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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It Gets Better: Bishop Mark Hanson, ELCA

Ya know, guys, I'm very distressed with some of the well-known bloggers and other supposed representatives of the "gay community" whom I've noticed over the last several years have fallen into a pattern of bad-mouthing all Christians and all religion, often in highly profane and digusting ways. They do not speak for me, and I hope not for you.

By broadly lumping all believers into one class, without discriminating between the fantatics and the reasonable people of faith, these purported representatives of our cause are making themselves morally no better than the wild-eyed demagogues and bigots of the opposing side. They show themselves to be just as bigoted and just as tyrannical as their opponents, which disgusts me. The long, tragic history of humankind has shown times without number that it is but one small step from being oppressed to being an oppressor.

Religion is a human institution of many forms and varieties; and like all things human, is a mixture of good and evil. So are you and I, my friends. That is the human condition. It is up to us, individually and collectively, to discern the difference and to keep choosing the good whenever we can. Religion is and has been a great help to many, many millions of people in that way. Religion can also be misused as a weapon of oppression and ignorance, and should rightly be rebuked and condemned when it is; but the fanatical commenters amongst us do a great wrong when they ignore the power of faith to make people better human beings.

I could go on at some length here, but I think this video made by Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America makes the point - for those who have ears to hear.


Larry said...

Well stated ... very reasonable. Thanks for posting this.

Frank said...

I think it is important for bloggers and others, including both atheists and people of faith to stand up to hypocrisy, hatred, abuse, and injustice. Religious leaders -Christian and non-Christian alike - should be (one would think) prophetic in this regard, but unfortunately they represent a spectrum of ideas from prophetic to dangerously regressive; and they are more often perceived as a part of the problem, rather than as embracing or supportive or proactive. There are exceptions as the video shows.

Many of the critics in our camp do not have an understanding of religion either from a personal or historic perspective, let alone a theological one. They/we often embarrass themselves and the rest of us with hastily written words and an eagerness to gloat when others fail or when they spew nonsense. There is a difference between exposing hypocrisy or hatred or being justifiably angry and expressing a childish self-satisfaction or superiority over another.

And then I think there are those of us who have been wounded by our religion and who have turned the cheek to be stricken again and again (I include myself). We can become angry, bitter, and dare I say hateful toward our oppressor. It is sometimes difficult to be a dispassionate critic or commentator under those circumstances.

In any case, rational and responsible discourse makes the best argument and the more satisfying reading.

Russ Manley said...

Larry - glad you liked.

Frank - we're on the same wavelength.

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