Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It is one of those double-edged swords that provides power, though it may be a power that creates an ever-graceful arc that glides around us until we kick ourselves in our own asses. At least once a year there is a news flash about an actor, athlete, or other well-enough known person expresses something startling enough the grab a TMZ or Twitter moment. Recent memory brings up Paula Deen and that guy from that bounty hunter show, but I’m sure there are other forgettables responsible for one of those “Did you hear what whoever said about gays or African-Americans or Mexicans or …”
And when those things are said, there are several things that happen:
- The television network or other outlet leaps into action and takes the person off the air.
- The “personality” issues an apology.
- A certain segment of society cries “bigot!” and “racist!”
- Another segment cries “Freedom of speech!”
- We eventually forget about it until a late-December yearly retrospective drags it up again.
What confuses me, however, is the reason people get upset in the first place. I’m not saying people should not get upset, but I am saying that the essence of the situation has been overlooked. In the most recent verbal explosion, a rather scraggily-looking yet rather wealthy man named Phil spouted off with the following:
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.
What he said, however, was not very original. Here’s a similar statement that has not gotten nearly as much repercussion:
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
The statements are not very different, yet the first one seems to be the subject of a very negative uproar. The second has been received quite the opposite. In fact, the second statement is part of a rather glorious celebration on a weekly, sometimes a daily basis. It is also known as 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Why is the Bible’s version revered but Phil’s version reviled? Perhaps that is what we should really be upset about.
Just about one-third of the planet is Christian. That doesn’t mean that those 2.2 billion people endorse the Bible, but it is a good start. What is not a good start is how many of those people will accept what’s in the Bible as their personal law. For example, in Judges 19:16-24, which echoes Genesis 19:1-11, a gentleman by the name of Lot invited two angels to stay in his home. A group of men saw this and came to Lot’s house, demanding he allow this group to have sex with the angel. Lot was appalled at the desire for homosexuality and attempted to quell the crowd by offering his virgin daughters.
Interesting. Let me see if I got this right. Bible wielders want us to turn to their book for lessons regarding the “wrongness” of homosexuality, and in that lesson there is a man who would prefer a group of men gang rape his virgin daughter instead of having sex with another man. I’m curious if the Sarah Palin’s of the world, those who condemn homosexuality would prefer to see female children gang raped instead.
I’m sure that many, likely most of those 2.2 billion Christians are counting on that Bible as their “death pension,” something that preserves their afterlife reservation. I’m sure they’re hoping that all that is promised will be delivered, just as it is written in their holy book in Revelation 21:4.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Perhaps what we should be upset about is not Phil. Maybe we should look more carefully at what we choose for guidance. Phil? Nah, I’m not worried about him. I’m sure he’s quite harmless as an individual, and I doubt anyone is wearing a bracelet that says “What Would Phil Do?” I can forgive him. He knows not what he speaks. At least I hope he knows not.
However, Phil is not much different from all those other people, the 2 billion plus driving in and out of church parking lots every Sunday. They, as a group, are who we should be worried about. Our neighbors, school board members, friends we ask to babysit on weekends. They who, as a group, have a greater effect on our lives. Or senators, congress people, lawmakers, judges, and other politicians. After all, every time one of them screws up, kind of like Phil did, one of the first things they do is turn to the Bible.
Yeah, the one that seems to prefer child rape instead of homosexuality.