Gay Marriage, Bristol Palin, Christian Hypocrisy, and Living My Faith

gay marriage - christiansOne day after Christian abstinence advocate Bristol Palin announced her second out of wedlock pregnancy, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. Predictably, conservatives are outraged over the SCOTUS decision…but not so much about Bristol’s pregnancy. These two events shine a bright, but not so beautiful, light onto conservatives’ (especially conservative Christians’) hypocrisy.

The gay-shaming, gay-marriage-hating, no-cake-for-gay-weddings-supporting conservative Christians will speak out in support of sweet, little Bristol. They will lash out at those who point to the irony of one who preaches abstinence while getting pregnant without the benefit of marriage. They will stand behind her and applaud her courage for keeping her baby (again). What an excellent example of a Christian girl! Yes she sinned, as we all do, but she turned that sin into a blessing by having her baby and raising it in a loving and stable (?) home.

I bet they’d even bake a cake for her baby shower.

This blatant double standard is why I, and millions of others, have such an issue with conservatives in general, and conservative Christians, in particular.

Are you honestly blind to your hypocrisy?

I’m not being facetious. I’m asking sincerely…can you not see the double standard you set forth?

You rely on a few cherry–picked scriptures to condemn homosexuals and gay marriage, yet ignore surrounding scriptures that would affect your own lives. You condemn and chastise those who disagree with your belief that being gay is a sin, yet accept and absolve people in your community, your church, and even your family who live together or get pregnant out of wedlock. Or get divorced. Or commit adultery. Or have multiple marriages under their belts. You have decided that being gay is the cardinal sin, yet have no problem embracing Bristol and those who commit other “sins of the flesh” – as long as they are heterosexual sins.

Every single day, for years, the loudest conservative Christian voices have screamed from the valleys to the mountaintops that homosexuality is a sin! Homosexuals, and those who support them, are dooming not only themselves to an eternity in Hell, but our nation! No, the entire world! The only people who are bound for Heaven, they say, are those who agree with them. The rest of us, including their brothers and sisters in Christ, are living outside of the Will of God and bringing His judgement and wrath upon the world because we refuse to condemn homosexuality. And thanks to our refusal and those wicked, sinning, gay people the Lord is going to bring His wrath upon us. In fact, they tell us it’s already happening. Floods, droughts, tornadoes, earthquakes. Every natural disaster is but another sign that the evil ways of gay people are bringing about the end times and the wrath of the Lord.

Yet Bristol Palin, whose mother is one of the loudest voices of hyperbolic fear- and hate-mongering, is given a pass for having two children out of wedlock by two different fathers. Her pregnancies are not only accepted, but are held up as the example of what a Christian girl should do if she finds herself “in trouble” (and they praise the Lord she didn’t choose abortion!). She and former Marine, Dakota Johnson, were lauded as a wonderful Christian couple despite living together and having sex without benefit of marriage.

How do you justify this? How do you tell yourself that it’s okay to condemn, discriminate, and even bully gays when you’re not equally indignant and judgmental towards Bristol’s – or other heterosexuals’ – actions and life choices?

Let me pause for a moment and say that I couldn’t care less if Bristol has two or ten children out of wedlock or if she chooses to live with her next fifteen boyfriends. I also had a child out of wedlock, so I’m certainly in no position to judge. It’s none of my business. Her life, her choices, her sins are between her and God.

In the meantime, she’ll be cradled in the bosom of conservative Christians.

So forgive me, brothers and sisters, but someone has to say it. If you utter one word of support for Bristol Palin, you had better expect to be called a hypocrite. If you believe with your whole heart that homosexuality is a sin, that two people who truly love each other shouldn’t have the right to marry, then you should just as vehemently condemn Bristol, your friends, and those in your own family who commit “heterosexual sin”.

But you don’t.

And you won’t, will you?

Why?

IF you’re right and homosexuality is a sin, it is no worse a sin than adultery, living together, pre-marital sex, or having babies out of wedlock. All sins are equal. So how do you reconcile condemning one but not the others?

I say this to you with all due respect, brothers and sisters. I used to be one of you. I used to believe that homosexuality was a sin. I used to believe that the only way  gay people could live in the Will of God was to set aside their sexuality and deny that part of themselves. It pains me to admit that I believed that, but it’s what I was taught in church growing up. My pastors, men of God, told me it was wrong and I believed them. They pointed to scripture to prove their point. They were the authorities on how to live life as a follower of Christ, and surely they knew the Bible better than I. Who was I to question what they said?

Then something happened.

When my son and I were living in a small east Texas town, there was a teenager who came out to his family and his church. He was immediately excommunicated by his church, and kicked out of his parents’ house. I was shocked that a church would tell a child that he was no longer welcome in a place where he grew up, a place that was supposed to embody the love of Jesus. I was brokenhearted that his parents (people I knew) could completely and easily withdraw their love from their own child without a second thought. It made no sense. It especially made no sense when they claimed to do this in Jesus’ name.

It made even less sense when I looked at the individuals within the congregation. There were couples living together, unmarried. Teenage girls (and adult women) who got pregnant out of wedlock were fully accepted by both their families and their church (after the gossip stopped, that is). The church embraced members who were adulterers, wife swappers, and porn addicts. Even child molesters (and there were plenty of them) were extended forgiveness. Why weren’t these people excommunicated and run out of town on a rail? Why were they allowed to maintain their standing in the church and community? Why was their “sin” acceptable while a boy, who was still a virgin, was labeled an outcast and disowned by the very people who should’ve loved him NO MATTER WHAT (you know, the way Jesus loves us all)?

“Living in sin”, premarital sex, babies out of wedlock, adultery, wife-swapping, watching porn? All accepted. Loving someone who happens to be the same gender? Oh no, no, no! We want nothing to do with you, evil sinner!! Of course, we still “love” you, we just hate your sin! Because we believe your sin to be the worst possible sin in all of mankind, we must shame you and shun you in the name of the Lord. That’s what God expects of us and we wouldn’t be good Christians if we didn’t!

Really?

This ideology threw me into a major crisis of faith. Is this truly what the Lord expects of Christians? Of me? Am I supposed to condemn others who “sin” differently than me? And is it really a sin to desire a committed relationship with someone of the same sex? That’s what I’d been taught all my life and that’s what my fellow Christians were so completely certain was right.

But I kept coming back to the fact that it didn’t feel right in my heart. More importantly, it didn’t fit with Jesus’ teachings of love. And frankly, if God expected me to hate people simply because they were gay, I wasn’t sure this was a God I wanted to worship. I began to question everything I believed with my whole heart about Jesus and being a Christian.

Rather than turning my back on God, I turned to His word. I searched and searched for the scriptures where Jesus said that Christians were supposed to hate gays or that being gay was a sin. Guess what I found. Nothing. There was not one red letter verse where Jesus said, “Gays are bad and you should shun them.” In fact, over and over, Jesus said we should love everyone without question. Not one time did I find an asterisk that said *unless they’re gay.

But surely, if so many other Christians believed this to be God’s word, I must be missing something. So I prayed. I prayed that the Lord would show me the truth – and continue to do so. I prayed that the veils would be lifted from my own eyes and the eyes of others. I prayed over the Word. I prayed in the Spirit. I read and researched. The more I read, the more I researched the context around and translations of those few venomous scriptures the clearer it became. The Word of God is inerrant, but the translations and the motives of those doing the translating from the original text were not.

So, please, Christian brothers and sisters, please, I am begging you. Put down the pitchforks, stop being hypocrites, and live your life by Christ’s commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34 NIV) Notice that there are periods at the end of each of those sentences. No asterisks. No disclaimers. No exceptions.

If you absolutely positively can’t let go of the idea that being gay is a sin, then the least you can do is condemn everyone equally, including Bristol Palin…and me. Many of you have already condemned me for my so-called radical beliefs. I couldn’t care less. You see, just like gay people, I don’t answer to you. I answer only to God, and ya know what? He loves me just as much as He loves you. In the end, your judgement means nothing to me. I wonder, though, what it means to Jesus?

When God judges this nation, I believe it will be for the hateful, often brutal, way we’ve treated and judged others. It will be because people turned their backs on others and spewed hate in His name. It will NOT be because our government allowed people who love each other to have a legally binding, committed relationship, and equal protections under the law.

If you can  open your heart to listening to another view of what the Bible says concerning homosexuality, please watch this video (or read the transcript). If you watch, I pray that you watch with an open mind and heart. This young man has done quite a bit of Biblical research on this very subject and explains it extremely well.

If I am to err, may I err on the side of love as my savior, Jesus Christ, commands.

 

 

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