“Listen to St. Paul, not Rev. Phelps”

Johnny McKay

In the middle of Coming Out Week, and following a despicable slew of recent news stories detailing atrocities committed against homosexuals, it seems only right to shine a literary spotlight on the issue of homosexual hatred and the erroneous religious reasoning it cowers behind. Even as gay rights are further emerging and making substantial headway daily, the opposing bigotry and hatred seem to be keeping up with the progress, fueled on by a literal religious fervor of intolerance.

This week alone was oversaturated with tales of blind hatred toward the gay community, much of it ending with tragic results. Suicides brought about by anti-gay bullying, state officials terrorizing gay student government members and brutal gang violence against a gay couple were just a few of the appalling headlines. All of these attacks were perpetuated in some way by a religious intent, hilariously “”justified”” by a belief that it was part of a God-endorsed agenda. However, just a little bit of examination into the Bible reveals that all of this hatred is operating under an erroneous understanding of the Good Book.

In no way do I hate or oppose religion. Such uneducated and blind loathing would be hypocritical to the highest degree — on par with the most fundamental and ridiculous religi-nuts. Most hatred comes from a limited and overly subjective viewpoint of your enemy, and narrow-minded research will get you nowhere. I actually believe religion, in its intended and conceptual state, is a brilliant institution. When its fundamental values (the actual fundamental values) are followed, it is a beautiful and productive force, genius in its execution. Even if there is no heaven or God, the incentive of both has the power to catalyze people into doing great good in the world.

However, somewhere along the way this beneficial tribe was poisoned and twisted, and a sect of hate and evil emerged. Select scriptural passages were extracted, blown out of proportion and reason, and used to create bizzaro-agendas out of the word of God.

All of the haters, bigots and intolerant preachers of God claim to know for a solid fact that if you are gay, you aren’t getting into heaven. St. Paul would be appalled at that presumption. As he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:9: “”For we know in part and we prophesy in part,”” denoting that no man on earth knows all about the Almighty. From Pope Benedict XVI to the hate-mongering Reverend Phelps, no one has a full comprehension of the Alpha and Omega. And yet, such unwarranted confidence in their own theological prowess leads people to enact violence and injustice against the homosexual community. Even if they were completely right in their study of teachings, St. Paul refutes them still: “”If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”” — 1 Corinthians 1:1-2.

Religion without compassion is nothing. And so they multiply by zero compassion, and end up back at zero: clanging cymbals with nothing to say. Religion is a double-edged sword, and St. Paul’s teachings on compassion and knowledge are the hilt at which it is wielded — either for good or for evil.

I am fine if, due to upbringing, genetics or some unexplainable cosmic force, you are uncomfortable with homosexuality. At a certain point, there are subconscious prejudices that take a lot to overcome. However, if you try to rationalize it with misquoted fodder from the Bible, then you are ignorant, and at best a poser-Christian. Like a hipster who doesn’t know Okkervil River, or a doctor who can’t take a pulse, you are a shoddy representation of Christianity. Your hatred is baseless, absurd and frankly in direct opposition to the so-called love of mankind, all of whom were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) according to the Bible. Yes, that includes gays, bisexuals, transgenders and questioning individuals. You would do best to do a little more homework on the book that governs your life — you might learn something.

In the meantime, happy Coming Out Week. May it be wonderful and gay.

 

— Johnny McKay is a media arts senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.