Hatred runs amok within human culture and society. It is an irreversible and inconvertible condition of the human heart. Quoting from The Gospel of Matthew, 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.”
Logically, Holy Scripture is not wholly necessary to attest to the fact that evil thoughts – and acts – come from the human. Evil is exacted more by men than women perhaps because men have testosterone, the element of being male that drives men toward to the good and the bad.
The instrument of evil is front and center in the United States today. It is being directed fiercely against gay and lesbian culture and community. While the purveyors of such toxicity form a small population of Americans, they are virulent, vocal and highly visible. If one did not know better from the outside of U.S. culture, one could conclude easily that a majority of Americans are anti-gay and against gay rights.
That gays and lesbians by and large are seeking to enter into the rite of marriage has be-come a central factor energizing the right wing antagonisms toward the gay [LBGTQ] community. Holy Scripture is used and abused to underwrite the palpable hatred being telegraphed across the nation by opponents of gay marriage and gay rights in general.
The “why” of this somewhat isolated tsunami of hate has questionable foundations. Self-defined “Christians” who oppose gay marriage and gay rights are quick to run to Leviticus or Deuteronomy, lifting up and parsing the passages that refer to stoning “men who lie with men”. Those same “Christians” will make a fast track to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, scholars of any worth and merit will explain all too clearly the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has nothing to do with homosexuality.
Again, those very “Christians” fully ignore Jesus’ admonishing, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” In that one passage Jesus of Nazareth tosses out all the stoning codes. Selectively apportioning Holy Scripture to support one’s hate or intolerance commits an injustice and disservice to Scripture. Scripture is not an exact reflection of the human condition or the human activity. Nor is Scripture necessarily an accurate representation of “God”.
The religious foundations used to oppose or undermine gay and lesbian rights are exacted in a way that completely ignore other behavior proscriptions that humans should adhere to and abide by. While Jesus says absolutely nothing about homosexual behavior, Jesus does state that if a man divorces, he is never to remarry. With heterosexual marriages in the United States experiencing a 55% failure rate, one must admit a substantial failure in following Jesus’ instruction on the matter of divorce. Worse, 50% of second marriages fail.
If a heterosexual couple engages in sexual intercourse before marriage, both the man and the woman are to be stoned to death – if one follows the letter of the law of Leviticus. There likely are not enough “stone quarries” in the nation to provide the killing ammunition to carry out that instruction!
Jesus does remark in The Gospel of Matthew, 19, that “not all men are called to marry.” Jesus does not then go on to state those men should not have sex. Perhaps that point is moot, except for the fact Jesus goes on to talk about “eunuchs born from their mothers’ wombs”. Some scholars have written about this particular passage, concluding this to be Jesus’ acknowledgement of men who have sex with men. Eunuchs are not “born”; they are created.
The culture of hate enjoys fertile ground in right wing fundamentalist Christianity. “Love thy neighbor” is applied selectively; very selectively; if at all. Yet, such fervent hatred is not isolated to being against homosexuals. In Ireland, one finds it between Protestants and Catholics. In parts of the United States South, hatred against blacks still thrives with sinister energy. Islamists, at least those who consider themselves conservatively following Mohammad, believe that Christians and Jews should be killed as the “infidels”. In some circles, Jews are hated uniformly.
For all its good intentions, religion has found lucrative applications of hate and intolerance. Hate, it has been written, is a learned behavior. Loving to hate is seen by many as an aberration. Yet, even in Scripture it is stated how evil resides in the hearts of men and women; but, mostly in men.
Hitler convinced his Nazi followers to hate Jews and homosexuals. Yet, there were Jews and homosexuals in the German militaries. The SS and the Brown Shirts were notoriously homosexual. Stalin executed one million of Russia’s most learned intellectuals and military generals. Stalin feared and hated them as his most ardent opponents. The solution: Kill them all.
People hate based on ethnicities; nationalities; races; even family affiliations. The greatest flaw among all humans is the evil that lives within each of us. The greatest challenge for all humans is to override our inner evil and turn toward the consummate good.
In current U.S. culture, hate and intolerance thrive unabated among certain religious leaders who claim to lean on Holy Scripture while leaning only on the passages that support their virulent hatred of homosexuals. The current stable of Republican legislators is brimful of haters. The vile and venomous hatred that flows from their mouths is the most evil form of rhetoric. They incite those with a voracious appetite to “purify” society. That rhetoric represents consummate evil, and inspires those with a limited sense of the boundaries between right and wrong to act out against those they are encouraged to hate. Violent speech attracts fringe elements, elements already poisoned by their own seedbed of hatred and intolerance.
This has become a growing problem within the United States. It has become acceptable, even encouraged among some, to bare one’s soul of evil and to act on it; or to openly celebrate it. The United States has become fertile ground for allowing one’s expressed hate toward others. As a result, U.S. society has become a cesspool of evil. That evil has become palpable in many quarters, some quarters housing our most prominent personalities.
In closing, I am reminded of what my parents taught me from an early age: It you dislike a certain person, or a certain group, leave them alone. It is not your job to try to change them. Seek out and find those you like and those with whom you know you belong. Leave the rest up to God. If only human beings could be and would be so simplistic in our approach to life in general, and “leave it up to God”!