Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rachel Held Evans on Faux Persecution Complex of Conservative Christians, and Betraying the Gospel

Rachel Held Evans argues that when the Christian brand becomes assertion of the "right to refuse" service rather than serving, when it becomes standing against those suffering real oppression rather than with them, Christians shouldn't be shocked that large numbers of people are walking away from their "gospel" at this point in history:

I've been watching people with golden crosses around their necks and on their lapels shout at the TV about how serving gay and lesbian people is a violation of their "sincerely-held religious beliefs." And I can't help but laugh at the sad irony of it. Two-thousand years ago, Jesus hung from that cross, looked out on the people who put him there and said, "Father, forgive them." Jesus served sinners all the way to the cross.  
If conservative Christians continue to treat LGBT people as second-class citizens and cry persecution every time they don’t get their way, they will lose far more than the culture wars. They will lose the Christian identity. We've obscured the gospel when the "right to refuse" service has become a more widely-known Christian value than the impulse to give it. 

Many Catholics like to pretend that we Catholics are aloof from all of this culture-war nonsense, of course, and that we would never behave in the outré, belligerent way county clerks in white evangelical nooks of the nation are now behaving, as same-sex couples seek marriage licenses and are turned away despite a Supreme Court ruling. As I say, we Catholics like to pretend — because that's precisely what we're doing if we imagine we're not implicated in this bigotry and hate, when our bishops have done all but stand on their heads for years now to combat LGBT rights.

And when many of us — the 60% of white Catholics who voted Republican in the fall 2014 elections, as a matter of fact — have lined up right behind those culture-war bishops as they mount their attacks on their fellow citizens who are LGBT . . . . 

As one study after another keeps confirming for us, American Catholics, too, are walking away from a church that so conspicuously betrays the good news of Jesus Christ in its treatment of LGBT human beings. This despite the much-vaunted "Francis effect" about which we're hearing so much as the papal visit to the U.S. approaches . . . . 

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