The Marin Foundation says sorry for what Christianity has done to gays at the Chicago Pride Festival - Photo credit http://www.themarinfoundation.org/imsorry/

The Christian Lobby doesn’t speak for Christians

If there were a “TV addicts anonymous”, I would probably join it.  I love television.  Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.  But I do watch a fair bit of morning television, middle of the day television and evening television.

But I never watch reality TV though; it’s awful.

My husband is a fairly typical man – he loves sport.  He will watch anything sport related on television.  And, usually I walk out of the room whenever football, soccer, boxing, basketball or any other sport is on.  He even loves every sports channel on pay tv.  Like most men, he yells at the players and coaches and abuses the referees as if they can hear him.  He knows that they can’t, but he continues anyway.  I guess he feels frustration that the players aren’t doing as well as they can – that they are losing their games because they are focussing on the wrong things.

Sport isn’t the only thing I refuse to watch.  I also refuse to watch current affair programs because they are mostly whinges.  And I do something surprising for a Christian – I usually walk out of the room whenever anyone from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is interviewed on television.  In the moment that I see an ACL member being interviewed, I completely understand my husband’s frustration.  I see the potential for good in Wendy Francis, Jim Wallace, and Lyle Shelton, but they focus on the wrong things.

According to Homelessness Australia, 105,000 Australians are homeless on any given night (36 per cent of whom are kids aged 12-24).  The news shows us the same thing night after night: people come to Australia in leaky boats, risking life and limb, looking for safety and a better life.  Then there is the gap between indigenous Australians and the rest of the community in terms of health outcomes and bone-crushing poverty.  But, where is the ACL?  On these issues they are stone-cold silent.  Where is their compassion for the homeless?  Where is their concern for refugees?  Why don’t they ever talk about closing the gap?

I could go on and on about the social problems in our country – there are so many things that need the focus of Christians.  And yet the self-appointed peak-body representing Christians stays silent. They could be working quietly, but aren’t these the issues that Jesus told us to work on?  Wouldn’t you expect that in these areas Christian voices should be the loudest?

But all the ACL wants to talk about are the evils of homosexuality.

Christians have done great things in the past to right social wrongs.  We started the first schools, the first hospitals, the first orphanages, the first refugee programs, the first homelessness programs and the first to go into jails to reach out to those who are cut off from the rest of society to name just a few.  Yes, the many sects of my religion have also made mistakes in the past and I am the first to stand up and acknowledge them.   And, of course there are some people who have hidden behind religion as an excuse to indulge in evil: the Spanish Inquisition and Stolen Generation are not amongst Christianity’s finest hours.

Not long ago I saw a photograph of Catholic Bishops standing alongside Nazis with raised arms in salute to Adolph Hitler.  The Bishops (as individuals) didn’t look particularly happy about it.  They may have been forced to salute to save their lives or their positions in society.  If I’m honest I find it hard to condemn them, sometimes I wonder if I would have gone along with it?  Its’ easy to say that I wouldn’t have – but you don’t really know how you would react in any situation but unless you are actually there.  I hope I wouldn’t have saluted.

Catholic Bishops give Nazi salute

During world-war II, The Catholic Church signed a treaty with the Nazi Regime (called the Reichskonkordat). The Bishops in Germany were required to give the Nazi salute. Photographer unknown.

The Catholic Church hierarchy signed a treaty with the Nazi regime called the Reichskonkordat: in my opinion this agreement is unforgivable betrayal of Christ’s legacy.   The Church stood by while thousands of Jews, handicapped, gypsies, blacks and homosexuals were persecuted and then murdered for being who they were.  We could look at it as people doing they best they could under the weight of history, but some times it feels like we haven’t learnt from this shameful chapter.

It continues even today:  people are persecuted for religion, race, gender and/or sexual orientation, which is nothing new.   It’s the reason so many people are fleeing their homelands and coming here on those leaky boats we see on the news every night.

The ACL have the media clout to stand up for these innocents, but instead it has chosen to be the loudest voice in Australia (both joyful and relentless) in its persecution of the homosexual community.  To me, this is as unforgivable as ignoring those hopeless cries in Germany, Poland, Russia, Austria and the Slavic countries during World War II.

Sometimes I have other things on my mind and might get caught in front of the TV while a representative of the ACL prattles on.  I do, on occasion, stop for a moment to watch and listen.  They misquote and twist Bible verses and strain to convince the world that every Christians across Australia (and God himself) oppose marriage equality.  They go on and on with words of divisiveness and even worse, they use the name of Jesus to spread their special brand of hate fuelling mistrust of Churches, undermining hundreds of years of hard work and commitment by dedicated Christians.

I wish the ACL would open their hearts and minds, and stop focusing on private matters that don’t concern them.  Why can’t the ACL focus on righting the real wrongs that confront our country? I have even prayed for their enlightenment.  However, like my husband, I end up yelling at the television. I know they can’t hear me but I am so unspeakably frustrated – they are fumbling the ball and taking our attention away from the real problems of our country.   In my opinion, if the ACL put their combined resources into showing compassion to the real needy of this country, then surely, a great deal would be done to alleviate needless suffering.  They might even help rebuild the respect that Christianity has lost.

There is a saying the squeaky wheel gets the most oil and I think the same goes for the ACL.  They squeak, squawk and whinge and they get the attention of the Australian media.  The rest of us go about our business, quietly showing compassion, love and spreading peace in the name of Jesus, because that is what He has called us to do.

Let me make it clear: the ACL doesn’t speak for me and it doesn’t speak for the average Christian.  Christians may not agree on every issue but we do agree that all people should be treated with respect and dignity because we are all God’s children.

Yes, even the homosexuals.

 

Would you like to know what the Bible really says about homosexuality?

 

Bev Caddy is a proud Christian who lives with her husband of 31 years, one of her two adult sons (the other lives in Sydney), and her dog and cat in a small bayside village north of Newcastle.  She is active in both her church and community and is a self confessed Social Media addict. Bev has writes a blog on Christianity from her point of view http://puzzlingthegates.blogspot.com.au/ and you can find her short stories and poetry at http://bev.authorshaunt.com/   Follow her on Twitter @Beviesplace.  

 

Editor’s Note – We shamelessly lifted this feature image from The Marin Foundation – it is a Christian organisation that has dedicated itself to saying how “mainstream” Christianity treats the LGBTIQ community.  I am very thankful to them (and to Bev) for standing up.  Visit the Marin Foundation’s website for more information on the “I’m Sorry” Campaign.

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