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Jesus with Gays and Lesbians
The spirit of Jesus has nothing to do with the hatred expressed by the religious right for homosexual persons.
By Ed Knudson
Anyone who takes the bible seriously and sits down to actually read about Jesus in the four gospels, who reads through the whole book of Luke, for example, and lets himself or herself become involved with the spirit of this Jesus as narrated there, cannot help but realize that Jesus walked and talked with those who were the least powerful in his time. Jesus was born in a lowly manger to a lower class woman. Jesus did not come to the high and the mighty; in fact they were afraid of him and finally killed him. Jesus did not use the law against people, except religious authorities; he violated what was then the law for the sake of the people. People following Jesus experienced their lives opened for others and their future, even lepers who were totally ostracized from society.
In our own time we find that people claiming to call themselves followers of Jesus have become fixated on hatred for homosexual persons. I watched a couple nights ago on C-Span a political conference of the Christian Coalition in Washington D.C. Speaker after speaker attacked homosexuality and supported the constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. This issue was a the center of the whole conference. In other words, these "Christians" want to use the law of the state against homosexuals. If you want to build a political movement and get donations flowing it is easy to pick on one of the most hated groups in society. In fact, this presidential election may be decided based on this hatred. What a sorry state these so-called Christians are making of democracy in this country, what a terrible anti-witness to the spirit of Jesus. What a complete outrage it is for the Republican Party to use the religious right for its political advantage.
Such hatred does not represent the true spirit of Jesus availble to anyone who wants to sit down and read the gospel accounts of his life. Were Jesus alive today I have no doubt that he would be seen eating and drinking with gay and lesbian people, just as he ate and drank with those who were deemed "sinners" in his own time.
For those of you who can't believe that could be so, I suggest you yourself sit down and eat and drink with gay and lesbian persons. Open yourself to them, just as Jesus opened himself to all those around him. Once you have some actual experience with real people, real gay and lesbian persons, you will find it very difficult to hate them, to be fixated on laws denying them their rights within our society.
By the way, it isn't hard to find gay and lesbian people with whom to sit down and eat. They are in our church. In fact, they have made tremendous contributions to the life of the church throughout its history. Today they offer their gifts and talents in congregations in all the various denominations. Gay and lesbian people are not outside the grace and mercy of God; they are sinners like us all; they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we hate them we hate ourselves, we hate what God has made good and wonderful.
For those of you who believe the bible is first and foremost about Law, the laws of God, and like to pick out verses in the bible that match your own prejudices and use those to justify your hatred, your self-righteousness in thinking you know the mind of God better than Jesus, then you are not reading the bible correctly. For the great reformer Martin Luther, for example, the law of the Old Testament is simply the civil law of Israel. With the coming of Jesus we have a whole new understanding of who God is and how he works within the world. It is that Jesus who is at the center of the whole bible; we see the law through his eyes of grace and mercy.
So read about Jesus in the bible. Let yourself become involved with him. You will find yourself be drawn to his open and inviting spirit, you will be able to easily see how Jesus would be open to those who today we call gay and lesbian.
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