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First Congregational UCC, Battle Creek, Michigan

Show Your Support of Battle Creek’s LGBTQ Community–Sign Here

The Battle Creek Enquirer recently published a letter to the editor entitled, “The Bible is Clear About Homosexuality.” The letter contained harmful theology and misrepresents the God of love we worship.

 

Click here to read the letter to the editor.

Click here to sign the letter of affirmation and support of local LGBTQ identified people. 

Jaimie Fales, First Congregational Church’s administrator, submitted the following to the paper in response:

The word of G-d is Clear About Hateful Bigotry

With all the confusion in the world caused by fear and hatred, there are all these Christians who confuse things further by misrepresenting the Christian G-d of love.

I was surprised to find such hateful vitriol in my local newspaper while reading Mr. McIntosh’s letter to the editor (“The Word of God is Clear on Homosexuality”). Firing off such a letter to the editor could leave one with a feeling of self-righteousness. If nothing else, perhaps Mr. McIntosh feels as though he did something to prove to G-d just how vehemently he upholds what he read in the Bible.

But does he? Really?

The Bible is not a book to be taken lightly. Along with other religious texts such as the Quran, there are cultural and historical nuances on every page. Scriptures within the same book disagree with one another, scholars make translation errors and authors can get things wrong. This doesn’t mean that G-d isn’t able to communicate with us. This doesn’t make the Bible less holy.

It means we have to be more careful with how we treat it. If we aren’t careful, we will pick out certain passages without looking at the whole of the book to discern truth.

So perhaps, Mr. McIntosh skipped a few parts. Allow me to provide a bulleted list:

  • The passage mentioned in the previous letter to the editor from the book of Leviticus is also “clear” about the fact that I should kill my three year old son. It mentions putting to death children who curse their parents. Where are the letters to the editor about the importance of  killing my feisty son (that is, if calling me a “stinky butt” counts as cursing me)? The passage also mentions that we should kill those who commit adultery. Imagine what a literal application of your religious beliefs could mean for the population levels of the city of Battle Creek alone.
  • The book of Ezekiel offers another explanation of Sodom’s demise: “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (16:49) Why is it no one threatens eternal fiery punishment for not feeding the poor? No one seems to be sending passages of Scripture about that to political offices when programs aimed at curbing poverty are slashed from budgets (while money is always found to promote war.) But the church I work at receives hateful voicemail messages or hateful literature (even selective passages of Scripture) because of our views on same sex love. If Biblical inerrancy is really at the heart of conservative evangelical fervor, then all would be treated equally. For some reason, Mr. McIntosh and many, many conservative evangelicals I know are so afraid of “the gays” that they speak out against us but are largely silent about what other sexual “lifestyles” they disapprove of. This is hypocrisy and bigotry. Both of which are clearly addressed in Scripture and especially by Jesus himself.
  • G-d’s love is overwhelmingly clear throughout the Bible as opposed to the handful of verses about same sex love. I could point to at least 60 verses about G-d’s love specifically. Even more about the Christian’s responsibility to love others. It is elevated above all else in numerous passages. One of the most well known passages would call conservative evangelical views on homosexuality just noise. Noise to be ignored and tuned out (See 1 Corinthians 13).

Conservative evangelical views on same sex love are dangerous because of their unique beliefs about the Bible and it’s literal interpretation. Such interpretation of the word of G-d has historically been used to support atrocities against humanity like genocide, rape and slavery. Not only does this view of the Bible give license to hatred, it leads one away from love toward fear. Fear that leads to suicide and depression and so much more. Furthermore, I cannot tell you the number of people I know that echo the same story: a story of how conservative evangelicalism and their views on same sex love have irrevocably damaged people. It isn’t prophecy. It isn’t just a divergent religious view. It is harmful and hateful.

As a Christian, I cannot sit by and let the fear and hatred in the hearts of others nor their twisted, erroneous views of the Bible represent my G-d and the love that is so freely shared in the queer, Christian community in Battle Creek. The gay lifestyle that I encounter in my faith community is one of love, commitment and joy.

I choose to live my life and love both men and women despite stigma and hatred and even the potential for violence. My “lifestyle” is one of love and community with others in Battle Creek who work toward and even fight for a better world. I will not live in fear because fear will not change the world.

Because I don’t want my son living in a world where he’s afraid he will be killed for calling me a stinky butt nor vilified for loving whomever he wants.

If you want a better world and stand in lovingly support of queer identified Battle Creek community members, here’s a chance to show it. Visit First Congregational Church of Battle Creek’s website or Facebook page and click the link to add your name (or business/organization name) to the list.

6 Comments

  1. A well written response to an uninformed opinion. Very glad to hear about a loving, caring God instead of a hateful one.

  2. Thank you for this response to a harmful and hateful letter, Jaimie.

  3. Well written, well informed, thank you Jaimie.

  4. As the senior pastor of First Congregational Church, I am honored and humbled to serve a faith community that seeks to embody the radical hospitality of Jesus and cherish the beautiful diversity that is part of God’s good creation. Thank you Jaimie for articulating the ethic of our faith community so beautifully.

  5. Thank you for writing this response to the letter you sited. I agree with you that Christian faith requires love from us, not judgment. Scripture must always be read in historical and social context. It would be foolish to attempt to follow all of scripture literally, and is hypocritical to choose only passages that condemn LGBTQ people while ignoring other passages within the same chapter of the Bible.

  6. Nice job. I too am appalled and disgusted at his letter to the editor.