By Michael Bryan
I have heard anti-gay sentiments too often from GOP candidates for office in Arizona. Frank Antenori has been one of the most vocal and blunt here in southern Arizona, but he is certainly not alone. I find it all distasteful, offensive, and scripturally indefensable.
Frank's recent comments about the Left loving to tear families apart in connection with his support for traditional marriage against same-sex marriages, and his blunt statements against repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the armed forces, lead me to conclude that, at the very least, Frank has a problem with gays getting equal treatment under our laws.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's candidacy for Congress was certainly, and rightly, sunk by the scandals in which he has immured himself. But one wonders, would he have been able to weather those storms with GOP primary voters were his lover a young Latina woman? I believe that Babeu's downfall was not his indiscretion, poor judgment, and potential abuses of power - after all, these seem to be par for the course among GOP politicians in Arizona - but his sexual orientation.
Too many GOP politicians find they can get support and donations by appealing to Christians' discomfort with gays. What is the basis of that ingrained bigotry against gays by Christians?
Turns out it's just six passages in scripture - out of some 31,000 passages. How strong is the Biblical basis for anti-gay prejudice? Not very.
Take a listen to Matthew Vines, an impressively articulate and thoughtful Christian gay man, who would like to challenge your settled notions of what the scriptures actually say about homosexuality.
Matthew's scholarship is impressive. It boils down to this:
"The Bible never directly addresses, and it certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships. There is no biblical teaching about sexual orientation, nor is there any call to lifelong celibacy for gay people. But the Bible does explicitly reject forced loneliness as God’s will for human beings, not just in the Old Testament, when God says that “[i]t is not good for the man to be alone,” but in the New Testament as well."
There is no sound foundation for condemnation of the sexual orientation and loving relationships of homosexuals in the Bible. Homophobia's popularity among Christians is merely the last terrible bigotry that remains acceptable in our culture, because many claim the Bible condones it. It does not.
The bitter truth is that bigots will find a reason to indulge their hatred, not because God commands it, but because deep in their hearts, they enjoy it. Their hatred is a reflection of the fallen nature of man. They know hatred and bigotry are not reflections of the godly nature granted humans by their Creator, but rather than be ashamed and purge their hatred through compassion and understanding and the inspiring life of Jesus, they seek to justify their hatred by claiming God shares it.
God hates none of his creation; certainly not the many men and women he created in his image whose hearts and souls, and libidos, respond only to persons of the same sex.
The capacity to love one another, to cleave together, to create loving families, is the godly nature of mankind. To condemn this capacity in some, because God gave them a loving nature different than the majority is not Christian: it is monstrous.
Matthew points out that Jesus taught that we shall know a true teacher by his fruits. The shame, self-destruction, suffering of young gay men and women are the bitter fruits of a misguided teaching. Spit it out.
Watch Matthew present his argument after the flip. If you can still bring yourself to claim God's consent to your hatred of gays, you haven't a heart to appeal to...