If I had to make a speech before congress, what would I say?
I am a Christian who grew up in the southeastern United States. As such, I grew up with certain cultural biases. Biases which needed to be outgrown. It took seven years of military service to get past my fear of African-Americans. It took a divorce and losing everything to learn the value of a good wife and to have genuine respect for women. It took a lesbian with a heart of gold to help me past my disdain for those who are sexually different. It took years of addiction, depression and anxiety to learn compassion for the still sick and suffering. It took years of self-inflicted pain to get past my personal biases and learn to love people like Jesus did-right where they are!
Where did I learn these unhealthy biases? In a legalistic Christian society. Legalism based, mostly, on the writings of one man. One man who wrote concepts and principles that were truly inspired by God. Yet, his own learned biases shine through like a spot of black tar on the coat of a pure white lamb.
Paul’s biases show through when he wrote about women as second class citizens. He spoke of women not being allowed to be in authority over or to teach men. When, the truth is, we can all learn from the spiritually mature; and who better to lead us than someone who knows how to love and is close to God. Paul’s bias towards women appears in his writing about widows. It even shows up when he wrote in 1 Timothy 2:15:
But women will be saved by child bearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. NIV
The cornerstone of Christian belief is faith in Jesus Christ. The last I checked, women belong in the category-who so ever!
Cultural bias also shows up in the Biblical writings about those who are sexually different. The Bible calls this variation in human behavior immoral and an abomination. Every life is precious and deserves respect. Many may be different sexually by choice. However, science has proven that homosexuality could be a recessive genetic trait. I believe this is the case. There could be a recessive gene in my family. It could be causing autism. Science has not proven this either. My son, who is autistic, and people who are sexually different belong in the category-who so ever!
Biblical writers had cultural bias against people who had spiritual sicknesses. This is not entirely their fault. They did not have access to the medical and scientific knowledge of today. Only recently, addictions and mental illnesses have been taken out of the category of moral weakness. Still, I have had people accuse me of a lack of faith because of my bouts with anxiety and depression. Going so far as to accuse me of not having a relationship with Christ. I almost believed them. People who are still sick and suffering belong in the category-who so ever!
Paul and other Biblical writers were influenced by the cultural biases of their time. Christ’s teachings, as stated by John 3:16, reveal equality for whosoever. Biblical cultural bias lives on because of a legalistic culture’s need to have tangible proof of God. They transfer this need to the Bible. Determining it to be a perfect revelation of God. Mankind’s cultural biases make a perfect revelation of God through man impossible. A very plentiful source of revelation-yes! Perfect-NO! Personally, I prefer to talk directly to the true source.
It is time to put Biblical cultural bias aside. It is time we embrace true equality. It is time to quit using an imperfect book to justify unhealthy bias. It is time to stop denying responsible American citizens the right to legal acknowledgement of who they are. It is time to end the culture war and paranoid delusions of agenda imposition. It is time to place love ahead of all of our differences.
Allow me to slightly paraphrase a true American poet – Garth Brooks.
When we are free to love who so ever we choose. We shall be free.
It is time, we learned to love each other as Jesus did, right where we are.