So it looks like yet another ill-informed or fear-mongering politician is playing the “religious freedom” card in a very unique way. According to Arkansas Times, it seems he said Jason Rapert said this (just an snippet of the fabulous tantrum) about the 12th annual gay Pride parade in the town of Conway, AR .
“This is truly one of the most offensive public displays against Christians you will find anywhere in our state and especially offensive because they have specifically chosen Sunday to try and intimidate people who believe in the Word of God.
This parade against Christian values may indeed happen again for the 12th time on a Sunday in Conway, but I object to it ever again being held on the Sabbath Day again. It is one thing to proclaim you are a homosexual and demand attention to yourself, but it is quite another for homosexual activists to cross the line and accuse Christians of being “bigots” and that their belief that homosexuality is sin is “hate speech”.”
Now part of me admires his agility for the mental gymnastics it takes to come up with this notion. But the ignorance, arrogance, fear and loathing that such a statement exhibits and invokes makes me mad as hell and yet pity him at the same time. I sent him a message on Facebook and got only a bible verse in response. So that maybe he takes my offer for dialogue more seriously I thought I would float an open letter (I know, I am so over these myself) to which I will prayerfully wait for a response.
Hey there Jason,
I know you either actually believe or want voters to believe you believe that Pride parades are antiChristian hate speech events. Either way – bless your heart. Maybe you’ve never actually seen a Pride parade or maybe it’s just a power-play to manipulate the good people of your district, but I encourage you to take a closer look at these parades around the country where you will notice (if you have eyes to see and a heart to understand) scores of Christians and an abundance of whole churches who are either in or side-line supporting Pride parades. You may not realize it, but there are in fact many Christians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and there are Christian allies who understand their relationship with Jesus as a call to stand on the side of all of God’s children, especially those the church has so wantonly abused. Pride can not be hate speech against Christians since Christians are participating. If you need help learning more about the truth, I’ll be happy to help.
I imagine you may want to throw random, uncontextualized bible verses at me (like you did in a little Facebook exchange) and I also know that it is utterly pointless for me to counter with historical, contextual understandings of the clobber texts. So too, I know it is beyond fruitless to throw back at you all the bible verses generally ignored by folks who obsess over LGBT lives. I suppose it may be surprising to you and your friends, but I think it will be helpful for generative, faithful dialogue to let you know that I’m a seminary graduate and a practicing Christian who has read, studied and ardently prayed over her bible for decades. I’ve done hard work in community with other Christians and weighed my understanding on the scales of the saints and theologians who are far more learned that either you or I. I promise that I do not need you to share bible verses with me as if I’ve never considered them. And I can say with blessed assurance that I claim Jesus and Jesus claims me.
The only way forward for any of us is through relationship and dialogue, so here I am.
If you’d like to talk more and and really get to know a woman who deeply loves Jesus and who happens to be created by God to love women, I would genuinely love to have that conversation.
I realize it can very hard and require great deal of faith to talk with people rather than talk about them, but I will hold open a space for such a conversation with you if you feel like you have the capacity to enter such a relationship with grace and compassion.
And just in case you do want to learn and grow in Christ all on your own, here are a few helpful resources.
Your sister in Christ,