I am getting more and more angry at organized religion.
I know, I know. Sounds kind of weird coming from me, seeing as how I am an ordained minister, a pastor at that. But there is a difference between religion and God, between religious dogma and God’s love, and I find myself screaming in my spirit when I read what organized religion does to people.
The latest story, or maybe stories, concern “the church” and gay people. There is a Catholic school which is refusing to re-enroll the child of a lesbian couple;the child is six years old. And Catholic Charities in Washington D.C. has decided to end its adoption and foster care programs because it doesn’t want to have to serve gay couples.
I am flabbergasted and saddened… and mad.
I take some heat, trust me, for standing up for the rights of gay people, but it is the right thing to do. I keep remembering one of my favorite movies, “The Long Walk Home,” where a white woman suffered horribly as she stood up for black people and gave her maid a ride to work (her home) and took part in demonstrations of what were then called “colored people” as they fought for their rights.
When you stand up for people who are being oppressed, you get socked.
But what is the choice,the alternative, if you believe in God? The God I believe in is the God of us all. God made all of us, loves all of us, wants the best for all of us. I am reading Jon Meacham’s book, “American Lion,” a book about President Andrew Jackson,who, though he called himself a man of and for the people, considered Native Americans worthy of being removed, by any means necessary, so that the new American government could have their land.
It makes me sick.
Either God is good or God is not. There is no middle ground. Either God is love or God is not. God cannot “sort of” love us and God certainly cannot ordain the way we treat people who are different. What is the hue and cry really about when it comes to homosexuality? Gay people are American citizens. They have fought for this country and died for this country,and yet,this country treats them like they are …the scum of the earth …and organized religion, that institution which is supposed to represent God and God’s love, treats them the same.
People say “the Bible says …” and then they give the couple of verses they have been taught without bothering to learn the history or understand the culture when those words were written. They say homosexuality is an abomination, but fail to mention all the other things which the Bible lists as abominations.
Meanwhile, some of God’s children weep and suffer …at the hands of organized religion.
Do not get me wrong. I am no hero and people I try to defend in the name of God hold no loyalty to me. I am an African American woman, and I have had gay men reject me and my ministry because I am a woman. Organized religion, at it again. People use the words of Paul to justify sexism as well. So, the oppressed practice the oppression they know so well.
But I still cry out in my spirit for what organized religion does to too many people. Where is God in the hatred,the oppression, the discrimination? Why is it that more people are not willing to stand up for the God they say they love and worship? Why aren’t more people willing to take a long walk home in the name of divine love and justice?
I just don’t get it. I probably never will.
That’s a candid observation.