Tuesday, June 13, 2006

At a forum I like to frequent a new term as thrown out, pseudo-Christian. I do love new words. The thread was about that most explosive issue, homosexuality. Of course this term pseudo-Christian was used in the heat of disagreement like any other put down. But are there really pseudo-Christians out there? I think so. Well as my mind got to think I decided to write about my topic today, which is a little bit of both issues, pseudo-Christians and homosexuality.

As I have said before religion is based on faith and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove anyone right or wrong. This is why I dodge a lot of religious arguments because they tend to lead to some very ungodly behavior. That being said I think most faiths tend to come from a place that is good and pure. I bear no malice against mainstream faiths. I believe there is goodness in Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists, Quakers and many other wonderful faiths. There are many pathways to Heaven. However there are not infinite paths. Some religions are bothersome. Scientology is fascinating and all but is it really a religion? It seems from what I am able to understand to be more of method of self-help than a religion. Anything founded by a mediocre science-fiction writer probably isn’t worth worrying about anyway. Well they are a bunch of goofy bastards but that’s another essay. I shall also spare the leader of these so-called mega-churches. You know these slick looking ministers in their big ostentatious monuments to their religion. They may be over the top and have a shaky understanding of religion at times but they’re not that bad.

No if you want find true pseudo-Christians you have to look to Topeka, Kansas and the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church is led by Fred Phelps, who hates homosexuals. The Westboro Baptist Church even has a website called “God hates fags”. I could just sum this up in one little phrase, “God loves, man hates”. But, I know you humble reader expect me to be chattier, so I shall do my best. Phelps goes so far to claim tragedies like Hurricane Katrina were caused by America’s tolerance for homosexuals. Members of his church also protest at the funerals of soldiers who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. They protest there because Phelps and his followers believe the soldiers died because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality. A brief side note, I have protested the war in Iraq many times but I would never protest at a funeral of a fallen soldier. The families and friends of these soldiers deserve their time to heal.

Getting back to Phelps and his followers, I can imagine nothing less Christian than hating in the name of God or Jesus. To understand this a little better let’s examine the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on the issue of homosexuality. As usual I use Catholicism because its what I am so I understand it the best. Roman Catholicism does not condone homosexuality. The Roman Catholic Church does not however preach hatred towards those who commit this act. They regard in the same regard as other sins of the flesh, such as pre-marital sex. The sinner must ask forgiveness but there is never hatred towards the sinner. Hating someone who is a sinner is a most un-Christian thing to do.

Oh by the way, Phelps also hates Catholics with a passion. He took full advantage of the sexual abuse scandal that still hangs shamefully over the church. He claims a third of all priests are gay and they are seducing innocent children and women. Why would a gay man seduce a woman? That seems like a poorly thought out insult. Most of the pathetic shameful venom that Fred Phelps regurgitates is less than well thought out.

Now people like Fred Phelps aren’t big threats. By their own admission, the Westboro Baptist Church has about 100 members and roughly 80% of those are related to Phelps by either blood or marriage. Plus they all live in walled off compound. So I doubt the Westboro Baptists are likely to overrun us all anytime soon. What is troublesome is however is that they know how to draw attention. Their protests have gotten them on the cable news stations on a pretty regular basis lately. Why they bring these people on is totally beyond me. What do they hope to learn? How will this make the world any smarter? Are they that desperate for ratings? I’m not for suppressing these followers of Fred Phelps. It’s a free country to believe whatever you want, no matter how loathsome. But giving these idiots attention just emboldens them. I fear what a truly emboldened Fred Phelps might be hateful enough to attempt.

Enough about Fred Phelps and his doctrine of hatred let me return to my original thoughts. They are many paths to Heaven. Just remember that any church that preaches hatred or intolerance or fear isn’t one worth following. Remember that one of the most important things in the Bible is how we shall be judged. It is not based on how many people we convert or how many sinners we point out. But rather, we will be judged on how we treat the least of God’s children. Don’t homosexuals who are outcast in most cultures and forced to live out their love lives in secrecy for fear of the repercussions among those most in need of kind treatment? I tend to believe so.


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