WWJD: Who Would Jesus Deny?

It’s always eye-opening to witness Christian “love” in full force.

In Georgia, a homeless shelter ironically called House of Mercy refuses to serve gay people:

… Elder Bobby Harris, who directs House of Mercy… says that his organization simply cannot tolerate homosexuality in any capacity.

“That act is not tolerated here at all. Let me tell you one reason why: because of the bible, of course. And then we have little children,” Harris says. He then added that if a gay person wants to change their sexual orientation and turn their life over to religion, he would consider serving them.

… Harris told the local press that he would welcome “non-practicing gay people,” but even if the residents were to engage in sexual behavior on their own time off the premises, they would be rejected.

We have little children? So what? Does he really believe that gay people will molest them or something? *sigh* No doubt. Well, given his profession, he’s used to believing claims without any evidence…

One of the women kicked out of the shelter did an anonymous interview with a local news station. It’s heartbreaking. And the pastor comes off as bigoted as you would imagine:

As one commenter at ThinkProgress writes, “WWJD: Who Would Jesus Deny?”

I don’t think a petition would get this pastor to change his mind, but if you’d like to sign one asking the House of Mercy to change their discriminatory policies, you can do so here.

(Thanks to Scott for the link)

  • Steve

    They aren’t even gay. They were just perceived to be.

    And of course, the shelter received a substantial amount of government funding:
    http://www.bilerico.com/2011/01/anti-gay_homeless_shelter_receiving_government_fun.php

    Which legally means that they can’t discriminate.

  • Valdyr

    “People have their own agenda when they tell you they need help”? Wow. How did someone with such a cold and cynical outlook become the manager of a homeless shelter? “Elder Bobby” comes off as a real prick in this interview.

  • http://neosnowqueen.wordpress.com/ neosnowqueen

    And how many of the other homeless shelter people, those who come for shelter and those who offer it, are sinning each and every single day?

    Last time I checked the Bible, each and every solitary one of them. What was that about none being righteous? Who are they to throw stones?

    Why are they offering shelter? If it’s to create converts, they’re doing the wrong thing. If it’s to take care of “widows and orphans” because that’s what God tells people to do, what does being gay have to do with anything? What does sin have to do with it when no one can work their way to heaven?

    Shame, shame, shame on that shelter for making one sin greater than all others.

  • cat

    @Steve, unfortunately, queer people are not protected by federal anti-discrimination laws and less than half of states have state level laws, so the tax funding, while making the religious bit more egregious, does not protect queer people from being denied on the basis of our genders or sexualities.

  • http://askanatheist.tv/ pinkocommie

    I’m really happy that women decided to speak out. That man – is a brownie hound.

  • Gibbon

    Once again an example of someone making the mistake of assuming that homosexuality is a matter of who the person has intercourse with when it is in fact a matter of the gender that one is attracted to.

  • Realist

    They use badly translated bible scripture to promote hate mongering. It is my understanding that the original writings were … “A man should not lay with another man UNDER THE AGE OF 13 like he lays with a woman”. It was an attempt to temper pedophilia which was rampant at the time. Further proof is that the bible mentioned that the molesting of children (an OLDER man with a YOUNG boy) an abomination. If only the christians would learn the original meanings!

  • Lai

    Ugh, I don’t like that pastor’s smarmy smile whilst he’s trying to justify himself.

  • Robert W.

    As one of the Christians who posts here I disagree with this shelter’s actions. They should not deny food and shelter to those in need. Controlling behavior in their facility yes, denying them Christian charity no.

  • L.Long

    The guy is a BS arse-hole and an idiot.
    Being gay was an excuse for some reason.
    Because I DEFY him or anyone who can find where it says gays are against g0d!

    The leviticus thing is not correct..think about it.

    Also where it say abortion is wrong.

  • Richard P.

    Why are they offering shelter? If it’s to create converts, they’re doing the wrong thing. If it’s to take care of “widows and orphans” because that’s what God tells people to do, what does being gay have to do with anything? What does sin have to do with it when no one can work their way to heaven?

    Ah! you know. Christian just anther word for hypocrite.

  • Richard Wade

    For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

  • Angel

    The moment I saw his smug face, I had to walk away from my computer.

    I’ve known some disgusting humans before, but this guy is near the top of that scum pile.

  • Nick

    Sometimes it’s hard to explain why I get upset about religious run charities or social programs. This is exactly why.

    It’s not just that they throw people out of the street for reasons like this, but because of them there is one less real shelter that can actually help these people. The same is true for hospitals.

  • Diqui

    Reminds of a Simpson’s episode where the Rescue Mission homeless shelter had a sign above the door that read, “We add God to your Misery.”

  • Rieux

    Guh. Have to agree with the general upshot of this (the administrators in the OP are choads), but I wish we wouldn’t do an uneven mythical character’s PR for him, or for his fans. Are we to think it’s somehow clear that the Gospels’ Jesus wouldn’t toss undesirable people out into the cold?

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
    - Jesus, in Luke 19:27

    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
    - Jesus, in John 15:6

    But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    - Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12

    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
    - Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42

    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.
    - Jesus, in Matthew 25:41, 46

    And that servant [slave], which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
    – Jesus, in Luke 12:47

    And from thence [Jesus] arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

    But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

    And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

    And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
    - Mark 7:24-30 (italics added)

    So right there we’ve got Jesus promising genocide; shrieking that his enemies are doomed to hellfire and brimstone (and he does that many, many, many more times in the Gospels than you see above); condoning slavery (and indeed the brutal beating of slaves); and finally harboring deep racist resentment, under which Syrophenician Greeks are “dogs” unworthy of healing. It seems to me that throwing a few innocent (perceivedly) queer folks out on their rear ends, while a nasty and hateful thing to do, pales in comparison to most of that.

    So who would Jesus deny? Anyone he damn well pleases. It’s not as if that character is a trustworthy moral exemplar in any particular respect. I wish atheists would stop implying otherwise.

  • Rieux

    Realist (…?):

    They use badly translated bible scripture to promote hate mongering. It is my understanding that the original writings were … “A man should not lay with another man UNDER THE AGE OF 13 like he lays with a woman”.

    You are mistaken.

    Liberal Christians strain mightily to figure out some kind of textual loophole through which to deny the Bible’s consistent homophobia. The disingenuous misdirection and obscurantism get a bit tiring.

    There’s nothing wrong with gay love or gay sex (or at least nothing that’s not also wrong with other varieties of same). There is, by contrast, a whole hell of a lot wrong with the Bible. Fundamentalists use the book “to promote hate mongering” because it contains an abundance of hateful material to put to use; the Bible happens to be well suited to just such an endeavor.

    Pretending that the Bible doesn’t contain serious homophobia is just refusing to take seriously one important form of ugliness in the book.

  • AxeGrrl

    neosnowqueen wrote:

    And how many of the other homeless shelter people, those who come for shelter and those who offer it, are sinning each and every single day?

    Oh man, that comment is bang on.

    Why? because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians say that they believe that homosexuality is just a sin like any other.

    This guy apparently feels otherwise.

    Robert W.,it’s heartening to see you take a stand for the idea that Christian charity should apply to all.

  • Greg

    Realist:

    They use badly translated bible scripture to promote hate mongering. It is my understanding that the original writings were … “A man should not lay with another man UNDER THE AGE OF 13 like he lays with a woman”. It was an attempt to temper pedophilia which was rampant at the time. Further proof is that the bible mentioned that the molesting of children (an OLDER man with a YOUNG boy) an abomination. If only the christians would learn the original meanings!

    So you’re saying the Bible says heterosexual paedophilia is just fine?

    Sorry – even granting your claim that it was wrongly translated (which I don’t), it would still be just as homophobic.

  • TWalker

    “This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God’s eyes.” –Ezekiel 16:48-49 IOW, Sodom was not destroyed due to homosexuality, but due to refusing to care for the poor. The irony here is palpable.

  • Togii

    I like how right at the very end, the newscaster adds that no couples are allowed to live there at all, unless they’ve been married “at least 2-3 years”. Was that suppose to make them look better? Ban homosexuals from getting married, and then kick ‘em out because they’re not married.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    @Rieux (1/22/11 1:27 am):

    One caveat re: the Luke 19:27 quote. Those words are actually part of the Parable of the Talents (Lk 19:12-27) and are said by a character in the parable, a nobleman-become-king. The reference to killing people who hadn’t wanted the man to be king, reflects back to an earlier verse in the parable (Lk 19:14). They are, in short, the words of a fictional character.

    Whether or not the character’s words reflected Jesus’ own thoughts is certainly open to debate, but one cannot just automatically assume this to be the case.

  • Kayla

    Tax payer money used to discriminate — wow!

    Way to show the world that Christ is love.

  • Aquavid

    This story absolutely demonstrates that denying someone rights based on their sexual orientation undermines the basic human rights of all. You don’t even have to be gay to have your rights trounced by others, you merely need to be perceived to be gay by someone else. This is sickening.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    It was interesting reading reading both Richard’s and Rieux’s scripture quotes. Jesus has two messages.
    1. People should treat EVERYBODY well in THIS life.
    2. Jesus will severely discriminate (infinitely discriminate) in an afterlife.

    It appears that Christians that share Elder Bobby Harris’s attitudes are confusing Jesus’ 2nd message as a call to action of what they should do in THIS life. I guess the temptation to “play God” as scripture characterizes His behavior in the afterlife is just too great for some.

  • Rieux

    Oh, please, PsiCop:

    One caveat re: the Luke 19:27 quote. Those words are actually part of the Parable of the Talents (Lk 19:12-27) and are said by a character in the parable, a nobleman-become-king. The reference to killing people who hadn’t wanted the man to be king, reflects back to an earlier verse in the parable (Lk 19:14). They are, in short, the words of a fictional character.

    First, there is, of course, a very significant likelihood that Jesus, too, is “a fictional character,” rendering that last point rather empty. But that’s an aside.

    As anyone who reads that chapter of Luke (as well as the Matthew version, Matthew 25:13-30) can see, the tyrannical nobleman is no mere “fictional character”; he very obviously represents Jesus himself in that parable. The story is blatantly a forecast of the Second Coming, when Jesus returns to reward his faithful servants and annihilate his enemies (i.e., Jews, ex-Christian apostates, and/or all unbelievers).

    (I’ve had to strip almost all the links out of this comment and re-post it because I’m afraid the links got the previous version caught in Hemant’s spam filter. Sorry for the double post if/when Hemant releases the original.)

    The overwhelming majority of interpreters of the Bible—Christian and non-Christian alike—recognize the obvious symbolism of the Luke 19:12-27 parable. For example:

    It is not difficult to understand the story thus far, nor is it difficult to see its meaning with reference to Jesus, His “departure,” His rejection, and His return. Like the nobleman, Jesus came to the earth with great position and power. Like the nobleman, Jesus’ power greatly increased as a result of His departure. Jesus was rejected by men, hung on a cross, put to death, buried, raised, and then ascended to heaven, where He now is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus’ power is now even greater than it was when He first came to the earth (cf. Philippians 2:9-11). His return to reign over His people, His citizens has been delayed (from our human perspective), but He will surely come.

    – bible.org

    The end of the wicked servant emphasises the importance of having a balanced knowledge and appreciation of the ways and character of both Jesus Christ, the nobleman soon to return, and also his Heavenly Father, from whom Jesus receives the kingdom.
    – biblelight.org

    ” (22) He said to him, By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know [perceive or think] that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? (23) Then why did you not put the money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?”
    In other words, Jesus said, if your perception of Me was that I was a tyrant and a thief, then why did you not increase my money with usury? Why did you just put it in a handkerchief where it would do nothing?

    – gods-kingdom-ministries.org

    [Luke 19:]27. bring hither, &c.—(Compare 1Sa 15:32, 33). Referring to the awful destruction of Jerusalem, but pointing to the final destruction of all that are found in open rebellion against Christ.
    – bible.logos.com

    As is plainly stated, the parable was in response to those who thought that the Kingdom of God was going to be established by the coming of the Messiah then. He explained that it was not, but that He first had to go away to “receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”
    While the nobleman was away however, some of his subjects rejected him – a condition that is as prevalent today in Christ-rejecting Jews as it is with Christ-rejecting “Christians.”

    – keyway.ca

    ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE
    The nobleman = Jesus Christ our Lord
    His going into the far country = his ascension to God in heaven

    – searchgodsword.org

    Do you see the three parties involved? The nobleman (Christ), his servants (those committed to serving Him), and the citizens (the Jewish nation as a whole). [...] Jesus Christ was about to go away to return later for judgment. His hearers would recall this story.
    – bibleexplained.com

    The nobleman owned the money, but the servants had to trade with it. However, the goal contemplated by the nobleman was not moneymaking as much it was His servants’ development of character. Those who are diligent and faithful in serving Christ are commonly blessed in being made blessings to those around them. Jesus commands His disciples to improve and increase their talents, understanding and making the most of them, as well as to increase their capability of doing good and to do it until He returns.
    – “Forerunner Commentary,” bibletools.org

    Burton Coffman (Luke, p. 376) lists the following analogies:
    Nobleman — Jesus Christ.
    Far Country — Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
    Receiving a kingdom — reigning over the church.

    - biblestudyworkshop.com

    The nobleman about whom Jesus speaks in the Parable of the Pounds is the Lord Jesus himself. He has been exalted as King and will return in glory — soon, I believe. And you and I, my brothers and sisters, are the servants who have each received something to work with, to trade with, to bring some return on investment.
    – jesuswalk.com

    There are hundreds upon hundreds more of these honest (though also brutal) Christian analyses; plenty of Christians have no problem admitting that the Luke 19 “nobleman” is Jesus, because that’s precisely the equivalence Jesus blatantly intended.

    Not so surprisingly, commentators who are critical of Christianity recognize the same thing:

    In the total imagery of Jesus’ parable, found in Luke 19:11-27, Jesus was the nobleman who becomes the king. As his parable was directed toward the Jewish people who constituted his audience (verses 1-9), these enemy-citizens represent the Jews who reject Jesus as king. In verse 14, they were called citizens; in verse 27, through their rebellious refusal to accept the nobleman’s kingship, they are now considered enemies. Therefore, Jesus (the king in the parable) decrees a time of judgment on the unfaithful and disobedient. Echoing the warning of the Matthean Jesus, “He who is not with me is against me . . .” (Matthew 12:30), the Lucan Jesus demands of his followers that those who reject his rule be destroyed before him: “But those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and slay them in my presence.”
    The intent of Jesus’ words was not lost on subsequent generations of his followers. Christians could not but interpret this parable as a call for judgment upon the Jewish people for rejecting Jesus. This was made all the more poignant as this commandment came from Jesus himself. The destruction to be carried out upon those who refuse to accept Jesus is the bloody commission, the sanction for slaughter of all who refuse the cross.

    – jewsforjudaism.org

    The Parable of the Ten Pounds aims to teach a lesson about disobeying your “Nobleman” (no doubt the author of Luke meant to put Jesus as the nobleman). Believers can replace “servants” with themselves or someone else, but what could they possibly replace for the conclusion of the lesson: “slay them before me”?
    – nobeliefs.com

    It was really hard to stay on Jesus’ side when he started saying really aggressive, just hateful things. Like in Luke, Chapter 19, Jesus says that he is like a King who says, “Anyone who does not recognize me, bring them here and slaughter them before me.”

    – Julia Sweeney, “Letting Go of God”

    So enough with that “caveat.” Any fan of the Bible who tries to tell you that Jesus’ command, in Luke 19:27, to commit genocide is somehow less real because it’s in a parable is selling you a bill of goods. Jesus (the Gospel character) does say that, and in the parable it’s his own avatar who orders the mass murder. Jesus is saying something very serious and bloody about his own prophesied Second Coming; in practice, the “caveat” in question is just a dishonest tactic his fans use to pretend he’s not saying anything of the kind.

  • Vystrix Nexoth

    Maybe people who come seeking help do have their own agendas. So what? Help them anyway, and let God sort them out.

    Selective mercy is not mercy.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    @Rieux:

    Allow me to be clear: No one “told me” anything about Lk 19:27. I read it myself and saw that it was a story told in a parable. I reached that conclusion all by myself and was not manipulated into arriving at it by anyone.

    I am, BTW, no Christian at all and am not defending Christians. I’m merely pointing out that you made a bad choice of a verse to use against them.

    BTW nothing you said in your response to me does the slightest thing to change the fact that the verse is spoken by a fictional character in a parable and does not automatically represent Jesus’ own thinking. That you THINK it does, and are ordering me to agree with you, does not make it so.

    Oh, and telling me what conclusion I must reach about a Bible passage is a common fundamentalist Christian tactic, you know. They make the mistake of confusing subjective interpretation with objective reality. I don’t fall for it when they pull that stunt, and am not going to fall for it when anyone else does it, either.

  • drowsypoppy

    Oh, just what women fleeing abusive relationships need… another egomaniac who lords the power to turn them out on the streets over them to control their every movement, including stalking them during the day. Calling the women who don’t stick with the marriage arrangement ‘lesbians’ is just the icing on the cake.

  • Rieux

    PsiCop:

    I read it myself and saw that it was a story told in a parable.

    Good for you. How you missed the obvious point of that parable I don’t understand.

    I am, BTW, no Christian at all and am not defending Christians.

    I neither said nor presumed that you are a Christian. You are, however, defending Jesus (the Gospel character). And your defense is thoughtless and disingenuous; it collapses in light of what is actually going on in Luke 19. And the overwhelming consensus of interpreters of that passage—Christian and non-Christian alike—recognize that.

    I’m merely pointing out that you made a bad choice of a verse to use against them.

    Bull. That parable means something. “It’s just a parable” is a thoughtless, indeed mindless, response to the nasty fact that Jesus promises in Luke 19:27 to order genocide. He does. Placing the promise in the mouth of a character who very clearly represents him does not actually separate Jesus from the threat—though you pretend it does, for reasons you don’t bother to explain.

    “Parable parable parable!” is not actually a defense of Luke 19:27. Parables mean things, and Jesus very clearly means what he says in that verse. It appears that you have no interest in actually thinking about the matter; in any case, you have demonstrated no such interest.

    nothing you said in your response to me does the slightest thing to change the fact that the verse is spoken by a fictional character in a parable….

    Again, I have no idea why you’re fixating on this “fictional character” nonsense. As I said (and you ignored), Jesus is a largely if not entirely fictional character himself. Your continuing emphasis of that issue, as if it does anything to distinguish anything, suggests that you’re not actually interested in an honest interpretation of the text.

    the verse … does not automatically represent Jesus’ own thinking.

    WTF is “automatically” supposed to mean? Again, this story (Luke’s story) is a myth. Nothing “automatically” means anything. But some of us are interested in honestly interpreting that myth—figuring out what it is actually supposed to mean.

    That you THINK it does, and are ordering me to agree with you, does not make it so.

    Oh, get over yourself. No one is “ordering [you] to agree with” anything. You are welcome to believe any nonsense you’d like, just like the creationists, climate change deniers, and assorted woo believers who let out that same whine when someone horridly dares to confront them with facts.

    I have pointed to the actual text of Luke chapter 19, not to anything I randomly “THINK” about it. In turn, you are welcome to ignore the actual Luke 19, and what it very obviously shows, all you’d like. Some of us, by contrast, are willing to face up to it. (And—as I just showed—a lot of those “some” are Christians, for better and for worse.)

    You have decided to make up your own imaginary Luke 19 instead of dealing with the real one. That’s neither my problem nor my concern.

    Oh, and telling me what conclusion I must reach about a Bible passage is a common fundamentalist Christian tactic, you know.

    Oooh… how scary! Well, the first time I tell you what conclusion you must reach about anything, that might matter.

    In the meantime: as I said, you’re welcome to believe whatever nonsense you’d like. It just doesn’t change the nature of the reality you have decided to ignore.

    More to the point, it doesn’t change the nature of the reality you have decided to try to mislead the readers of this blog about. You tried, and I rebutted that attempt. Whine all you want; Luke 19:27 remains a nasty blot on the Gospels’ Jesus’ record regardless.

    The intent of Jesus’ words was not lost on subsequent generations of his followers. Christians could not but interpret this parable as a call for judgment upon the Jewish people for rejecting Jesus. This was made all the more poignant as this commandment came from Jesus himself. The destruction to be carried out upon those who refuse to accept Jesus is the bloody commission, the sanction for slaughter of all who refuse the cross.

    jewsforjudaism.org

  • C H

    I never knew Jesus was a Jedi! Obiwan, no less.

    @Rieux via bible.org:

    Jesus was rejected by men, hung on a cross, put to death, buried, raised, and then ascended to heaven, where He now is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus’ power is now even greater than it was when He first came to the earth (cf. Philippians 2:9-11).

  • Rieux

    C.H.: Yeah; I doubt that Pontius Pilate (who probably sounded like James Earl Jones anyway) realized that it was a bad idea to slash Jesus with that light saber.

    I also don’t understand where bible.org gets this notion that “Jesus’ power is now even greater,” in light of the Trinity. Hasn’t Jesus always been one and the same with God, and thus omnipotent?

  • Michael Rogers

    I’m blown away by all of these people living their lives so stubbornly by different interpretations of an ancient text about a person who may have lived thousands of years ago – it’s all so incredibly bizzare! In the same way that many people in power subscribe to these same strange belief systems, but at the same time seem to be able to pervert them at will (making war and killing and extreme wealth and poverty side by side all seem perfectly OK). I guess with this guy the compassionate approach would be to say that he clearly has his own issues and emotional scars probably going back to his childhood but at the same time, though it is right that people are allowed to think what they want, getting public money to run a service when you are that unwell and being allowed to discriminate in your service delivery is plain wrong.


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