Anti-Gay rhetoric has spewed forth from the mouths of the church fathers for some time now. These words of hate have echoed through every aspect of society and the media. But it is as really well received as people think?
Hate is easy to maintain as long as it is impersonal. Many god-fearing, church going, gay-hating people don't know any gay people, and they don't want to know them - probably because it would give their hate a face. For those that have gay friends, it's hard to look at your friend and say "this person is an abomination."
With that in mind it seems like some of the tables may be turning within the confines of the church hall. We've already seen what is going on in the Episcopalian and Anglican churches over gays in the clergy, and now the same is happening in the Presbyterian church and other welcoming churches around the world. And while it is fueling the fight, it also shows that there ARE
people and churches out there that are willing to welcome, even if it means going against the traditions and hate espoused by others.
Now we have a similar issue going on right here in Atlanta at the Saint John's Lutheran Church. Gay pastor, Reverend Bradley Schmeling has served this congregation since 2000, but now that he has a partner, the church asked him to resign. Apparently his being gay was fine, but now that he has a partner, suddenly it's not ok. Obviously you can be gay as long as you don't do anything with it.
What makes this story interesting is that, he refused to resign. Now the church is in the uncomfortable position of having to terminate him if they want him out. To add another wrinkle, the congregation doesn't want him to go either.
"When we first brought in Bradley, we already knew he was gay. And we knew of his gifts for ministry, and his gifts for preaching and his gifts for teaching. His incredible pastoral gifts and that's what we wanted and that's what we got," said congregation president, Laura Crawley.
"We want Bradley to be our pastor, we made that decision in 2000 and we have no reason to reconsider it now," said Crawley.
Well now, doesn't that throw a monkey wrench into it? What does this tell us? I think this shows that now only can LGBT people contribute so much that a congregation is willing to let go of hate-inspired beliefs in favor of what's right and good for them, but also that some recognize that you can't have a living belief system that is never examined or changed to suit the needs and community in which it is supposed to serve. The church was always supposed to be about bringing people together to lead them on a path to whatever God they believed in. It's only selfish and power-hungry men who have continually sought to corrupt that purpose to theor own ends.
Harmony and equality are good for everyone, hate and strife only brings conflict and disunity - which do you think is better for the church, the community or the world?
We applaud Reverend Bradley Schmeling for not resigning and further applaud his congregation for standing by him. For those who are continuing to fight with all their might of oppress and persecute the LGBT community on behalf of their church like James Dobson or Pope Benedict, I leave you with this question - are you really representing and serving the people of your faith or are you serving a more selfish personal persuit?