Selectively literal

Opinion piece today in the Anchorage Daily News http://www.adn.com/

cartoon from http://www.nakedpastor.com/


There are referances to Pastor Prevo, for those not from Alaska he is the pastor of the Anchorage Baptists Temple and is a strong voice opposed to gay rights as well as a significant voice local and state politics.

This Sunday I am preaching on the summer question of literal vs. non-literal interpretation of scripture. I thought this fit well. I have never met anyone who preaches a literal translation of the Bible, only those who claim to.

Thanks to the Taliban and other religious extremist groups, I'm probably not the only person around who is starting to have their fill of prejudice and hate disguised as some god's love. Because of my upbringing, I find this especially heinous when coming out of the mouths of Christians.

A recent ordinance introduced in the Anchorage Assembly would prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. In my world, that should just be a given. None of us should be discriminating against another based on whether they look like us, love like us or have purple toes and green fingernails. Gay people are hardworking, contributing members of our community and using their sexual orientation to judge them simply makes no sense. If you doubt this, check out the recent action by the U.S. military against Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq, who is fluent in Arabic. He's just been discharged by the military from his job as a translator for coming out of the closet. So, as Jon Stewart pointed out so rightly on "The Daily Show" recently, our morality has reached the point where it is all relative and every line can be crossed to protect the homeland. Want to eavesdrop on Americans? Be my guest. Never know if they might be turncoats. Want to suspend the writ of habeas corpus? Sure, if that makes us safer. Want to torture? Go ahead. There may be a ticking bomb. But, and here is apparently where we won't cross the line, we will not tolerate translation of the tortured person's screams by someone who is gay.

It's nice to know we still have standards, isn't it?

And, of course, wading into the fray here in Anchorage is our very own Jerry Prevo, who apparently feels that forcing people to treat others fairly is nothing more than a nefarious plot by homosexuals to foist their agenda on the hapless citizens of Anchorage. And he's right of course. So long as you understand that their agenda is nothing neither more nor less than the right to be treated fairly and without prejudice.

Prevo also believes that the gay community is trying to force its values on everyone else. I'd love to know what he thinks the gay community's values are that makes them so different from everyone else. I'm betting most gay people want a community that is safe, clean, law abiding, compassionate and doesn't have dog poo on all its trails. Oh wait. That's right. They do live together in sin without the benefit of marriage. I wonder why that is?

After hearing what Prevo had to say, it seems to me that he's the one trying to shove his Christian agenda down my throat. I don't particularly care if his church discriminates against gays. I'm willing to bet there aren't a lot of gays clamoring to get in anyway. But in public life and public discourse, our constitution guarantees that we are all treated equally.

And those Biblical quotes that keep getting thrown at us to prove God doesn't like gays? Well, I for one am sick and tired of preachers who pervert the message of Christ to love one another as we would be loved by going back into their Bible to yank out quotes from an ancient culture that also thought eating meat from animals with cloven hooves was a sin. For every quote they hurl that justifies hate, there is another quote that contradicts it.

I'm sick of how conveniently these Christians decide which Biblical injunctions are still relevant today. The same Bible they quote to justify discriminating against gays also justifies slavery and killing your kids if they sass you. Do they have some secret access to God in which she tells them which ones should still be enforced?

Prejudice is ugly and hateful. It is used by groups all over the world to justify murder and mayhem against those who do not look the same, think the same or speak the same as they do. I hope that Anchorage is a better place than that.

Jesus spent his life on earth wandering in poverty amidst the outcasts of his society preaching a gospel of love and inclusion. When did people like Jerry Prevo lose sight of that?


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