalition who is leading the Yes-on-one campaign not only has an extreme messiah-complex for/of themselves, but it also seems to forget Christ's message and mission of LOVE and COMPASSION and ACCEPTANCE - not to mention the whole part of the text where he says "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
p.s. I am a Christian, and I have read my Bible...more than once.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Pastor Bill said...

May I suggest you read your Bible a few more times then and try not to read it through a 21st century cultural grid.

You'll have to explain to me your notion of "acceptance." Jesus was never accepting of sin. Passing laws to mandate such acceptance is abhorent.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Pastor Bill:

Thank you for sharing your perspective. I appreciate that you attempt to follow Jesus' example in crafting your approach to homosexuals.

In that regard, you would do well to remember that, while Jesus did admonish Mary Magdelene to go and sin no more, he did so *only after* he protected her from a hostile crowd. He, alone, stood up for her and turned away those who would harm her. Only then, when she was safe, did he turn his attention to preaching to her.
Thus, Christ, through his example, has shown you what your priorities should be: Protect first, sermonize later.

Unfortunately, you and the League have chosen to deviate from Jesus' example. Instead of *first* protecting gay people and speaking out against unfairness that they face (to whatever degree), you have made it your priority to see that they have no such protection. And then you wonder why gays are hostile to you and why your moral lectures fall on deaf ears.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Scott, I think that's why those who are against the bill (voting Yes) need to believe that discrimination doesn't really happen. As if my co-worker, who just told me that it happened to him in a former job, is making it up.

You make a great point, thank you!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Pastor Bill said...

Scott--First of all I don't wonder gays are hostile toward me. If they are hostile--and I would contend it is only those gays who do not know me who might be hostile--it is because the darkness cannot stand the light--as Jesus said. Your rebuttal is full of asserted assumptions not factually correct realities. Hear this if you hear nothing else--I would be the FIRST to endorse the prosecution of anyone who would perpetrate any kind of harm against someone because of they are homosexual. Your implication is offensive and WRONG. Nice try!

The fact is "my" moral lectures are not "MY" moral lectures but those of God Himself. And they fall on deaf ears because "having ears they do not hear and having eyes they do not see" as the prophet Isaiah prophecied.

Scott, you are either duped or deliberatley disingenuous when you excalim that "we" have to believe that discrimination does not really happen. You better research your facts as I have from your own sources and a sane person would admit that discrimination against homosexuals, because they are homosexual is so rare that it is essentially non-existant. So please Scott, put up or shut up; I am not interested in your "feelings" or opinions anymore than you should give a rip about my fellings or opinions. The fact is, homosexuals are NOT discriminated against any more than anyone else so a special law crafted specially for them is unwarranted!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Mr. Garret. It's about time people realize that Jesus loved everyone. God made all, and everyone has a purpose, no matter what that purpose may be. Maybe you're straight; maybe you're gay. Maybe you're black; maybe you're white. This seems to be just like in the 1950s where people wouldn't allow blacks the use of public facilities because of their skin color. Back then, we were saying that Jesus hated blacks, weren't we? Well, now we're not allowing homosexuals access to housing or whatnot because of their sexual orientation, mostly because people say that Jesus hates gays and therefore it's a bad thing.

Get over it! PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE! Let them live in peace, don't say they're mentally sick just because they're different!

P.S. I am a Unitarian Universalist and have read the Good Book a few times myself. I'm also quite liberal but extremely open-minded to all.

~A Student, Portland, Maine

9:04 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What I want to know, and what neither side of the campain has been putting in front of me, is (a) what the specifics of this law are and (b)whether or not there are actual, proven cases of such discrimination going on that this law is the only legal means of protection against.

As a Christian, I may see homosexuality as a sin, but it is not place to make life on Earth miserable for others because their behavior is sinful. Sin is sin, and we all sin, all sin is hateful to God. That's why Christ died. It is my responsibility to act as a witness for the salvation of Christ, and I haven't found moralizing at non-believers to be a particularly effective method of evangelism. My responsibility is to love them, to live my life as much like Christ as I can, and to show them God through that life. Conviction is the particular job of the Holy Spirit: only God can open a heart to himself, and once He has brought someone to Himself, then He will begin work in them to convict them of their behavior. At that point, as a sister in Christ, I should take responsibility to teach them the Bible, to help them see what is pleasing to God. That, however, is a very different relationship than simply condemning the behavior of non-believers.

As a Christian, I'm not going to make my moral beliefs the first priority in my vote, because it's not the issue. If I can prove a better witness for Christ by protecting a gay or lesbian from practical discrimination, then I will.

That said, as a citizen, I'm worried about this law, because I'm not convinced that it's simply protecting gays and lesbians from being fired, etc. based on their sexuality. My dad owns a business, and let's just say that he hires a lesbian. Ideally, she gets the job because she has the skills and the references and my dad thinks she'll be a dependable employee. Now let's say that a few months have gone by and she has consistently shown up late for work. She does her work sloppily if at all, badmouths her co-workers, is rude to customers, and generally does not meet the bare minimum of her job requirements. After issuing her several warnings and seeing no change at all in her behavior, my dad fires her. She turns around and sues him for discrimination, saying that she was fired because she's a lesbian.

What my concern in this question is that my dad shouldn't be afraid to hire and fire people based on their job competence, rather than their sexuality. Does this law create a situation where she could sue my dad and win in that situation? Does this law create nightmare situations like that, or does it simply protect from real discrimination? That's what I care about. Neither side of the campaign has offered an answer to my concern, which should be the type of concern we're engaging with civic law.

Whether or not we agree with it, America's legal system is founded on a separation of Church and State. This was done, initially, in an attempt to avoid the persecution the Protestants were fleeing from in coming to America. Because the separation of Church and State protects my right to worship Christ and believe that homosexuality is sinful, I don't want to see laws being passed on a moral premesis. I want to see them being passed to govern the interactions between citizens as citizens, for the purpose of creating a safe and free public space, for everyone, businessmen like my dad and homosexuals alike. That is the purpose of our government, and I intend to vote based on the law's answer to that question, not the moral issues, and not the blind support of "tolerance."

Before you react to what I'm saying, please consider what I've said. Both "Yes" and "No" have legitimate points behind them, but the practical, civic debate is being neglected and muddied in this hateful sludge campaign.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Pastor Bill said...

The "Vote No" forces have conceded that there is no evidence that such discrimination is taking place. I have searched all over cyber space and have found no evidence.

You make several great points especially about firing an incompetent employee. I have first hand experience of a person being fired for coming into work so drunk he couldn't speak straight. Not once but over a perid of a year. His job? Laboratory technologist who happened to be a black man. He was finally fired and of course he was re-hired after two years with full back pay because he said he was fired because he was a black man not because he was a drunk putting out dangerous lab information on patients.

The only "hate" I ever see in these campaigns is coming from the other side. Want an example? Just read the comments on my entry just prior to this one! Any comments removed must have been REALLY heinous as the site administrator removed them.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

There is so much that could be said with all the varied arguements here! I am a Christian, and voted YES in regard to the referendum. I have found this information and thought those here would find it interesting: Here is “information from the Maine Human Rights
Commission, July 04 - June 05 , says: "Charges filed
to the processing of charges of discrimination: 628
new charges were filed. Over 82% of these alleged
discrimination in employment. The largest number of
complaints was filed on the basis of disability
(30.9%). The second largest number of complaints was
based on sex (22.1%). The third largest were
Whistleblower’s charges (15.2%). These three bases
comprised 68.2% of the complaints filed. Age was the
4th largest category of complaint (8.3%), followed by,
Retaliation (7.5%), Race/color (6.6%),
Ancestry/national origin (4.7%). Over forty-nine
percent (49.75%) of the sex discrimination complaints
filed alleged sexual harassment. The number of sexual
harassment complaints filed (100) decreased slightly
from the previous year, but constituted a higher
percentage overall of sex discrimination charges filed
at nearly 50%."

"The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe
that unlawful discrimination had occurred in 40 cases,
which was 9% of the cases they considered. The
Commission found no reasonable grounds to believe that
unlawful discrimination occurred in 402 cases. Not
all cases in which the Commission makes determinations
are closed within the same fiscal year”

My question is, How many complaints based on “ sex”,
were gender discrimination and what were the decisions
on these cases?

In her post, Melissa says,"As a Christian, I'm not going to make my moral beliefs the first priority in my vote, because it's not the issue." Why not?! Our identity is no longer of this world. Our identity is now that of Christ, and it is the issue, the basis from which all of our views and perspectives should originate from, and how we are to evaluate life. It's the only stable thing from which we can rely. So why shouldn't our faith be the major factor in our vote, how we engage with others, while we are work, and in our families? That is how God desires it anyway!

8:55 PM  

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