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Dear Christians,

The right to practice your religion freely and to live your life according to your religion’s teaching, well that’s pretty foundational stuff.  And that right should not be infringed upon.  You should not be made to feel guilty, coerced, or forced into doing something that violates your conscience
or the tenets of your faith.  On that much we can agree.

But I’m sorry.  Your so-called “right” to shun me, to disgrace me, to make me feel less-than, to ensure I get the message that “my lifestyle is an abomination” — that is NOT your religious liberty! Here's why.

You have a right to practice your religion, yes. But last time I checked, your savior explained that the greatest commandments began with the word, “love.”  As in “Love God and Love your neighbor.”

So, do you really think telling me, “I can’t make a cake for your gay wedding” is somehow spreading good news about God’s love?  Do you actually believe that turning away a gay couple at your B&B is in some twisted way showing me “tough love”?  That your refusal to do business with me will help me see the “error of my wicked ways?” I can assure you, it will NOT.

And while we’re at it, could you explain exactly which commandment found in the Bible would be violated by your accommodating me and my loved one?  Exactly what passage of scripture supports the idea that “if you don’t snub those gay people, you’re not a good follower of Jesus?”

According to the Christian scriptures, when the spirit of Jesus shows up, people are supposed to observe things like joy, peace, patience, gentleness and kindness.  I ask you: does spitefully turning away my business in the public market line up with any one of those descriptive words?  Is shunning me a joyful thing?  Do you believe it’s an act of kindness? Are you showing gentleness or patience when you do that?

Just to be sure we’re clear: love means “a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.”  How does saying, “Go take your gay business somewhere else” communicate a feeling of deep affection to me?  How does “I won’t serve you people” make you an example of Jesus’ love?  Didn’t Jesus become a servant of all?

Stop telling me your “religious freedom” is under attack.  Stop complaining that “political correctness is winning the day.” And start demonstrating what it looks like to actually love people.  Especially the people who have different moral standards than you do.  And who knows, maybe I’ll want to know more about your religion when I sense that you actually care about me. But right now, it seems like all you care about is your right to sneer.

I’m not going to say, “You’re just a bigot.”  I mean, there may be some people who are simply that.  But many more people have been misguided and duped into thinking that religious freedom is at stake when they are obligated to treat the GLBT community with dignity and respect.  Maybe there is a religion out there that says, “You shall spurn your neighbor with all your heart, soul and strength.”  But that religion sure isn’t Christianity.

With love,
Your gay neighbor

Originally posted to The Reverend MO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 03:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well said. (14+ / 0-)

    Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and "Judge not lest ye be judged."

    Elsewhere in the Bible it says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    Denying gays and lesbians the right to do business violates these commandments.

    So many books--so little time. Economic Left/Right -7.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -6.97

    by Louisiana 1976 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 03:41:25 PM PDT

  •  I'm approaching "old" (14+ / 0-)

    I turn 65 this summer. And I don't get it. When I was young, I lived in a time and culture that was bigoted and homophobic. It took me a while, but I eventually got over it. I mean, how many times do you have to hear bullshit until it loses its power?

    I was raised nominally "christian". It was a popular thing to do at the time. I guess I even read the bible, but as far as I can tell, it did no permanent harm.

     I think the best growing experience I had was in my 40s; I worked as a self-employed licensed massage therapist, and my clientele was amazingly mixed. Straight, gay, bi, native american, asian, african american, plain old white folk, and quite a few mixtures. You know what? They all had that same spot in their backs, or necks, or wherever, where the tension concentrated. They all worked, studied, loved, feared, and lived. And they were all people. Just people. You can't be that close to that many types, and not realize we have so much in common.

    Pardon my ramble. I'm just saying, I'm glad I moved beyond that crap. I sure hope more people will.

    •  "I was raised nominally "christian". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The grouch

      It was a popular thing to do at the time. I guess I even read the bible, but as far as I can tell, it did no permanent harm."

      This made me chuckle.  I was raised Catholic.  I'm a little younger than you -- a child of the sixties, so I think I avoided a lot of the earlier guilt, sexual repression, hating the protestants and the Jews crap that people who came before me did.  I also had the example of some seriously left-wing Catholics, both on the national stage and in my own parish, before the forces of reaction came along later and forced them out.  I'm female and I ultimately left because of the Church's views on abortion, contraception and the role of women -- my childhood and adolescent feminism saved me form believing all that crap.  Anyway, I think I can safely say, on balance, it did me no permanent harm, either.

  •  They do not believe in their right to religion (9+ / 0-)

    It is a cannard. What they believe in is their right to force their religion on you. And they aren't even trying to  hide it. They are the American Taliban, no one in our mainstream is willing to call it like it is. And once this boogeyman is over (although never fully, it will go the way of racism, just below the surface once society shuns their views), there will justbe another one they create. They needsomeone to villainize.

  •  Hopelessly wrong and wrong-headed. *YOU* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KathleenM1

    cannot and do not define their religion, they do. If it, as they define it includes

    " so-called “right” to shun me, to disgrace me, to make me feel less-than, to ensure I get the message that “my lifestyle is an abomination” "
    then it does.

    The simple fact is that religious liberty extends to beliefs but not to all forms of actions, so there are things they cannot do according to the law, but the bible is irrelevant and no basis for any argument whatsoever.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:11:18 PM PDT

    •  Respectfully disagree with enhyra lutris above (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sajiocity, AJayne, Ahianne

      To the extent they're claiming to be followers of Christ, using their sacred texts is fair game to show their particular religious tradition is not violated by the requirement to treat people with dignity and respect.  

      •  No, because there is no one bible and no one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susanala, KathleenM1

        uniform interpretation thereof and, most importantly, no one uniform definition of "christianity" and/or its relation to said bible. Christianity is a buzzword used by practitioners and purveyors of a multitude of cults, sects, and the like with no necessary nor required agreement as to any doctrine whatsoever. That is a simple fact of the word as it is now and to some extent always has been used.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:58:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris, matador

          the bible they read explicitly states such things as...

          “Love God and Love your neighbor...except gays, blacks and those not sufficiently like yourself

          all the bible says "thou shalt spurn teh gays and the mooslims"

          you just have to put on your bible glasses to see those passages....you have a set of bible glasses dont you? they certainly do.

          Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

          by fauxrs on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:22:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Holy mo;y, love your sig line big time. (0+ / 0-)

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:55:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They don't read the Bible. (0+ / 0-)

            And they certainly won't be reading YOU. You are not o their "approved reading material" list. Not sure facebook is anymore. Several of my Christian friends have suddenly stopped using Facebook. I think some crazy preacherman, somewhere, has decided that satan lurks here.

            •  This post was a venting opportunity (0+ / 0-)

              Of course, I know they won't be reading Daily Kos.  This post was a "boy, I could only get them to hear this" kinda thing.

              And to raise awareness among other readers that the talking point, "That violates my religious liberty" is an empty one.

  •  When you try to use logic and fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne, matador

    i.e. the words in THEIR sacred book, it gets them all confused; they were told to have those feelings but never questioned why, and now they can't even hold a single independent thought.  

    "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

    by sajiocity on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:07:16 PM PDT

  •  In these parts, people repeat what they learn (0+ / 0-)

    in their services and at their private Christian schools. My point being, that it's the leadership teaching these unfortunate prejudices and perpetuating this false sense of discrimination.

    Many cannot delineate between someone not wanting to convert to Christianity or at least their brand of it, as opposed to someone who obviously, verbally hates Christians.

    It's a major disconnect.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:32:16 PM PDT

  •  For the record, the problem isn't Christians. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, JourneyInside, ebohlman, Ahianne

    It's rightwingers. They drag down whatever they touch -- religion, government, etc.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:31:55 PM PDT

  •  No special rights for religion. (0+ / 0-)
    The right to practice your religion freely and to live your life according to your religion’s teaching, well that’s pretty foundational stuff.  And that right should not be infringed upon.
    There's no right for religionists to practice their religion.  They are free to believe whatever they want, just like anyone else, but they are not free to engage in any religious practice that violates the law.
    •  You've misssed my point (0+ / 0-)

      I agree that they are not free to engage in any practice that violates the law.

      The point of my post is this: IF they practiced Christianity according to the Christian texts, they wouldn't experience any "violation" of their faith.  Being kind, generous, respectful -- against such things there is no law.

  •  You're kind enough not to call (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Reverend MO

    people who refused to serve gays based upon "sincere religious beliefs" (I've often wondered how one would prove "sincerity" in a court of law, but I digress) bigots, but I'm not so sure about that.  The reason is that, in the course of business, business owners encounter "sinners" of all kinds.  Does a Bed and  Breakfast that refuses to allow gay couples or lesbian couples to stay there have the same prohibition for unmarried straight couples?  How about couples where one or both partners are remarried (Jesus was pretty clear he frowned upon divorce)?  Do the B and B owners run background checks on everyone to make sure that no one has a record of theft?  Do they question whether their guests have ever committed adultery?  Do they check if their guests treat their parents well?  Do they allow only monotheists to stay at their establishment?  Do they refuse rooms to retail employees, police, EMTs, etc., who most likely work on Sundays?  Do they refuse to allow anyone in the banking industry to stay with them (Jesus was also pretty clear about how sinful moneylenders were)?  I could continue, but the point has been made.  When only one group of "sinners" is excluded from your establishment and you accept all others, you really can't claim what you are doing is based upon your religious beliefs, because you aren't exercising them against anyone else.  It becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that you are just bigoted against gays and lesbians.

    •  Couldn't agree more (0+ / 0-)

      That's very true.  Nevertheless, I wanted to give some people the benefit of the doubt.

      •  I take your point (0+ / 0-)

        but the more I think about it, I probably shouldn't have put, "I've often wondered how one would prove "sincerity" in a court of law" as an aside.  If you excluded a gay or a lesbian couple from your services, and they sued, and you used one of these laws as a shield, just how would you prove your religious sincerity?  You go to church every week?  So do Mafia Dons.  And this is about your bringing your religious practices and ideals into your business.  And if you are saying you refuse to serve an entire group of people based upon your religious rejection of their "sinful lifestyle," don't you have to behave the same way toward everyone living what your sincerely held religious beliefs deem a "sinful lifestyle"?
        In addition to hurting people, these laws would be litigation bombs that the state, after pissing away serious money, would eventually lose.

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