imagine.

mjkimpan  —  August 14, 2012 — 32 Comments

remember when i said that the whole chick-fil-a thing brought out the worst in us?

here’s some proof.

the following video is from pat robertson on the 700 club, saying he wishes ‘those [gay rights] demonstrators would just shut their mouths.’

that, after he had already made the argument,

‘i defy these homosexuals to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on.’

i’m not making this up. watch for yourself ::

before we excuse this as ‘fringe’ and not representative of the whole of evangelical christianity, here are a few statistics about the influence pat robertson, CBN and the 700 club have (from their website) ::

• in production since 1966, the 700 club is one of the longest-running television programs in broadcast history. the 700 club can be seen weekdays in 96 percent of US television homes, and has an average daily audience of nearly 1 million viewers.

• CBN (christian broadcast network) broadcasts currently reach over 100 nations in dozens of languages, and are viewed by more than 360 million people each year. CBN has established international centers in cambodia, canada, costa rica, germany, ghana, hong kong, india, indonesia, mexico, various countries in the middle east, nigeria, peru, the philippines, south africa, thailand, ukraine and the united kingdom.

• on average, more than 11,000 people call CBN’s toll-free prayer line daily.

yet pat robertson and the 700 club aren’t the only voices within evangelical christianity bullying and marginalizing the gay community.

• glenn beck’s ‘Restoring Love‘ pre-convening meeting included a speech from harry jackson in which he said, ‘we need to take back the rainbow‘ from the gays before they ‘recruit your children‘ (this was met with cheering, laughter and a standing ovation from the crowd).

• WorldNetDaily columist and regular Fox News guest erik rush warned in a column that ‘the left wants christians to become scapegoats’ and targets believers for ‘extermination.’ in a post titled ‘German Jews and the Chick-fil-A Flap‘ he likened the protests for marriage equality surrounding chick-fil-a earlier this month to a reappearance of the nazi party’s tactics against germany’s jewish population, saying :: ‘the goal here is absolute power, the primary objective to supplant God with government.’

Mission America’s linda harvey, in a radio segment encourages parents to refuse to allow gay and lesbian doctors or nurses to care for their children. this is the same woman who lamented the obama administration lifting a travel ban in 2009 that would allow people whom had tested HIV positive to enter the united states.

the list goes on. this isn’t fringe, folks. this is mainstream.

it’s no wonder many in the gay community fear ‘christians.’

i believe most self-proclaimed christ followers, if they actually thought about it, have no real desire to marginalize or oppress anyone – even the gay community.

it seems me that even a cursory glance into the gospels would unveil oppressing, mocking or bullying anyone – even those deemed as ‘sinners’ – would be contrary to what jesus did.

but think about it. imagine - what is communicated to the gay community when you post pictures of the masses lined up for a chicken sandwich? imagine – what is communicated when we support organizations that publicly mock gays, as pat robertson did in the clip above? imagine – what is communicated when the statement, ‘we need to take back the rainbow from the gays before they recruit your kids,‘ is met with boisterous applause?

imagine what it would be like if the gay community stopped hearing voices defending (or ignoring) those like pat robertson and the 700 club, and began to hear a growing population of christians that, regardless of their theological perspective on the topic of homosexuality, just wanted to love. after all, isn’t that what jesus said we ought to be known for?

by this all men will know that you are my disciples — if you have love for one another.

the marin foundation exists to build bridges between religious groups and the LGBT community in a non-threatening way, through biblical and social education, scientific research and diverse community gatherings. if you’re interested in finding a way to follow jesus as you engage the gay community, president and founder andrew marin’s book is a great place to start.

as i’ve said elsewhere, it’s a great read… and does an excellent job of showing that it really isn’t as simple of a conversation as ‘the bible says it, i believe it, that settles it.’ if anything, it helps elevate the conversation between the evangelical and gay community… which is good for any of us that want to be taken seriously in the conversation.

and perhaps it can help us imagine what it would be like to engage the gay community in a way in which they are actually drawn to the love of christ, rather than put off by an expression of our tasteless intolerance.

love is an orientation :: elevating the conversation with the gay community
by andrew marin

what do you think?