Across denominations there are a variety of beliefs, but a common core issue is how Christians treat others: do they treat others in ways that are Christ-like or in ways that are not Christian?
The answer is usually as clear as a morning sunrise to those who are discriminated against and as dim as dusk to those who discriminate.
Many Christian denominations have wonderful faith traditions. But for many denominations, discrimination is the tradition.
Discrimination is treating some people differently because of the color of their skin, their gender or their sexual orientation. Discrimination is unbiblical and un-Christian.
Some faith-based beliefs are little more than biases and justifications for discrimination.
The Catholic Church has a rich history, full of moral failures and marginalizations, continuing this very moment.
For more than 100 years, the Southern Baptist Convention occasionally ordained women. And then Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler spent more than two decades recreating the SBC in their own image — white, male and sexist. They eschewed Baptist Biblical scholarship, hoisted the nonsensical banner of Biblical inerrancy, and rallied around cultural conflicts. Differences in Biblical interpretation were no longer judged by the red letters of Jesus, but were instead decided by male ministers. Women became second-class citizens.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship remained moderate as the SBC rushed to the Radical Right, but the CBF rejects the notion of full equality in ordained ministry. All of humanity is made in the image of God, which means all should be treated equally, all the time.
The Episcopal Church in the U.S. supports gay rights, but the denomination is the American province of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England, and the mother church denies gay people equal rights. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has congregations that continue to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) leaves it to individual churches and groups of churches to decide to discriminate against LGBT ministers.
There’s the rub– when given the opportunity, some individual congregations reject the dignity of individuals and choose to discriminate.
Any beliefs Christians hold to discriminate against gay people are nearly always rehashing discrimination against black people. It’s the same song, just different verses.For more than 1,800 years, the Bible was used to prohibit the ordination of some men because of the color of their skin or their nationality. Biblical interpretation grew and changed through serious and sincere effort to apply the Bible in a practical, current way and reject archaic discrimination.
Here in the 21st century, with a modern perspective and open theology, there’s no reason to discriminate on the basis of gender after so many years of discriminating on the basis of race. Biblical ‘tradition’ as a reason to prohibit women in ordained ministry is absolute nonsense. Women are made in the image of God and are called to lead just as any man is. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is equally outdated.
All are made in the image of God.
Each person is the image of God and is equal, no matter your gender, your sexuality, your race, your luck, your skill, your wins or losses. We are all the image of God. If your theology doesn’t recognize and authentically affirm the divine dignity of everyone while offering equal access in every way, then your theology is not of God. It’s no different than using the Bible to support slavery.
Incidentally, it’s not discriminatory to reject discrimination. (It’s inconceivable that we live in a time when this must be explained.)
Men were wrong when they used the Bible to discriminate against black men and against women. They are wrong today when they use the Bible to discriminate against gay people.
Many different people have used the Bible to justify discrimination. They may call themselves Christians, but they aren’t followers of Jesus.
The Bible is clear.
Jesus said nothing about gay people.
Jesus said nothing about women in ministry or society.
Jesus said nothing that supported slavery.
Jesus said nothing that supported oppression, or white men, or governments.
Repeatedly, Jesus demonstrates that it is wrong to discriminate. Jesus welcomed everyone, including those society and religion rejected.
Jesus doesn’t discriminate.
You can’t be a follower of Jesus and discriminate.
Jesus is clear.