One of the reasons I have avoided it is because it shouldn't be the huge explosive issue that it is. It just shouldn't. Christians have WAY more important things to be doing. Like loving our neighbors, protecting the vulnerable, and feeding the hungry. This world is full of hurt, and we are called to do God's work in alleviating that hurt, not piling it on further. It's wearying to give this topic even more attention because it has gotten entirely too much already.
But the damage Christians are causing - well, I guess that's ultimately what a blog about coming out of Fundamentalism is really about. Damage. Damage and hate and unkindness and abuse and manipulation. So I can't continue to pretend this isn't an issue forever.
I recently read a news story with the exceptionally silly title of "Tim Tebow Betrays The Christian Right". Silly, because Mr. Tebow was not elected to any position of authority in any religious organization. He is not under any person's or organization's authority either. He is a lone individual - admittedly with a lot of star power - who is just trying to do what he feels deeply is right. He also hasn't been ugly about it as far as I know. (For that, I admire him. Don't always agree with him, but I have always wished him the best.) And "betrays" is an emotionally charged word that feels way out of line here for a guy who doesn't officially represent anyone.
But perhaps that was the writer's point. Showing the impropriety of a group of people who essentially made someone their de facto spokesman and then turned on him when he said something they didn't like.
And what dreadful thing did Mr. Tebow do? He had the audacity to cancel a speaking engagement at a church where the Pastor was known for making strong statements about homosexuality, Muslims, and Mormons, among other things.
Strong is a little too, well, weak of a term. If, for example, an imam said similar things about Christianity that he has said about Islam - no matter now "nice" of a guy he was - many American Christians would be upset and his words would be seen for the harsh rhetoric they are. His words violate the Golden Rule and fly directly in the face of I Timothy 2:23-24*. The Pastor's quote in that news article even seems to put soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) on par with an anti-gay stance. That's a major red flag in my book - because if it wasn't in the Nicene Creed it isn't soteriology-level. No one should dare put it there.
Well, Mr. Tebow decided maybe he didn't want to be associated with that kind of message.
That's a gutsy move. Really gutsy for someone who has that particular unasked-for constituency.
Why didn't he want to be associated with that message? I'm assuming because he understands that Christians are called to love. Called to heal the wounded and support the weak and stand up for the vulnerable. We shouldn't be spending time instead wounding people and trampling them down.
And we certainly shouldn't be spending time angry with or separating from someone who reminds us of that. Just reveals how much politics and how little Christ is involved in the Religious Right.
Did you notice I still didn't get to my topic? Yeah, this is gonna have to have a part two.
*"Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people." (New Living Translation)