Prep for “Martyrdom” because of the Gays?

Prep for “Martyrdom” because of the Gays? March 21, 2015
Sandy Rios (via Youtube)
Sandy Rios (via Youtube)

In a talk where she shared her opinions of the forthcoming SCOTUS decision regarding same-sex marriage, conservative religious commentator Sandy Rios noted that Christians should “prepare for martyrdom” in the event that the nation’s highest court ruled in favor of same-sex unions.

Excuse me? Martyrdom?!?!?

So, to be clear,  in the event of same-sex couples being able to get married Christians should be prepared to be killed for their faith? Because Ms. Rios, that’s what martyrdom means, to have your life taken for the sake of your beliefs. Or perhaps you meant this in the slightly less dramatic sense and are inferring that those who oppose these unions will suffer great persecution for their beliefs.

Even with that I would have to say that such phrasing is grandiose at best if not steeped in outright irresponsible pretentiousness.

American Christian claims to persecution are insulting to believers around the globe who are legitimately at risk for their proclamations of faith. Are we so far removed from stories like the execution of our Coptic brethren in Egypt that you feel it appropriate to use such a term? Have you experienced such a response from challengers to your beliefs that you feel the need to hijack narratives of individuals who have suffered in unimaginable ways like Kenneth Bae?

No. The answer is no you haven’t and you need to stop appropriating language that doesn’t fit your reality.

Yes, there are people that disagree with you and even some that do so aggressively but guess what? That’s the beauty (and for you, bane) of living in a democratic republic where speech is free and there is an ability to so fervently believe in something that you advocate for law supporting that thing.

And for advocates for same-sex marriage and others committed to upholding the voices of others in this nation, this is what’s happening.

They are not calling for your death.

They are not calling for your harm.

They are requesting a seat at the table and asking that their rights are protected under law (which in the current system is not the case in key areas – ex. domestic violence protections, estate law, etc).

Ms. Rios went on to say the following: If they [approve same-sex marriage], every single person in this room is going to be forced to make a choice, and I’m just telling you: Even if you don’t want to engage in this battle, you will and your people will, and you’d better stand”.

She’s right.

The people who participated in the Pennsylvania Pastors Network conference that housed her talk will be forced to make a choice as will all others who profess that they have been captivated by the message of Jesus.

That choice isn’t participation in some obscure, manufactured religious and cultural battle. The choice lies in whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision that the SCOTUS comes to, how their personal actions, words, and articulation of such reflect a God whose name is Love.

How will we take the commandment issued in John 13:34-35 and consider what it means to love one another, love the other, as Jesus loved us?

After all, He made it pretty clear that THIS – not politics, not dogma – is what will let the world know we are his Church saying “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”. 

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  • Thank you for writing this piece. This past Wed. night and Thursday day (at the “Gathering By the Sea: conference) I was talking about the need for progressive Christians to start preparing for the likely backlash that will take place this summer (possibly violent) upon the upcoming US Supreme Court ruling about same-sex marriage. We need to be having this conversation now.

  • It will be the martyrdom of the Temple Authority and Roman Empire – being reduced to irrelevancy.

  • What a great blog! Thanks for expressing this so very well!

  • Scott

    Thank you for pointing out what persecution and martyrdom really entail. We in America are, unfortunately, very far removed from that reality. The conversation of how to show the love of God to all people is very important. My concern is that the appeal to John 13:34-35 is often an appeal to not address sin as sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection defeated sin, death, and the devil. We are saved from a life of slavery to sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection. So how do we love as Jesus wants us to while still calling for the rejection of sin? Romans 1:18-32 is pretty clear on the results of rejecting God’s righteousness for man’s righteousness.

  • thepromisechaser

    Scott, I wonder if we could name sin as something that blocks relationship and the love we are called to demonstrate. Sin disrupts relationship and growth with God, others, and self. If we unpack sin in a way where we explain that, it may become more accessible and understandable for folks. I think we’ve done a poor job of labeling everything that makes folks uncomfortable as sin and have misidentified it to the point of causing confusion in and out of the Body. So if we can take a more relational approach to exploring this, it may help people see why something like gossip is sinful but having a beer is not.

    Stepping into God’s righteousness allows for reconciliation and healing that we cannot achieve when drawing on our humanity alone. Explaining that may also help people get the importance of rejecting sin.

  • Thanks for your words of wisdom and peace. You are so right in that our prime directive as followers of Jesus starts with Love One Another. And it ends with Do Not Judge. In between we’re pretty much on our own to figure out how to live that out. It does become quite tricky when we factor in our humanity! So starting today, I’m going to explore how to have a more loving attitude toward the rigid fundamentalists who seem to be so sure of themselves. Wish me luck!

  • thepromisechaser

    I will not only wish you luck my dear brother, I will pray that God will honor your heart and grow you in grace! We need more people who are willing to intentionally work towards loving others.

  • Wade

    It would be refreshing if you didn’t engage in the same kind of hyperbole that our Fundy brothers so often do.

  • thepromisechaser

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that Roger’s comment is being expressed in hyperbole. Based on the reactions we’ve seen to the possibility of same-sex marriage being passed, it’s not far off to note that there will be backlash and that it may be violent in its manifestations. Violence doesn’t just come in physical forms…I’m nearly certain that there will be scars inflicted on people that we never see because of their emotional and spiritual nature.