Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hate mail from a hate group: because we are a "GAY friendly church"

A few weeks ago my church received a letter from a certain hate group. According to the letter they saw that we were listed as a "GAY friendly church". Here is the full text of the letter:

To accept sexual deviancy as normal is a sin.
You put your soul in danger of eternal damnation for welcoming unrepentant homosexuals into God’s house. You blaspheme the Name of God. 
Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race. 
Because of your church, I now know why God wrote: 
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. 
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 
:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 
:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell 
because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins 
and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and 
take away my sins and give me eternal life.


This of course is very tragic and sad. According to this group my church is guilty of the following:
1) Accepting "sexual deviancy" as normal.
2) Welcoming "unrepentant homosexuals".
3) Blaspheming the "Name of God", per points 1 and 2.

They believe that:
1) "Homosexuality should be criminalized".
2) Homosexuals are criminals.
3) Homosexual crime includes: crime against God, crime against nature, crime against the Holy Bible, and crime against the human race.

They conclude that it is churches like mine that the following verses from Scripture apply:
Leviticus 20:13
Romans 1:24, 26, and 27.

According to them, my church and I should pray to Jesus over all of this. In fact, I believe I will do that and a bit more. First, I offer the following verse from Scripture as a prayer: Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ (Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 23 Verse 34). Second, I will hope that some of these people will one day recognize that homosexuality is not "sexual deviancy". That argument was put to rest more than 40 years ago and all the other arguments build upon that erroneous premise (like "Homosexuality should be criminalized" and crimes "against nature" and "the human race") should be rejected since they reinforce ignorance and bring nothing but unjustifiable pain and suffering. Perhaps they will read all the arguments from science, psychiatry and psychology that confirm this. Education about sexuality is very important and can play an important role against the ignorance and myths that feed the fear of well-meaning people and give ammunition to the horrible arguments of hate groups.

Third, since they took the time (and the organizational skills) to write us a letter (from what I hear my church was not the only one to receive this letter) my hope is that perhaps they would consider turning these hateful energies into positive efforts. Perhaps they can join you and me (with both religious and non-religious groups) in supporting programs and initiatives dealing with: raising money for local food banks and food pantries, the fight against poverty in the United States and around the world, relief to heavily indebted countries in order to free up funds for education and health care work, HIV/AIDS initiatives, unemployment, providing access to clean water, helping people (specially women and children) suffering from domestic violence and sexual exploitation, and many other worthy causes.

Finally, I have decided to take the following action: I am going to frame the letter we received from them and I will hang it on my wall. I do this not only as a reminder that we must be vigilant against hate and hateful efforts, but to remind myself that hate leads nowhere. Thomas Merton once said that sometimes we act in the following way: We seek the cause of evil and find it here or there...and we discharge upon this scapegoat all the virulent force of our hatred, compounded with fear and anguish, striving to rid ourselves of our dread and of our guilt by destroying the object we have arbitrarily singled out as the embodiment of all evil. 

I ask you my dear reader (both Christian and Non-Christian) to join me and do the opposite; to do so is to say "NO" to hate and "YES" to good, to humanitarian love, to justice, to compassion, to solidarity, to kindness, and to understanding between people. Let us say "YES" in a loud voice to all these things as human beings.

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