Over many years, ample evidence has been presented that homophobia that is linked with many clergy’s interpretation of selected Bible verses that has been enmeshed, if not fused, with their views of Christianity and “morality,” is not going to be swayed or altered by appeals to emotion or to reason. Indeed, their homophobia is not even going to be swayed by biblical exegeses refuting the interpretation of those same passages that homophobic clergy use to bear false witness and discriminate against LGBT people!
It’s high time that LGBT Christians make a cold turkey choice, if they haven’t done so already! Stay in denominations and churches that view you as objects of disdain and ridicule OR flee those toxic denominations and churches and not subject yourselves to such gross indignities visited upon you “in the name of God.”
This choice hinges on at least two criteria:
1. The degree of self-loathing/masochism that you possess.
2. The degree of loyalty you have to an institution that disparages you and seeks to deny you full and equal civil and sacramental rights.
Bishop John Spong of the Episcopal Church, in his article entitled, “A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!,” in part wrote the following:
“I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.
“I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a “new church,” claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.”
LGBT people who choose to remain in homophobic denominations and churches must dig deep into their psyches and seek to discern why they choose to remain in those toxic institutions!
The spurious canard that “It’s my church too,” as I heard one Roman Catholic say on TV, and another said the same thing directly to me, is embarrassing on its face! You don’t make the doctrines, you don’t make the dogmas, you can’t preach from the pulpit, you have no voice in the formal dimensions of that denomination or church to get your own theological and/or personal views across, you have no right to excommunicate anybody. It is clearly not your church too!
Professing Christians, particularly clergy, who misuse Scripture and thereby distort people’s perceptions of the lives of LGBT people as part of their theology and rhetoric; who raise countless millions of dollars to deny one or more civil rights to Gay people; who discriminate against Gay people, have no right to be treated with any degree of deference. And they have no right to be given credibility by your presence and/or by your money, or the presence and money of any decent person who professes to be a Christian.
All decent people and LGBT people who attend homophobic churches must examine their hearts and try and discern whether inertia should overcome anger; whether loyalty to one’s tradition should overcome exposing oneself to lies and hateful rhetoric; whether any degree or even vestige of self-loathing should overcome giving credibility to institutions that misuse the Bible; whether any taint of masochistic needs should overcome discrimination and oppression visited upon LGBT people “in the name of God.”
To all LGBT people, and all decent people who call themselves “Christians,” I ask that you examine your psyches and ask yourselves why you choose to attend toxic institutions that demean and hurt others, and that cause untold suffering by their rhetoric and oppression of others in both the religious and civic arenas.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. He also published a blog called A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and the website Radical Christianity.