Jesus defended his loved onesPublished 10:07am Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I appreciate Roger M. Nelson’s sincerity in his recent letter to the editor encouraging us to follow Jesus regarding the upcoming marriage amendment. However, I would like to suggest a different point of view from the conclusions he is drawing about what Jesus would have us do.
If Mr. Nelson had consulted his pastor or some other person who understands the nature of the contexts surrounding Bible passages, he may have discovered that the Romans passage he quotes was one that Jesus never read, and if Jesus had, it’s doubtful he would agree with Mr. Nelson’s interpretation of it. Mr. Nelson would have also likely found out that the writer of this passage was not referring to homosexuality as we know it today. In fact, he would have found that there is no word or phrase in the Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew languages to describe homosexual orientation at all.
The terms used in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1, which many assume refer to homosexuality, are inadequate assumptions lacking in substance, as the Greek terminology used was referring to adult sexual activity with youth and rape, which represent abuses of power and of disrespect, not consensual activity between adults who are expressing love to one another.
I suggest that following Jesus means looking at what he said and did, and then trying to emulate that. Jesus was a liberal who defended the disadvantaged and outcasts of society (like women, prostitutes, the poor, the sick, tax collectors, etc.) from the privileged or conservative and pride-filled religious folk he would often confront (Mark 10:21; Matthew 23:23). We who are Christians would be well-advised that those whom Jesus chastised were often the self-righteous, educated and wealthy people in power who tended to see themselves as superior to those of lesser privilege.
If we want to follow the Jesus of the New Testament, we would do well to focus on feeding the poor, taking care of the sick and protecting the rights of those discriminated against in our society.
In my opinion, the government should not use legislation to prohibit the freedoms of its citizens, but to protect them. I support the right of churches to not marry gays if they wish, but they should not support the government in oppressing any minorities, gay or otherwise.
I am writing as an invitation for us to examine and follow the Jesus of Matthew 22:35-40 and Matthew 7:1, who calls us out of judgment into acceptance and love.
I join with Mr. Nelson in his enthusiasm in considering how Jesus would vote on this amendment and also caution us to be careful about what we determine that means.
I, for one, will stand with the Jesus who defends his loved ones under attack from those who think it their calling to judge and control others. I will instead choose to support and accept those needing my embrace.
I will vote “no” on the upcoming amendment.