Those Who Cannot Remember The Past Are Condemned To…
It breaks my heart to know that though most of American society had come to see the enslavement of our black brothers and sisters in the mid-1800s as inhumane and unrighteous, the most vocal opponents to the abolition of slavery came from within the Church. Perhaps you would have been on the side of those Christians who voted to end slavery, but there is no denying there was a very large number of Christians who strongly believed that owning slaves was their God given right. So sharp was the divide that denominations were forever split over the issue.
According to Wikipedia:
“Passages in the Bible on the use and regulation of slavery have been used throughout history as justification for the keeping of slaves, and for guidance in how it should be done. Therefore, when abolition was proposed, many Christians spoke vociferously against it, citing the Bible’s acceptance of slavery as ‘proof’ that it was part of the normal condition.
In both Europe and the United States many Christians went further, arguing that slavery was actually justified by the words and doctrines of the Bible.
[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.
— Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America
… The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.
— Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention
In 1837, southerners in the Presbyterian denomination joined forces with conservative northerners to drive the antislavery New School Presbyterians out of the denomination. In 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church split into northern and southern wings over the issue of slavery. In 1845, the Baptists in the South formed the Southern Baptist Convention due to disputes with Northern Baptists over slavery and missions.
Some members of fringe Christian groups like the Christian Identity movement, and the Ku Klux Klan (an organization dedicated to the “empowerment of the white race”), and Aryan Nations still argue that slavery is justified by Christian doctrine today.”
Today’s modern Christian would surely bristle at the thought of fighting FOR slavery. No Christian I know would sit still for being accused of having any alignment with the Ku Klux Klan at all. That begs the question; when did The Church finally reach the conclusion that owning a human being and forcing them to live their lives in servitude was morally wrong… EVEN THOUGH THEY BELIEVED THEY HAD SCRIPTURAL BASIS TO ARGUE FOR IT?
For long after slavery was abolished (way too long) many Christians treated their black brothers and sisters as an inferior race. I remember when the marriage of a black person to a white person was considered indecent and immoral. In my own lifetime I’ve watched our culture evolve and come to recognize that race is a non sequitur in marriage. Most decent and mature people don’t think twice about mixed-race marriage these days. We came to see that what we previously believed…was simply wrong.
You may be wondering why I even bring it up now. After all, it’s a part of our regrettable history right? Wouldn’t we be better off to let bygones be bygones and allow the past to remain silently in the past? No. I don’t think so. George Santayana wisely said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
It seems to me that we are only repeating history with our war against freedom and respect for the LGBTQ community. The parallels are ubiquitous.
What did we lose when gay people gained the right to be married? What chaos has resulted? My sexuality is not threatened and neither is yours. My life has not been changed and neither has yours. I promise you that only those people who desire to be in a same sex marriage will enter a same sex marriage. And, what would we have gained if we’d been successful in defeating gay marriage? Control over the sexuality of others? Hardly. Was it just our attempt to keep them living in a state of disapproval, inferiority and alienation? Probably. But, my friends, is that righteous?
God is glorified each and every time we choose His way over anything that leads us to sin. I stand alone before God for my choices. I can’t choose for you and you can’t choose for me. I can’t bring God glory by forcing you to believe as I believe or live as I live. Forcing another person to conform to a standardized determination of God’s will is what the ancient Pharisees did to the early Church. It’s what the Europeans did to the Native Americans when they first arrived in the “New World”. Not for nothing, but the “sexuality” of the Native Americans was one of the primary reasons early settlers believed they had to be converted to Christianity. Was God glorified in that? No, He was not.
This country became a much better country when it began benefiting from the gifts and talents of our black brothers and sisters who became free to pursue exploration, education, and leadership in science, medicine, and public office to name just a few. The only people who suffered when slavery was abolished were those who built their wealth on the backs of those they enslaved.
How will our religious liberties crumble by allowing our LBGTQ brothers and sisters the freedom to pursue all the same joys in life and marriage that you do? Your religious beliefs should define and govern the decisions you make for yourself. They should not govern others.
Christ never dishonored another person. He lifted up those who were derided by society and castigated those who had mistreated them. He called the oppressed His friends. Even the criminal who hung on the cross next to Jesus was promised a place with Him in heaven. God only knows the sort of life that man led or how unworthy his crimes had made him. He reached out to Jesus and Jesus accepted him just as he was. Despite the fact that he didn’t repent or ask to be forgiven or promise to turn from his ways if Jesus would save him.
It’s not our place to say who the blood of Christ will cover and who it will not. It flies in the face of the Love we proclaim to withhold kindness, blessing, compassion and generosity of spirit to our gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender and queer brothers and sisters. MANY of whom share our Christian Faith! We are to love one another just as Christ loved us. Freely and without reservation (John 13:34). Stop treating them like they should be legally bound as slaves… to your view of Christianity. That’s not the battle you should be involved in.
Which brings me to the point:
I’m not trying to tell you what to believe. I’m trying to tell you that we are waging war with the wrong people. No doubt by the deception of the enemy, we see the LGBTQ issues as the front lines in a war on morality when in reality, our doing so has only allowed us to be flanked by the true godless who are taking ground right from under our feet. We should be standing together against the atheist movement which is parlaying political correctness into government encroachment on our religious freedoms and individual rights as Christians in the United States.
If you want to fight for The Church, turn your attention toward the attacks made on our freedom to teach what we hold to be true inside our places of worship (even if we disagree among ourselves on what capital T truth is). We should be far more outraged by attacks made against our right to pray and share the Gospel on government owned property and public places. If you want to take a stand, stand against atheist attacks made against Christian schools and their ability to receive government funding. And we darn sure ought to fight against the efforts being made to scrub the foundation of our nation from all evidence that it has always been “In God We Trust” in America.
It’s one thing for you to be against gay marriage, quite another for a minister to be legally bound to officiate one even if they really and truly believed they’d be going against God’s will to do it.
What is more important; the national freedom of religion, religious expression and religious protections under the law OR fighting over who gets to marry whom or who gets to use which bathroom? One has little if any effect on your life and the other could mean the end of life as we know it as Christians in the United States.
We are being attacked on all sides and we’re spending all our energy trying to enslave people whom God made free. Never before has the phrase “Mind your OWN business” had greater consequence.
It’s a Free Country. Let’s keep it that way.
In His love and service,