Murderers, terrorists and me

This picture here – or some version of it shows up on Facebook every couple of weeks or so.  Around the blogosphere and in homes, pubs and churches I’ve overheard more than a few conversations between good people that sprout from this rancid soil.

Bless your hearts, I know y’all mean to be sweet. I get it that for many this is meant as a loving statement as you begin to wrestle with the complexities of being Christian and loving your LGBT neighbor.  Heck for some this is truly a radical pronouncement, really I do get it – but…

By naming homosexuals alongside the depths of depravity included in this list is simply wrong. My sins are many; failing to be fully present to my family, treating myself unkindly, abusing my privilege in the world by consuming beyond my fair share, walking past hurting and hungry people as I rush along with a grocery cart spilling over, failing to fulfill commitments to my church and community, holding onto hurts so that they turn fetid with resentment – just to name a few.   The list of “sinners” surrounding homosexuals are states of existence that rob both the perpetrator and the victims of their humanity, of life.   But God’s gift of my sexuality is not equivalent to murder, abuse, life depleting addiction, freedom squashing terrorism or the oppressive sexual slavery of prostitution.

So, I sorta appreciate what you are trying to say when you share this cute little picture but let me be exceptionally clear. Being gay is NOT equivalent to that which robs others of their humanity. Queerness is one of the many, complex gifts from God that gives me life and in fact enables me to share God’s love with others in a way that honors the divine spark that makes each of us a living, beautiful and broken image of our Creator.

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addiction a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

    Because the rendering of Christianity that expects classifies sexual orientation – a created state gifted by God – in the same category as murder is simply wrong. I wonder though, do you accept all of it? I mean really all of it? Surely there are precepts you have rejected. Bacon? Shrimp? Slavery? Poly-cotton blend?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=675151105 Richard Hooker

    Hi Frank, I for one appreciate your use of the scripture to highlight the evil sin that is homosexuality. This is so much worse than selling your own daughter into slavery which thankfully the Bible does condone as I don’t know where I would be without the bible to provide me with the excuse to sell my own child into slavery.

    And I quote…

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. Exodus 21:7-11

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=675151105 Richard Hooker

    Hi Frank, I for one appreciate your use of the scripture to highlight the evil sin that is homosexuality. This is so much worse than selling your own daughter into slavery which thankfully the Bible does condone as I don’t know where I would be without the bible to provide me with the excuse to sell my own child into slavery.

    And I quote…

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. Exodus 21:7-11

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Well played :)

  • Mike

    KK – I don’t think you get to define sin, nor do I think you can separate your ‘god-given’ sexuality from the ‘god-given’ brutality that some people are born with. The concept of original sin is integral to Christianity and I don’t think the faithful get to decide what are and are not sins. That is what scripture is for. I’m sorry but I think you either accept Christianity as it is or reject it. Why is there a need to reconcile the two?

  • http://exclusionandembrace.blogspot.com rob g

    Excellent point and well articulated! I haven’t seen that image, but sure don’t like it.

    Here’s a related alternative that I came up with a while back:
    http://exclusionandembrace.blogspot.ca/2011/12/heart-exam.html

  • Dave

    I guess the problem here is the artist got too specific? Probably should have been: “I love ALL others because christ first loved me…”?

    To be honest, I think the artist might simply have been trying to reach into as many current issues as they could to demonstrate why even if we don’t like what people do, or how they live, we have the same reason to love them all… because Christ first loved us. While it might be uncomfortable to be lumped with others we don’t like (or think are bad, etc), we should perhaps remember that we ALL belong in that grouping by the simple definition of not being without sin.
    And I say that as someone who has lied before, of course, so I guess I fit in here pretty well…

  • WhiteBirch

    What about slobs?

    • Jeff Straka

      God only likes the formal-attired and the neat-niks! ;)

  • Rebekah

    I was just trying to explain to someone why this image was so disturbing to a well-meaning individual the other day. I would also add that I don’t think dedicating your career to ensuring that women have access to reproductive services despite threats to your personal safety should be included in this list either.

  • Jeff Straka

    I agree 110%, Kimberly. The list, excluding homosexuality, are actions that OPPOSE Jesus’ call to “Love the Other as Our Self”. Love of another, same-sex or opposite-sex, would NOT go against Jesus’ Command. Conservative Christians apparently give the Hebrew Bible (and, so, the 613 Laws) equal weight to the New Testament and Jesus’ words EVEN THOUGH Jesus said to let GO of the purity, taboo and sacrificial Torah laws in FAVOR of Loving and doing Justice and Mercy to Others (” But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”). Isn’t it odd, though, that conservatives pick and choose WHICH of the 613 Torah Laws they hold to? How can you claim the entire Bible “inerrant” and then disobey so MUCH of it (by not stoning your kids, eating non-kosher food, not following the festivals, etc.)?

    This “I Love” picture is not REALLY about an authentic agape or even a phlia love towards those listed – how many of these “sinners” do you think the poster actually invited into their community AS THEY ARE (unconditionally)? Were to be truly honest, it would have to start out:
    “I Love to FEEL SUPERIOR to…”

    • Mike

      Very well said. “I love to FEEL SUPERIOR to..” excellently summarizes what it feels like to be on that list.

  • Erins1911

    Kimberly, I couldn’t agree with you more. And I am excited to be laboring along with you to expand the Church’s understanding of homosexuality. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • Kimberly

      Thank you Erin! Let’s keep the relationship building going too :)

  • Adam

    I was disappointed that you didn’t respond to my comment about your thoughts on Chick-fil-a, but I am glad to see that you have altered your tone, at least in my opinion. I think it would have been very easy for you to go down the same road of accusing those who share this of dehumanizing you, so I appreciate the way that you are respectfully disagreeing with the sentiment of the picture.

    I would, however, disagree with your assessment of “sin” as something that robs another of their humanity. I believe that there are many sins that only affect you and God.

  • Frank

    The scriptural truth needs to the told whether you like that truth or not. When people stop lying about the sinlessness of homosexual behavior and stop deceiving people I will happily go away.

    • Nicole

      Frank you seem so focused and determined to continually make your opinion (wait, what you believe is God’s opinion on homosexuality) known that it comes across more as a focus on the “speck” in someone else’s without accounting for the “plank” in your own.

      If your desire is to bring about a change of heart HERE for LGBT Christians you sure seem to be striking out. However, it may be giving you too much credit to assume that you honestly care about bringing in those you believe are misguided to the fold.

      • Frank

        Waiting for someone to show me scripturally that God condones or blesses homosexual behavior. If it existed it should be very simple to show us. So if you have a problem with what the bible says you must credibly put forth a counter view. Some have tried all have failed.

        • Nicole

          So your purpose isn’t to try and “restore” relationships. How very Jesus-like of you.

          • Frank

            It’s the individuals job to be open enough to reconcile with God not mine. I cannot help anyone who refuses to take responsibility for their sin. There can be no restoration until there is repentance. That’s Christianity 101.

        • Jeff Straka

          Frank, any time someone tries to point out evidence of translational, contextual or cultural misunderstandings of the “clobber verses”, you ignore or dismiss them. So, really, what is your purpose in being here? I really would like to understand.

          • Frank

            I do not ignore them at all. I take them very seriously and have studied them extensively and no one has yet to show anything that suggests that God condones or blesses homosexual behavior. I find it dis-ingenuousness, manipulative and deceiving when people suggest otherwise with zero scriptural support hence the reason I post on this issue.

        • Kimberly Knight

          Frank, I have made it abundantly clear that this blog is not about proof texting or debating scripture. Not gonna happen. There are PLENTY of other blogs for that so you’d maybe find more satisfaction in those conversations. Your demands for debate will continually fall on uninterested ears here. This is a space for lifting up the stories of real people, your sisters and brothers in Christ. If you want to play in the sandbox of exegesis perhaps another space is where you’ll find a more receptive audience.

          • Frank

            I hear you Kimberly and if you want this blog to have a narrow focus not giving people a full picture that is your choice. Stories are great but you will never change a theological position through stories. And if you do not want this to be about the truthfulness of scripture you should leave Christianity and the bible out of your blog completely. But once again this is your blog and you can do with it whatever you wish.

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    Frank,
    i do NOT understand why you continually comment on these blogs with your offensive views of queer people. We get your views and you know ours. We will never change anyone’s mind. Just go away and be at peace and leave us alone.

    i think you are NOT trusting G-D enough to convict us if, we are indeed in sin over our sexuality. That, not trusting G-D, is a terrible sin. YOU are playing G-D with your constant harassment.

  • Frank

    Happy to help.

    There is absolutely no credible, scriptural backing that God condones or blesses homosexual behavior and calls it any thing but sin.

  • Frank

    Homosexual behavior is a sin and should be included along with other sins. Plain and simple. Just because you wish it were different does not make it so.

    • Kimberly Knight

      And just because you say it is so Frank does not make it so (and no, the Bible is not as “clear” as you may believe sir, context and language matter a whole bunch more than you are willing to admit). http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1265

      But hey, thanks for being consistently you and helping keep my view stats tasty :)

      Your lesbian sister in Christ,
      Kimberly

    • Storm Longhauser

      Frank, here is no evidence at all that God created people a certain way only to condemn them. And if you believe in a God that would do such a thing, then your sense of humanity is seriously impaired. There is in fact much credible evidence by leading theologians that the current Christian dogma against gay people is incorrect. The arrogance to think that you know better than God did when He created gay people is astonishing to me. BTW, I use the term gay people instead of homosexuals to remind you that it is real people you are talking about, not some abstract idea. Perhaps if you thought about that you’d be able to understand how pointing out someone else’s “sin” (as you perceive it) is a hateful and unchristian act.

      • Frank

        God did not create anyone as gay. Sin distorts humanities sexuality which one result is homosexual attractions. But its our choice whether we act on these sin induced feelings or not and make it a sin or not.

    • http://brettthatcher.com Brett

      Tired of people using the bible as an excuse to practice their homophobic piety, Frank.

      • Frank

        It sounds like you are just tired of acknowledging scriptural truth because its is more challenging that ignoring it.

  • http://bonniemcnair.wordpress.com Bonnie McNair

    Kimberly, I agree with you. I could not have said it any better. I have not seen that particular picture before and I was shocked at the list.


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