I will never forget as a seminarian preaching at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, Texas. I have no memory of what Sunday it was, what my sermon was about, or even what time of year it was. What I remember is climbing into the pulpit (it was one of those late 19th century/early 20th church pulpits which was elevated over the congregation) and seeing a small permanent note lamented on the place where you would put your note. It said simply, “There is no place in the world where you should have greater humility than here.” It should be on every pulpit in the country.
While we have all heard a sermon or two that we probably disagreed with, it seems of late that there are some ministers who just can’t seem to pull themselves away from the topic of homosexuality. I have written enough on this blog by now that you know my thoughts on the topic. But that isn’t what I want to write about today, at least directly. What I want to write about are the few Christian pastors who stand up and say absolutely outrageous things from the pulpit on this topic.
First, we had the pastor in North Carolina who preached that all gays and lesbians should be rounded up like cattle and quarantined behind a fence. Why? He said because they would be unable to reproduce. When asked if all heterosexuals who would be unable to reproduce should also be put behind a fence, he refused to answer the question. Then, this past Sunday in Kansas, a pastor advocated that the government should round up all the gays and lesbians and kill them. All those words of Jesus of, “Love one another”, “Judge not lest ye be judged”, and “the one who shows mercy is the true neighbor” seems lost on them.
I understand that they are taking literally ancient prescriptions ((while ignoring many others) for homosexual behavior in the Old Testament. I understand that reading scripture in context of its time and place and interpreting it for today is an adventure that is fraught with disagreements. I also understand that in any organization (such as Christ’s Church) with this many people in it that you are going to get some people who are “out there” in their beliefs. But how anyone who studies the Bible thinks this is what Jesus would say is truly beyond me.
This exact same thing happened in Nazi Germany and part of the reason for the Nazi’s success was due to the failure of Christians to speak against what is clearly wrong.
So, all this said, when anyone advocates death from a pulpit where Jesus Christ and his way, truth, and light are to be proclaimed, I believe it is important for other Christians to clearly say, “You are very very wrong in what you are advocating and this is not the way of God.”
And so I say here.
Until next time,