When evil is serious, it reaches for a Bible and cross

Due to what is happening in North Carolina I am today relentlessly listless, free-falling into the cold, bottomless loneliness that always comes when I’m forced to witness evil edging ahead of righteousness.

And evil is not too strong a word for what is happening in NC. It’s evil that Amendment One is even on the ballot. And it’s the very apogee of evil that the great majority of those supporting and pushing for its passage have done so in the name of Jesus Christ—the unequaled champion of the unfairly oppressed, the hero of the maligned, the savior of all who are unjustly persecuted.

What better disguise for evil than Jesus Christ? It’s not like evil is ever going to show up as itself; it knows doing so will guarantee no one asks it to dance. Before beginning its rounds, evil always takes care to wrap itself in the warm, soft cloak of humble piety, sincere compassion, utmost concern.

And when it has serious work to do—when it’s on a mission, and will not be satisfied until blood is on the ground—evil knows that, on its way out the door, it cannot go wrong grabbing a Bible and a cross.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Stephen McBride

    I DO like your title. Very true though. Thank God this sort of thing doesn’t happen in the UK Parliament – though our Coalition government, who are too right wing for my liking are looking like NOT trying to put gay marriage onto the statute books after promising to do so at the last General Election.

  • SquirrelyGirl

    No truer words ever spoken….

  • http://www.facebook.com/nwbuckeye Pat Hux via Facebook

    if it passes, take the sword of the Lord like Gideon and keep going… all the way to the u.s. supreme court….

  • http://www.facebook.com/fritz.keppler Fritz Keppler via Facebook

    And a flag.

    • mike moore

      too true.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I hear rainbow flags will be in soon.

      Those are far more Christian, if you ask me, since the rainbow is the sign, ordained by God, of the covenant He made with Noah and all his descendants (in fact, even the animals too are party to it), and so with every man, woman, and child in the world today, regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of sexual orientation.

      For truly, whensoever it pleases God that he should reveal the rainbow banner, all are to be united beneath it—all we who dwell upon the face of the earth below, all as one. So it is, and so be it!

  • Chris Starfire via Facebook

    thank you for speaking out about it, and thank you for being blunt about it. <3

  • Connie

    It breaks my heart every time I see so-called Christians using the Bible and cross as a sword and shield. They’ve missed the point and relish their victory over the rest of us, and I wonder why we the normal folk aren’t yelling and screaming louder in protest.

    Perhaps because we believe that such noisy chaos solves nothing when the words fall on deaf ears.

    Perhaps because we are in denial over their encroaching grasp stealing away our rights as women, as poor, as minority, as non-Christians (not to be confused with their very obvious lack of Christ-like behavior).

    Whatever the reason, we need to wake up, step out of their shadow and take back this country. We need to understand that our voice is just as loud, if not louder, than theirs, bc our arguments are backed by logic, science and sanity, not the fearmongering they’re cultivating in the fallow fields of the average citizen’s brain. We can beat them, but we have to band together first.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Well, the cross *is* an execution device. And the Word of God is as double-edged sword, only sharper.

      Plus, this country was never really ever “ours”.

      Only it will be. It surely will be.

      Yet, indeed, banding together is where our weakness lies. It is well known that people will unite against a common fear, yes, but we who, deep down, know that we have nothing to fear—we are fragmented.

      Perhaps, however, we really do have something to fear: fear itself.

      Perhaps in being tolerant of intolerance, we are complicit in a most wicked perversion.

      Such are demons of the Satan against whom we must unite: For as is well known in political and sociological terms, people are far more easily rally against a common devil than they will in support of a common god.

      Well, we truly do know our God (under whatever names we may recognize Him/Her/Them/None-of-the-above: The point is, we all realize a single ideal of that which is Just and True and Good and So on)—or at least, such is my hope and my faith—but what we perhaps too readily forget is that all else, therefore—all which works against our God—is our Satan. (And this is part of why I’m not so sure we should be so much quicker to lose the hellfire than our adversary certainly is.)

  • Melody

    As Jesus said, the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. He also had some words for those who cry “Lord, Lord” and do anything in Jesus’ name, but do nothing to help the oppressed. I don’t know if I believe there’s a hell in the traditional sense, but I believe the monsters pushing this amendment create hell right here on earth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson via Facebook

    seems too perverse to “like” this item, but as another native of N.C. who is very disappointed in the proceedings, well said.

  • Gail

    The Bible, the Koran……Jesus, Allah….all ripe for the picking. They are stealing Jesus from the rest of us….don’t let them….

  • Chera Spicer Taylor via Facebook

    Outstanding!

  • Allie

    Don’t want to pat myself on the back, but I did a thing, and it worked, so I thought I’d pass it along in case some other people wanted to do a thing.

    There’s a lady who works as a cashier in our grocery store who is a friend of mine. She’s everybody’s friend, you probably know someone just like her, a person in a service job who really goes out of her way to brighten other people’s lives. She talks to a LOT of people over the course of a day, and is hugely popular – I’ve seen literal waiting lines of half a dozen people who have already finished checking out and are remaining in the store to talk to her when she gets a minute. She wears a button with a motto which identifies her as a Christian, and if you show interest she’s happy to talk about her faith, and she seems like a genuinely good person. But she’s also conservative and traditional and I know the church she attends and that they do things like take out full-page ads in the local paper about how America is doomed because of its tolerance of gay people.

    So, anyway, I talked to her today about a coworker of mine who is gay and married and has a little boy, and how this amendment would take away the rights of people like him to be with his family, and what a shame that was. The thing I did was just to talk as if I assumed she was on the same side I was, as if it was obvious that all good people would feel that way and since I knew she was a good person, she would share my opinion. And this worked. She wasn’t aware of what was going on before we discussed it and I don’t know that she’s ever before thought twice about fighting her church on this subject, in fact I would lay odds that just asked cold, she would say gay people are going to hell because that’s what she’s always heard. But she knows I’m a Christian and we swap names for our prayer list on a regular basis, and today she agreed to pray for all the good people in NC being hurt by this. Peer pressure is a potent thing.

    Now, maybe she shook her head and said, wow, what a crazy lady, the moment I left. But I doubt it. Because one on one and apart from her church members she was too polite and neighborly to argue with me, she ended up looking at stuff from a new perspective, and I think that’s likely to last. And if she and her incredible powers of talking to everyone in the world decide to talk about this injustice, that can’t hurt either.

    So, anyway, small victory, the only kind I can manage.

    • Lymis

      Wonderful. Those are the kinds of things that add up to huge change. Thank you.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      That seems like a very wise approach!

      It’s good when the forces of good share battle tactics like this, for we all know the forces of evil are plotting their next moves even as we speak—not that they’ll be able to get very far in the end, or.. well.. that they’ll even exist in the end (for the just, time, entropy and death are on our side: The power and dominion of death trample down only that which itself brings death, and in the same spirit as we sow, so shall we, if grimly, reap).

      Thanks, Allie!

      I wonder: Does anyone else have any clever ideas to share, that can be applied in everyday life towards the ends of undoing the world over (and doing indeed the opposite of) such things as are being done in North Carolina today?

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        I find that profoundly sad… the whole “winning by entrophy” thing. I mean, it is the truth – oftentimes social changes do not happen until most members of “the old guard” get old and die, but it’s just a sad thought, you know?

        It makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong… I go through life trying to do the best I can (not good enough for anyone, really), and as much as I have had attitudes that have changed… maybe there’s something I’m doing or believe in that future generations will find abhorrent, and they’ll just be waiting for me to die.

        I don’t see death as a victory, since, in the end, it happens to us all.

        It would be nice if people could continually change for the better, but that’s not the way life works. *Sigh.*

        • Matthew Tweedell

          But that is the way life works! Death is really just another change. Think of it as a change in body. Some people call it resurrection, some people call it reincarnation, and some people just don’t get it. But it’s real.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

          I don’t understand the concept of death as a victory either Shadsie. Maybe because we know so little of what occurs to our consciousness afterwards. I don’t care what people assume, what has been supposed in texts throughout the centuries, what religion tells us, it is all a guess.

          That being said, I’d rather my life to be victorious and to see that in the lives of others. If I can help along with that, then even better. My death will merely be the end of my life, and the final respite from the cares and pains of that life.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            “Maybe because we know so little of what occurs to our consciousness afterwards.”

            What do you mean? We know quite well what happens, sdgalloway.

            Consciousness is not so much a thing as an emergent phenomenon. When people “lose consciousness”, it’s not that they’ve misplaced it or that it went anywhere. This is simply a figure of speech. It really just ceases to be, that’s all. And it can be observed through brainwave activity that this is one of the things which universally occurs no later than the moment a person enters into his/her final repose.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Actually, we don’t. People have a hard time even *defining* things like conciousness, or the soul. There have been conciousness studies I’ve heard about with some folks suggesting (even an anestesialogist on some science program I saw) that conciousness is a more complex thing than just the brain and that it might actually exist seperate from it. Then there are the near-death experience people.

            It’s all in speculative-phases, of course, something that mainstream science isn’t inclined to deal with as this kind of thing is subjective, outside the material and skirts far too close to “religion” for most.

            I was put under for dental surgery once. Time just didn’t exist for me. The only “darkness” I saw was behind my eyelids as I was drifting off and coming to. I’m set to have an endoscopy on my stomach later this month – I’ll let you know if anything weird happens. All I know is that the last time, if I “died” I sure didn’t know it. “Eternity” was drifting off sleepily as that’s what I last perecived.

            I really hope there’s something more when death is real and permenant, though…

            Since we’re getting off-topic, my point about not seeing the victory in death is that… Whether there’s Heaven, reincarnation, “hello darkness, my old friend” or whatever, the lives that we have now matter and I always think it’s sad when one ceases to change and grow for the better when and where we are – when the only hope for change in the world is watching the old go to their graves rather than watching change happen *in them.*

            I feel something… distrubingly vulture-like… in “waiting for certain people to die off.” It’s almost a gentle genocide, where one doesn’t get one’s hands dirty, but neither is there hope for those dying off to become better people.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Right here—“the lives that we have now matter and I always think it’s sad when one ceases to change and grow for the better when and where we are”—I agree with you 100%! Seriously, could not agree with you more. The lives we, as individuals, have now are ALL that matter for us now as individuals. That’s why I think it important that we be clear on that fact, and not concern ourselves much with nonsensical speculations that there’s any more eternal or higher or whatever reality than the one we’re glued to.

            So I am *not* suggesting “waiting for certain people to die off.” First, I wasn’t even talking about people really, but spirits. But moreover, let us not just wait! For there really is no inevitability about it: though I am entirely confident we will accomplish these things, they surely do not just happen on their own!

            Now, just because we may not have agreement on the exact details of a definition, unless we’re disputing the application of the given label to some particular instance, this doesn’t prevent us from observing some important general principles regarding a given phenomenon.

            Yes, consciousness *is* more complex than *just* the brain! But individual consciousness clearly *is* seated *in* the brain! A trauma which sufficiently affects the brain (whether directly, or through blood loss, or through inducing a psychological reaction), and only such a trauma, can result in a person’s loss of consciousness.

            You say, “Time just didn’t exist for me.”

            But I think, if it didn’t exist for you, then when did you ever come to?

            You just lost—by which I mean that there did not exist in you—consciousness of time’s passage for a time. That’s all there is to it.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            It’s kind of a mystery, really. I wonder just how it’s all turned “on” and “off” – from what I’ve heard, people who do anesthesia aren’t entirely sure of how it works – they know it works and how much per volume/weight to give a person. And even that gets messed up sometimes with the well-documented but thankfully rare phenomenon of people waking up, fully concious but paralyzed during surgery. *Shudder.*

            On my blog right now, I just posted a speculative fiction idea all about a world where people’s “souls” aren’t in their brains, but in their blood and a way has been found to regulate emotions through a specific kind of artificial heart. (This is not a medically accurate idea at all, it’s a fantasy). The basic idea is to play around with the questions this presents… somewhat based upon my experience with regulating emotions with psychatric medication.

            Then, I also have a few anime recommendations for you if you’re interested in exploring these kind of questions in fiction. ( “KAIBA” probably being the most trippy, yet smart existential-type story I’ve run into).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            While the seat of reason is the mind, I think most people mean more than this when they speak of a person’s “soul”. As you’ve indicated, our emotions are entangled with our soul as well, and these are not necessarily of the brain (though the brain is the organ with which we sense them and is the head of our response to them). In fact (kind of like in your fiction) we have adrenal glands in our gut that can be triggered reflexively to release the hormone adrenaline into our blood, and this we “feel” as nervousness (mixed with and/or amplified by whatever other feelings we might have at the moment of its release), and that is just one example.

      • Lymis

        The one clever idea that most people seem to overlook is to actually contact you elected representatives at the state and national level and tell them how you feel. Write an actual letter or make an actual phone call to their office. Force a human being (it won’t be the politician) to interact. Say you are straight, and Christian, and that you vote, and that this issue is important enough to affect your vote.

        Nationally, support for gay marriage is over 50%, and support for other gary rights, like job protections, is well over 60%. Obviously, it varies by location. But politicians are most definitely watching, and you can’t run for dogcatcher without having a stated opinion on gay rights. Up until now, being for gay rights would guaranteed losing votes, while being neutral or hostile to gay rights was unlikely to cost someone. We need to make it clear that those days are over.

        Another thing you can do, heading toward November, is ask anyone who expresses support for progressive causes if they intend to vote, and if they say no, then tell them you are disappointed or ashamed of them.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          These are good, Lymis!

          I know that some elected officials are so entrenched in their current positions that your first suggestion would not seem very likely at all to have any real effect, but I think it’s a really good idea with all the many legislators who have been able to avoid taking any real, solid stand on such issues if they start getting the message from their electorate today as to what we’ll expect their stand to be when the time comes (and that we expect that time to come quickly)!

          Thanks, Lymis!

        • DR

          Thanks for this.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Sharing personal stories is also quite effective, from what I understand. (For instance, there’s this which caught my attention today: http://youtu.be/pR9gyloyOjM)

    • Dave Bowling

      I think what you did (and also sharing this with us) is wonderful. More power to you (and us all) as you find ways to work around folk’s preconceived ideas and notions about others. Until one has walked a mile in his shoes …

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I am a huge believer in “change by increment” and “heroism by increment.”

      I wrote an entire fiction novel about the subject. It needs some major re-editing, but as the last draft of it stands, it’s just over 100K. Fantasy world, though – about something I believe happens all the time in the real one.

  • Tracy Smith via Facebook

    I’m afraid the stupid people will likely win in NC

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.jones.3348 Natalie Jones via Facebook

    Even The Devil can quote scripture when it suits his needs.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Isn’t it.. different.. when we can use their own cliches for once against them like this! :)

      (I would say “nice”, but considering the circumstances… :( )

  • Earl Dunbar

    Next they’ll come after me … I’m a Buddhist. Gotta love the land of the free.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Oh, no! Not Buddhists! No.. serenity is wickedness. Enlightenment = bad. Darkness = good. No enlightenment!!! What is it? Are you afraid of the dark? Well I ain’t afraid of nothing. No, sir! But your idolatry is the work of the Devil! So you can take your gay-loving, commie, peacenik, tree-hugging Buddha someplace else, alright, mister? Our God is the Lord!!! George Washington and the penny in my right pocket say so! It sure was good enough for our slave-owning forefathers, and it’ll sure be good enough for me! So enjoy attaining nothingness, Buddhist! I’m going to Heaven, where I’ll have 72 virgins waiting for m—no, wait, that ain’t it: Dang, it’s just so easy to confuse which sort of ignorance you’ve got when you’re just so all-around ignorant!

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

    I live just over the NC border. I took a quick peek at three county precincts near where I used to live. Apparently, according to the Asheville NC, station, Amendment one passed, which is sadly, not a surprise. I suspect a long and expensive slog through the courts over this one, and it will just get uglier.

    I find it quite depressing.

    • Melody

      Depressing indeed, but not surprising, sadly. As long as ignorance rules, there will be travesties like this. We must continue to fight this kind of ignorance until it dies.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Amen, Melody!

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    The likely passage of NC’s amendment One leaves me feeling emotionally exhausted and completely ambivalent about the future of humanity. Its so damned depressing to see narrow minded assholes carry the day. I need a recharge.

  • Cathy Elings-Sysel via Facebook

    Amen!

  • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

    [Exceptionally obnoxious passive-aggressiveness deleted]

    • Melody

      If only it were easier done than said. I think righteous anger is justified in these situations.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Anger is not incompatible with love. But guard that your anger does not turn into hate.

        • Melody

          Not now, Matthew.

          God is love, and yet showed anger. Jesus was righteously angry with the religious leaders who trampled on those below them. Anger is in order here, because injustice has been done. Anyone with justice in mind has the right to be angry, and it isn’t sinful.

        • Melody

          I reread your comment and saw “incompatible” instead of “compatible” this time. But I stand by what I said, to anyone who would say otherwise (like Lawrence earlier).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            ;)

          • DR

            I agree. Any moralizing or preaching today is just gross. It’s just gross.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Give it a freakin’ rest, Allen.

      • DR

        Thank you. The moralist and preaching from the mind your tone amd just smile smile smile police is too much today.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Ok, you’re under arrest, lady! :mrgreen: :razz: :mrgreen:

          Come on, it’s not like it’s a funeral! It’s really pretty meaningless. Just another public opinion poll, and this is just the way the public opinion has been in North Carolina for some time now.

          But speaking of funerals, in all likelihood, over 15,000—that’s right, more than fifteen thousand—children (CHILDREN!) died of starvation (one of the worst deaths imaginable!) today (including conditions to which starvation/malnutrition was likely a contributing factor) because of our greed, because of our self-centeredness!

          But it’s not like that doesn’t happen *every* day, so.. carry on then!

          • DR

            You’re minimizing how people feel today and it’s so shockingly inappropriate that there’s really nothing left to say. I think you’re a dick for posting this and it shows a total insensitivity to what people are experiencing. I don’t care if that hurts your feelings. This isn’t about you.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            So why do you make it about me, DR?

            I do not mean to minimize how anyone feels. But do you?

            Indeed, if we’re going to talk about me, let’s talk about you.

            I do believe it’s inaccurate how you’ve minimized my feelings here.

            And what would you have expected from me? That I maximize them? They’re unhealthy enough as it is.

            Now, all you are feeling is but welling up from within yourself—and justifiably so, as you empathize with your brothers and sisters, as rightly you should! However, the extent to which it effects you is nothing outside of your own control, so you can just deal with it.

            Yet there are others who, at the same time, feel what is afflicted upon them from without–through physical nerves in their skin, their bellies, etc. And there’s not a god-damn thing they—or I, by myself—can do to overcome it! Do not think I am even half as insensitive as you would appear to be to such things!

            No, I just… I just couldn’t go one more day of fucking living with my miserable, incapable self if I processed feelings the way you would like me to. OK, DR?

            I DO feel for *millions* of peoples’ suffering, and daily!!!

            Yet one has to do find a way to process it, to direct it towards something productive, to deal with it, DR.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            *affects you is …

            *people’s suffering …

          • DR

            You are either unwilling to see the point I’m making to you or incapable of seeing it. Either way, not giving you any attention anymore.

          • Melody

            Matthew, I think what she’s getting at is that this is not the time to be saying “Well, it could be worse, just be grateful.” Yes, there are worse things such as war and starvation and human trafficking, but that isn’t the point. If you were at a funeral, I hope you wouldn’t tell the mourners, “It’s not the end of the world. People in Africa are dying of AIDS and starvation, too.” That would be incredibly insensitive and inappropriate. Another time, another place. The fact is, this is a lost battle in the war for basic human rights. We should be angry and mourn this loss, because it likely will lead to more people leaving the church, kids being kicked out of their homes, and worst of all, more hate crimes and suicides. So while you’re right that we shouldn’t let anger turn into utter hate, this isn’t the time. Later, when things have calmed down.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            The time for what, exactly?

            And all those things you mentioned—hate crime, suicide, kids being kicked out of homes, etc.—are going on even at this very time, and they will only increase if people interpret this as anything more than it really is.

            As I said, it is *not* a funeral.

            If only people would not so readily confuse the losses of ideological battles with the price of human lives!

          • Allie

            Why are you doing this? You remind me of the trolls who post on the animal welfare site I visit saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about animals when children are suffering. It’s possible to care about BOTH, caring about one does not subtract from caring about the other. This is just rude and I wish you would come to your senses and stop it.

            Incidentally, life is more than food. Remember who said that?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            And who says it *isn’t* possible to care about both? And who’s even to say which is more important? Surely not I!

            And what am I doing that I should stop? Have I hurt your ego by calling your overreacting whilst there is real work to be done in the world today?

            I assure, I am quite in my senses, and all too aware that life is too short and too precious for much moping (especially over words and ideas)!

            No, I don’t remember anyone’s saying that (that life is more than food). I mean, I know you are probably referring to what Moses wrote and Jesus quoted, saying that man lives not on bread alone. But first, that’s not exactly the same thing as what you said (which I take as meaning life is *more* than material), and second, perhaps you’ve forgotten the contextual implication here: “but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

            And so, to those who would use their ears to hear it, for those who can accept it, the Word of the Lord says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

            In any case, just because someone has a more multidimensional perspective doesn’t mean that perspective is anyhow in need of correction.

            But I appreciate your asking the hard but the right questions!

          • Melody

            We aren’t overreacting, Matthew. As I said, this is a loss, even if lives haven’t been lost over it (though it’s a matter of time, when more teens commit suicide and/or fall victim to murderous hate crimes). It has nothing to do with egos here. You aren’t giving this the feeling it deserves. You’re just making yourself look insensitive. Please, stop.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            You don’t get to have the last word on how others are feeling, Melody. The fact that you feel the need to ought to be telling you something about yourself (from what I’ve heard).

            Who, really, has put more time, effort, and thought into responding to the present situation: you or I?

            Caring is not an emotion, but something which is to be done.

          • Allie

            Matthew, ordinarily nice people stop when others tell them they are being rude. People have asked you to stop and said that you are hurting them. Instead of stopping you are continuing to hurt people. That’s going beyond rude into evil. I say again, please stop. You are hurting people and at this point you have said you have every intention of continuing to hurt people. Why would you chose to do that? In what universe is hurting people Godly?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I will answer you this when you can answer me the same. For when directing our emotions inward or with malice towards one another, we neglect the weightier matters, for which we ever should feel such things in the first place! And that is not anything I have chosen. Others choose it and bring whatever hurt it bears unto themselves. It is meet then that I should ask *you* to stop, meanwhile still others are shot through the heart by bullets inflicted upon them from without, where the last free exercised in the chain of causation leading thereto *truly* is not their own. That is where the real evil lies!

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Matthew, could you at least try not to drive everyone off this blog?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Yes :) which is why, I believe I’ve been giving more comments of support and encouragement (as their primary emphasis) presently than anyone else (and likely have answered to more questions).

            Whom have I driven off? Surely not so many as those who routinely take a confrontational approach to everyone who’s perspective in any way substantively differs from their own. And who is quicker on average (when I’m around at least) to acknowledge and welcome those who rarely or for the first time comment here?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Did you see my reply? (It’s below.. I think… We’ll see where exactly this ends up posting.)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (Ok… make that “above” :lol: )

          • Matthew Tweedell

            *last free ^will^ exercised ..

          • Melody

            Wow. Just wow. You’re really going overboard with this when you accuse me of trying to “have the last word on how others are feeling.” That’s the height of audacity. I don’t claim to speak for everyone here, but when I and everyone else express dismay at this occurrence, it’s safe to say we all have similar feelings about it. I don’t know if you’re “experimenting” again by playing devil’s advocate or what, but it’s time to stop. If you want to disagree that’s your prerogative, but not at the expense of others. We have the right to be angry and to express that anger, whether you think it’s justified or not compared to lives lost. Anyway, I’m done with this discussion.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            :) I am glad that you have chosen to take that positive step of moving on, but :( it is a pity if we fail to face the heart of this matter, acknowledging the inconsistencies which flow from it, e.g.:

            “You aren’t giving this the feeling it deserves.” =/= “[I]t’s safe to say we all have similar feelings about it.”

            I know that you are hurting, Melody, (and rightly so) but that doesn’t give you a pass to minimize *my* pain.. or the pain of any others who are hurting.

          • DR

            (I suspect he can’t understand you). But I’m glad you wrote this, you’ve got good judgment and I thought I’d lost my mind for a second.

          • Melody

            Yeah, I’ve given up on trying to reason with him. When I’m accused unreasonably (minimizing HIS pain? Seriously?!?), it’s time to let it go. I can’t believe any rational human being would make such a low blow. That’s really reaching, and a totally uncalled for ad hominem attack.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Matthew: do you think you could at least TRY not to drive everyone off this site? I have a lot of respect for your extremely agile mind, but dude: you have GOT to see how seriously vexing you are. Stop DOING that already.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Allen’s not even that charming. He’s a conservative fundy-type Christian. He was being facetious.

      • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

        Glad to see you keep a close watch for rude and obnoxious comments.

        • DR

          I saw your original comment. What is so difficult about applying a little tact and leaving the “let’s all just love one another” preaching for ONE day when people just lost something we’ve been fighting for for a very long time? Honestly? What is difficult to understand about that?

        • DR

          How ironic that clicking on your name leads to a phishing site. So we have dear Allen here whose site is in danger of infecting peoples’ computers. And the rest of the “good loving Conservative Christians” like “Andy” fake their names and spam the site with fake identities.

          But of course, they are just misunderstood and being attacked with comments like these! They aren’t morally bankrupt, creepy assholes at all.

  • Kathleen

    It passed. Currently it stands at 58 percent for the amendment to 42 percent against.

    My heart goes out to those directly hurt by this injustice. We will fight on.

    • Don Rappe

      I like to remember that 42% of the people of North Carolina no longer buy this stupid bullshit! In a part of the country where people used to dress their little girls up in Sunday best to go out and view a festive lynching.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Glory to God for that, indeed!

  • Valerie

    Amen

  • http://rgvreeland.com RG Vreeland

    All I could think to do is tell my friends I love them…

    http://rgvreeland.com/2012/05/09/a-post-of-love-for-my-gay-friends/

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks for this, RG.

      • http://rgvreeland.com RG Vreeland

        Thank you John. I am grateful for your voice and your courage to speak out for what is right.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Beautiful, RG Vreeland! Simply beautiful!

      Thank you so much for writing it, and thank you so much for sharing it with us.

      • http://rgvreeland.com RG Vreeland

        Matthew, you are very welcome. And thank you.

  • Alan

    That’ll preach, John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jos.reyn Jos Reyn via Facebook

    banal.Thinking of that pic of Palin wrapped in a flag like a cloak and hoding a Crusifix straight out in our faces. True evil is also trul

  • otter

    Don’t forget the stars and stripes..evil loves to misuse the flag

    too…..

  • Eileen

    This whole issue has me on the verge of giving up on being a practicing Christian. I’m so, so tired of dealing with this ignorance. So tired of Christians picking and choosing, of missing the forest for the trees. Thankfully, my church stays away from politics and homosexuality (my two hot buttons) as they are “not core issues”, but I know most of the congregation toes the party line, and those who don’t, don’t feel all that free to say so, lest they start a discussion no one can win, because hardliners won’t accept that Jesus didn’t care. I say there is no way God made/allowed people to be homosexual just so they could NOT love or have families or be married in order to be free of that particular “sin”. No one is allowed to have an opinion about someone else’s “sin” until they’re as perfect as Jesus himself. I thank God there are prominent leaders that feel that way, but today that’s not helping a whole lot.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      All so perfectly said, Eileen. Thank you.

  • Skip Johnston

    Every vote for this hellish law was a spike driven into the body of Christ. It’s an ancient tragedy. Sometimes it seems we’re never gonna find that empty tomb.

  • http://castlerockbear.tumblr.com Keith Walsh

    Thank You John! Your post brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart! As always you are right on! My days would not be the same without reading your words of enlightenment, encouragement and love! Love is Empowerment! Thank You! :)

  • charles m

    the more insidious reality here is that now 30 states have made similar amendments.

    This is religion at its worst, but the reality is that it is not a religious issue at all. It is a political one. It is a galvanizing point for the greater “Conservative” agenda. If there was a law that excluded legal partnerships for other enterprises it would be castigated instantly, and fall directly in the path of the 10th Amendment. The only remedy that will be somewhat conclusive is a Supreme Court ruling on the Civil Rights merits of same sex marriage- though the word “marriage” is really the problem.

    • charles m

      the saddest reality is that we have a Democratic Party who wont take a stand on this.

      is Stonewall II required?

      Liberals need to seriously address all Civil Rights. and seriously get in the face of this administration who seems to be fine with very inconsistent, and near capricious random enforcement of the law and the Constitution. Sorry to sound bitter and politic, but I frankly want the guy I voted for to actually show up in the Oval Office.

    • Lymis

      The current standards for deciding that a minority is sufficiently discriminated against so that legal analysis requires a heightened standard of scrutiny when deciding whether a law is unconstitutional include taking the following things into consideration:

      * The class must have experienced a history of discrimination,

      * must be definable as a group based on “obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics,” Since religion counts, it is not required that such a characteristic be literally unchangeable.

      * be a minority that is “politically powerless,” to get it’s needs met by normal legislative and social changes

      * and its characteristics must have little relationship to the government’s policy aims or the ability of the group’s members to contribute to society.

      There’s simply no justification for LGBT people not being a suspect class requiring heightened scrutiny. Several cases headed toward the Supreme Court have already made that statement in their rulings. If that is upheld by the US Supreme Court, all these laws and amendments fall with it.

      • Don Rappe

        Good point.

      • Leslie Marbach

        Well said, Lymis. It will ultimately take a Supreme Court ruling to abolish all these discriminatory amendments and laws. We need a Loving v. Virginia-type case. I just pray it happens soon.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I strongly suspect something like that is indeed what will come of all this, Lymis, and likely within a few short years no less!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lswise1 Leah Suzanne Wise via Facebook

    Great post, John!

  • Kirsten A.S. Mebust via Facebook

    And if we were in a majority Hindu or majority Muslim country it would grasp a dharma wheel or a crescent and Koran. It’s about who has power to define the norm. We can grieve for a day or two, but ultimately, it’s got to be about persuading majorities to embrace the rights of minorities for their own sake as well as the sake of the minorities. We have to keep speaking to those who don’t yet see those rights as integral to who we are together.

    • Lymis

      Well said. This is, in fact something inherent in Christianity, but only because it is something inherent in people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson via Facebook

    So true Kirsten.

  • FishFinger

    This is such an empty article.

    Edit a few sentences in in paragraph 2 and you’ll have an article perfectly suited for your opponents, John.

    Not that I disagree, but it’s just so pointless.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yes, if I rewrote it, I could make it say something entirely different. Insightful. Thanks.

      • Lymis

        Now John, be fair. If you don’t put more juicy hateful details in, how will people be able to quote you out of context and be all upset about it? Tolerance and compassion are soooooo bo-ring.

      • Diana A.

        LOL!

      • Mary

        I think it’s PERFECT the way it is!

    • Melody

      And what improvements do you suggest? John has the right to express his feelings however he wants, and he’s expressing what many of us feel. Sorry you think he has to live up to your expectations. I don’t. It’s his blog.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Whether or not we have a right to do something is independent of whether it is right to do so. Whether or not we have a right to do something, it could still be pointless, and others surely have a right to feel that way about it from time to time, right? Indeed, what reason have we ever to think there’s really any point at all in our existence?

        But then there is Love—the one cause I know that is sufficient cause for itself.

      • Mary

        Atta girl, Melody!

    • Matthew Tweedell

      FishFinger, I don’t think this is empty at all! It is filled with the outflow of the heart; it reflects a view through the lens of John’s, and so many others, inner feelings (as they stood at the time of his writing it). Emotions are not vacuous. Indeed, they are the source of the heaviest burdens placed upon the human soul—a very weighty matter indeed!

      The point of such meditation upon them as this is, in general, to work them out towards a remedy of their particular cause(s); and the point of sharing it—to connect with the feelings others have, that they might do the same; and the point of doing the same together—that we legitimize what one another feel inside as the justified emotions that they are; that we loosen the bottle cap on them; that we aid one another in reflection upon that wherein they are rooted, and so unto possible resolutions.

    • DR

      ” it’s just so pointless.”

      This – literally – makes absolutely no sense.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Which “opponents” are you talking about exactly?

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I assumed it meant people who view so-called liberal Christianity as evil. (Please correct me if I’m wrong, FishFinger!)

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          Funny. I kind of got atheists. I guess we’ll never know.

    • Makarios

      Concern troll is very concerned.

  • mike moore

    “When evil is serious, it reaches for a Bible and dons a cross.”

    What an intensely profound string of words. 13 simple bits of language; a thorough explanation of 2000 years of Christian-wrought misery.

    • Mary

      In my experience, the profound is often simple.

  • SharonK

    Crazy. I found this post deeply comforting.

    Although I’m distressed about what’s happened in North Carolina, the events of today – the President stepping up to the plate on equality – have helped me hang onto hope. The words of Psalm 24 came to mind.

    The earth is the Lord’s; evil cannot and will not triumph forever.

  • charles m

    Obama has finally weighed in-

  • Earl Dunbar

    “Whether or not we have a right to do something is independent of whether it is right to do so. ”

    What do you mean by “right”?

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Two different primary senses of “right”—those which remain when excluding any sense opposed to “left”: the first is as in distinction with “responsibility”; the second is as in distinction with “wrong”.

  • Mary

    Thank you, John! As usual you are able to reach down into the heart of human existence. I have felt exactly the way you describe yourself feeling on more than one occasion. Out of the depths of my despair a small, irrefutable light shines forth. It usually isn’t a big, bright light. Just enough for me to know I can go on hoping. There it was today. The President making his statement about supporting marriage equality. I think what may have pushed him “off the fence”, so to speak, was maybe what happened in N. Carolina coupled with Vice President Biden saying he has no problem with marriage equality. Whatever the reason, it was the small light at the end of the tunnel for me.

  • Matt

    At times like these, I just curl up with my partner and with God and know I have something people search their whole lives for: Unconditional love.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I am so very happy for you, Matt.

      Things like this make putting up with all the world might throw against us (that is, everyone who fights on the side of love, not just the LGBT community) worth it in the end!

      Know that just as your pain is our pain, your joy, your love, we share also with you, when you share them with us.

      For there is no such distinction as between gay love and straight love—not even between romantic love and platonic love really—but one thing that is Love.

      Through it, by it, and in it are all things connected: from the rising of the sun each morning to its setting at the Last Day; from footprints in tar beds long since covered by the seas to footprints in dust on the surface of the moon. From the first of our kind to walk upon the face of the earth unto the last of the human race to have perished, from the greatest artists our world has ever known to the lowliest beggars in our streets—all need love.

      But sadly, some—perhaps all of us at times—refuse to see that need, and see to it that it is met: they refuse to share in others’ love as we do in yours, when you share it with, and I hope as you do in ours when you see that here—though surely it feels nothing like in your lover’s arms—indeed you are loved (and this exactly as you are: no “love the sinner” bullshit allowed around here without quick and sharp denunciation!)

      I pity them that shut out whatever love at all, for they clearly do so in ignorance of love, and this when love is all they ought to really need!

      They—we perhaps at times—do it to their(our) own detriment, twisting and turning their hearts in and out of alignment with love, on the basis of some strange animal instincts—on the basis of fear, to put it bluntly (the pitiful cowards).

      Yet everything they do that works against love—thought the damage it does is real, and really hurt—will come, in the end, to naught! Yes, even now, love is prepping for their undoing! And what then shall remain of them? Nothing but dust, and daisies.

      But when we put on the spirit of love—to whatever extent this Spirit is our own—we are assured a place at the end of the ages; and even now we might behold paradise! Thank you, Matt, for giving us that glimpse—that hope—that tangible expression of the love for which we are determined to fight and moreover to win for our very selves (even those of us who are straight) when all will be said and done (for in that day will there be neither straight nor gay)! Surely we are to be accounted worthy of this, in staying the course to fight the good fight (even if we should happen to have join our fathers and Father in heaven in the meantime—and our mothers and Mother as well—for the Spirit will endure forever, and even our dust will be raised to life in due season)!

  • http://rgvreeland.com RG Vreeland

    The sign in front of St. Lukes Church on Park Road, here in Charlotte NC, says “Love Wins.”

    Apparently love wins when you show others how little you care about them.

    Evil Wrapped Up in Jesus.

    it prompted me to write this… http://bit.ly/Lj9FJB

  • otter

    In the spirit of injecting a bit of humor into a frustrating situation, this link will take you to a little musical, satirical commentary on the topic done by my local LGBT chorus…

    (yes, I’m on stage but not telling you which one I am!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3RsFBHjrOY

  • mptw

    You deny 98% of foundational biblical truth-subbing in pc “wisdom” in its place and attack anyone who stands on or points to scripture as the basis of the faith -then claim to know what righteousness is? your version of the faith is founded on liberal politics and a desire to scratch every fleshly itch that crops up and then claim God’s approval for it..

    • Melody

      And your version is built on conservative politics that deny rights to the poor and oppressed. Your itching ears ignore Jesus’ teachings in favor of bigotry and legalism and then claim God’s approval for it.

      • mptw

        gee you assume a lot – incorrectly

        • DR

          Would you mind giving us a bit more specificity behind your “98%” statistic? I don’t want to assume anything so it would be great if you would please break down that data for us. Thank you.

        • DR

          She’s dead-on accurate. You’re terrified of being wrong. The beliefs you cling to are more than likely, the only things that make you feel smart, ok and in control and many of them have absolutely nothing to do with the real Truth of Jesus Christ.

          I would bet a hundred bucks that you’re barely holding on emotionally and that intimacy is really challenging for you. You won’t admit to that being true (even if it is) but at minimum, it will rattle your cage a little.

        • Diana A.

          So prove her wrong…if you can.

    • DR

      98%? Hmm. Others like you who have the full measure of truth have weighed in around 91.34% which is fine but perhaps you guys can get together at the next “Bigots offering bullshit statistics for Jesus” convention and get your numbers a bit more aligned prior to posting on the Internet in front of thousands of people.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Are you talking to me? Looks like you’re talking to me. Well I’ll have you know that my politics follows my faith and not vice-versa. Indeed, how could it be any other way? You have to have faith in a order to put that faith behind particular policies. You have to have at least the slightest degree of trust in a politician to make the effort of supporting him or her. You have to have faith that your legs will carry you—neither collapsing like gelatin towers nor crashing like concrete right through the floor underfoot—just to get out of bed in the morning. In all things, even for those whose faith does not include a god, faith comes first. I wish you faith enough to believe this.

      Now, I can’t think of a “fleshly itch” that God didn’t give us for good reason. Sometimes it may be best to avoid scratching it until the appropriate time, and/or to use alternative means of itch-relief, but these are the result of circumstances created by men, and not commands imposed on the Christian by God. I wish you faith enough to trust God, that He made all things—even every itch—with good intent. I believe in a good God, in Whom is no maliciousness. Why do I choose to believe it? Because things like the itches people get just don’t make any sense otherwise; otherwise, God is inconstant and in no way really knowable, and/or not at all praiseworthy, or simply nonexistent. So I refuse to bow to such a false idol. May faith and truth set you free from Bible idolatry, mptw.

      Speaking of the Bible, I am willing to accept every word of it as literal truth! *I* stand on and point to scripture as a foundational basis of my faith (note, “a” not “the”—thus, not idolatry: for the true God is the ultimate basis of faith, all else must align with Him or I should conclude it is but the misunderstandings of men). So how is it I am denying 98% of it exactly? That would be of pretty big concern to me, if it had any basis in truth. But I’m pretty sure that you are the one in denial—or more likely misunderstanding—but please, go ahead and prove me wrong. Or I’d also be willing to abandon my interpretation of the Bible if you could demonstrate your “wisdom’s” superiority objectively, relative to the Biblical Wisdom of my faith—that is, that it bears better fruits, so to speak. I’m guessing, however, that you are of those whose misguided beliefs bear such fruits as bullying, teen suicide, perpetual loneliness, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.

      • mptw

        i dont think you know what the sinful nature is.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          denying a sinful nature or merely disagreeing about the nature of sin?

    • otter

      http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html

      read this and you might rethink your delusions of hetro-sanctity!!!