I have received 8 emails to date inviting me to sign this petition, many from people I have not heard from in years. I cannot remember a time when so many Christians I know have been so united and so active about something. This makes me want to weep.
Is this really the most gospel-furthering, Christ-honouring, lost-loving thing we can think of to do with our energy? It’s not that I need educating about the reasons why people feel the way that they do about it – I’m fully aware of that, and this post is not about the rightness or wrongness of it. It’s about the proportion of energy that is going into it. It’s the fact that it is so very high on the agenda, it’s almost as if two gay people getting married would cause all the Bibles in the world to spontaneously combust and the entire church to dissolve.
I am saddened that it wasn’t Christians who forwarded the petition to try to prevent the passing of a law in Uganda which would lead to the death penalty for practicing homosexual people there. Is it really more important that gay people should be prevented from being married, than preventing them from being killed?
I am saddened that I have not received 8 emails from Christians about any other matter of injustice or opportunity to show love, compassion or mercy. I recently saw results of a survey conducted to find out gay people’s perception of Christians. Part of the survey involved giving them various words which they could tick if they associated them with various Christian categories. 5.8% of the respondents ticked the word ‘loving’ in response to the Evangelical box, compared to 84.6% ticking the word ‘homophobic’. There is something seriously wrong if less than 6% of a certain demographic sees Christians (who are supposed to be ambassadors for the personification of love), as demonstrating that.
I wonder what these Christians who sent me these emails think will be achieved if they prevent this law from being passed. Do they think it will stop gay people being gay? Do they think that gay people in partnerships will stop being in partnerships? Do they think that it’s possible to legislate for morality? That people who do not believe in Jesus make decisions based on whether or not things are lawful as opposed to whether or not they submit to the teachings of a God they do not believe in? Do they think that gay people are more likely to become Christians if they are discriminated against by law?
I wish that the media caricature of evangelicals was not so accurate. I wish that the caricature was of a group of people who are famous for doing radical counter-cultural things to help the marginalised, the poor, the struggling, the addicted and the weak in society. I wish evangelicals were famous as people who give second chances to people who have been given up on by everyone else. I wish the word evangelical was synonymous with words like peace, justice and love.
I started to imagine what it would be like if the latter was the norm and it was multiplied into every Christian community everywhere. There would be an evangelical stereotype: they are those people who meet needs; they are those people who love without judging; they are those people who make a positive difference in communities; they are those people who, when someone starts to say that they met a person who changed their life, the listener already knows it’s going to be a Christian they’re talking about.
This is not reality though. The real evangelical stereotype? They are the people who shout about abortion and homosexuality; they are the people who fight over things and split further and further into more and more pedantic factions. They spend all their energy pointing fingers, building barriers and painting pictures of themselves as right and everyone else as wrong. They are the people who protest about books they have never read or musicals they have never seen because they are offended by their content, while campaigning for freedom of speech so that they can continue to share the most offensive message there is: that people need a saviour.
OddBabble: Is aware that punching people is not very Christlike, but is also aware that her fist is smaller than that of her 6 year old niece, so is not too bothered.