This week I read a blog entry which really touched me. I will provide its link at the end of my comments. I also had a conversation with a friend about using the Bible as a weapon. I’d never heard that phrase before, but I think he’s absolutely right that many Christians do this today. We need not look any further than a saying that to my knowledge has no Biblical roots which says, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin”. I’d like to ask if that is what is really being done, and if we aren’t doing that in some cases, why not.
My purpose here is not to argue what is and isn’t sin, but let’s start with the assumption many Christians do — that gay sex acts are a sin. Even I don’t think there are too many Christians who would argue that every human being on earth is a sinner in one way or another. Even if every gay person in the whole world disappeared tomorrow, every human being on this earth would still be a sinner. So why are we singling them out as sinners by making them feel unwelcome in our churches? One person told me she wants to welcome them without affirming what they’re doing, and frankly, I think that’s pretty easy for the average church-goer to accomplish. But fingers are pointed, the yard sticks come out in the form of quotes in the Bible. By doing anything which singles out gay people, we are doing more than hating their sin.
And let’s not forget our politicians who are being denied the Eucharist, because of how they vote on a particular issue. Once again, an example of hatred — or at least withdrawal of love — is occurring, because of what others view as their sin. The argument is made that by voting not to legislate abolition of abortion, they are responsible for killing babies. I wonder about all the people who didn’t vote to set limits on the kinds of guns and put more background checks in place on who buys guns in the last few days? Are we willing to say they are just as responsible for all the people unjustly killed? This is a very similar scenario, but you never hear about those people being denied the Body of Christ. How about those voting in favor of the death penalty? It doesn’t occur to people to deny them communion, does it? In the Catholic tradition, we all admit we are unworthy before going up to receive communion. But by denying communion to anyone, those being denied are being branded as even more unworthy.
I am not advocating denial of the Eucharist to anyone due to their sins, because frankly, if that is a reason for denial, then no one should receive communion. If we are all sinners, then how about doing as Christ encourages and looking at the log in our own eyes before trying to remove the speck in the eye of our brothers and sisters?
Lest everyone think I’m picking on conservatives (which I admit is probably true above) let me make something else clear. Just as we shouldn’t use a yardstick to examine others’ sin, we also shouldn’t use acceptance as a litmus test either. I have trouble with the rainbow sash campaign. People write letters to the celebrant (usually a bishop) saying they will be wearing a rainbow sash as a person who is in the GLBT community or allied with them. They will walk up to see if they will be given or denied the Eucharist. I don’t care which political side one is on, Using the Body of Christ by denial or testing to see if one will be denied is putting politics above Sacrament. I won’t point fingers and say that is sinful, but I do ask whether this use of the sacrament or any Bible passage against a certain group of people is really stopping at hating the sin. It seems to me that it is a lot closer to hating the sinner. Furthermore, do we really have any business hating sins other than our own? It seems to me that hating and conquering our own sins should keep us busy for all of our lives.
Now, here’s the link to the blog entry I promised at the beginning of this article.