The other night, as I spoke at the ISD on domestic partner benefits, I was not surprised to hear boos and hisses when I mentioned that Jesus never said anything against homosexuality. I was on the clock, so I couldn’t use the moment to teach Bible 101, but I remembered how many Christians get their view of religion from a preacher, and how few get it from Jesus.
Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek, to share our world fairly with all, and to refuse to sit in judgment over others. How different Christian history would be had we been able to prevent ignorant bullies from taking over our faith. Our story would not be stained with the blood of innocents had not bullies like Constantine taken over and changed a call to love into an absurd faith claim that no one could test and which could only be defended by coercion. Constantine conquered Christianity not by the sharpness of his understanding, but by that of his sword.
What the Constantinians who call themselves “Christian” most have to fear is that, in the middle of the book they wave in the face of their enemies, is a sermon by one who called himself “a friend of sinners.” It is a little homily called the Sermon on the Mount by the one they say they follow, but who said he had come not to judge but to serve.
So, whenever you speak on human rights in the name of Jesus, do not be surprised to hear “boos” from Christians whose claim to special privilege feels to them like a holy calling. Remember that they are good people who have been besotted with fear. They have good minds, but because they believe in the cruel Christ of Contantine, they also fear the fires of hell and would sell out their grandmothers to avoid it.
Sometimes it is those who lift highest the Cross of Christ to which the humble words of Jesus sound most heretical. So when you are being biblically assaulted for promoting kindness, remember this little dictum:
“Never assume, just because someone is beating you with a Bible, that they have read it.”