Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GOD HATES FAGS! and Other Fallacies of the Right: An Open Letter to the Christian Church

Dear Christian Church and my fellow Christians,

Certainly you remember me. As a child, I sat in your pews each Sunday, and I heard your message. As a young man, I sang in your choir, and I proselytized for you, and I attempted to represent you as best as humanly possible.

If you do not remember me, perhaps you will recognize me through the works of my father who is one of your ministers, or my two brothers, or a host of my uncles and cousins who are also your ministers.

I know that you have seen me only sporadically for a while; my attendance has been hit or miss for a long time now. And that is partly what this letter is about. Though I still believe in and worship Christ with all my heart, my faith in you, the Church, is faltering. In short, I am fastly becoming disillusioned.

It began in Orlando. Do you remember Orlando and the gay pride march? The gays, who you managed to convince me were evil, marched peaceably down the street, holding hands, singing songs, and holding up signs inscribed with messages of peace and love and tolerance, while your people, my fellow Christians, lined the boulevard red-faced with rage and screamed the vilest epithets they could think of. And the messages on the signs they held up were completely antithetical to the messages of the gays and what I thought to be your message. I saw signs like, GOD HATES FAGS! Or better still, YOU FAGS WILL BURN IN HELL!

Where was the love? Where was the Christian compassion? Where was the message of redemption? I saw only condemnation.

And this past Sunday, a very ill, very deranged individual killed an abortion doctor as he sat in your pews worshipping our God. But because of the shooter’s mental illness, perhaps he can’t fully be held at fault, but the fault can truly be laid at the feet of those who claim to speak for you, those who espouse a message of fire and brimstone and damnation, while completely ignoring your central message which I see as one of reconciliation. They supplied the rhetoric, the impetus, for this already ill individual to act.

I think I can pinpoint where the problem began. I think I can identify the origins.

It began when you let greedy, godless politicians co-opt the Church’s message for their own cynical self-interests. You see, the Christian Church, especially the Christian Church in America, has a history of preoccupations and prejudices that it never fully and adequately dealt with, that it never genuinely confronted. Novelist James Baldwin attempted to point this out to you, but you refused to listen. And then that group of politicians in one of their most desperate moments recognized those preoccupations and prejudices as their very own and then stood to claim affiliation with and representation of all the “true” Christians. And you fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Do you not realize that your actions actually hurt the Church, the purported body of our dear Christ? Do you not realize that your actions do not draw people to Christ, but turn them away in droves? Just take a look at this Newsweek article, “The End of Christian America.” Or this Washington Post article, “In America, Nonbelievers Find Strength in Numbers.” But you probably won’t read them, or if you do, you probably will not read them with a critical eye. Your excuse, of course, will be it’s just another trick of the mainstream media. Those politicians have really got you snowed. It is regrettable that you have long ceased listening to reason and have come, instead, to value caustic, divisionary rhetoric without weighing its viability or cost.

In closing, I would just like to remind you of just one more thing, our Christ’s last commandment:

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one to another. By this all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (St. John 13:34,35).

Christ's greatest commandment was to love. It did not involve loving only those who agree with us or only those we like or only those we consider Christians, but included everyone. We should endeavor to recognize and celebrate the humanity in every human being, not just a select few. And we have fallen short in realizing this edict.

Don’t think I have deserted the Church because I have not; I simply have chosen to follow Christ and not politicians. I have chosen to read the Word for myself and not depend on your rhetoric. You may do what you want, but as far as me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. Get right Church, and let’s go home.

Your son and servant,

Maxwell Reddick


Jo Moore said...

I am touched by your words, so much so that I am speechless and rather than try to comment I will simply marvel silently at your eloqence. I am glad that you've chosen to share.

Max Reddick said...

Oh my goodness. Now I am touched by lack of comment. Thank you so much. It was meant from the heart. I am awaiting a brighter day.

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