Hurricane Sandy brought together people to pile sandbags, reach out to neighbors in need and rescue people trapped in the waters. Unfortunately, it also brought people together to blame lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for the hurricane.
In a category 1 unnatural disaster, cartoonish leaders demean religion by blaming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for the hurricane. Linda Wall , prominent anti-LGBT lawyer claims that the USA is under “God’s judgment.” The Rev. John McTernan blames marriage equality laws for God’s “destructive judgments.”
In a category 2 unnatural disaster last week, Maryland pastor Robert Anderson, part of a coalition of Black pastors sponsored by the conservative National Organization for Marriage quoted the final lines of the first chapter of Romans in the Bible to proclaim that gay and lesbian people deserve death. He received “Amens” and “Excellent! Excellent!” along with applause. Never mind that the very next line, Romans 2:1, states, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Despite a press statement disclaimer from NOM, Anderson stands behind his statements.
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and Bishop Yvette Flunder spoke to the harm of these statements in a Washington Post editorial. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches. Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco, is presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
If these beliefs were not so unnaturally disastrous we could laugh it off, but we are leaders of two global networks of congregations founded on the belief that all are equal in God’s sight regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We have seen the un-natural disaster of suicides, homeless teens on the streets, and the profound grief of people who have been told they are going to hell because of whom they love and who they are. Families are told by Bible-thumping ministers to turn their backs on their LGBT family members as some kind of tough love—when what they need is God’s love and the love of a church that has matured beyond proof-texting prejudice.
Both of us are Christians and we lead churches grounded in the Word of God, but the Bible tells us to love our neighbor, not judge our neighbor.
Read the full post to see how these statements also connect with racism in this election cycle.