Where are the Christians?

Recently, I’ve been involved with the group that’s been supporting the couples who could not get married in Rowan County. I was out-of-state all summer, so I only began turning up to the courthouse recently, but I’ve made many friends in that group, and it’s been really interesting to hear their viewpoints about so many things.

On Thursday, I drove to Ashland and hoped to get into the courtroom. Unfortunately, I┬ádid not get in (I think the press had half the seats!), so I joined the group of couple-supporters. All around us were so-called Christians who used all sorts of means to throw hate around. And seriously, it was pure hate and venom. The signs were professionally done (leading one to the conclusion that the holders thereof were “professional protesters”), and these guys (almost all men) knew what they were doing. The wove in and out between people in our group, then isolated them by preaching/shouting/”arguing”with them. I can’t really call what they did “proper” arguing because they simply did not listen to the other person/people. Their language was disgusting. One man, using a megaphone (several of them had megaphones, all were using them, and the cacophony of sound was just awful) was describing anal sex in detail. It was tasteless and vulgar, and there were children present. Why not describe vaginal sex in such detail? Oh no, that would be wrong. Grrr. The words are all almost the same. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing “Do you have AIDS yet?” “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah” etc… In fact, I am unable to really paint a picture of what it was like to be facing those people. A cameraman told me he couldn’t even pan the crowd because the signs were so bad, they couldn’t be shown on TV. Shame. I think people should be able to see what was being said and done in the name of Jesus.

Then, yesterday, while we stood outside the courthouse waiting for our couples to come in and get their licenses, a lady showed up. She was wearing a Lutheran-type shirt with dog collar, and I waited for her to start arguing with someone. She didn’t. She was quiet for a while, then addressed us. She was AWESOME! One of the things she pointed out was that the people on the other side of the concrete strip between us were NOT representative of all Christians, that there were many, many who did not support what Kim Davis was doing. But… this woman, together with a unitarian minister who showed up at almost the same time, was the first, and ONLY Christian clergy-person to support us. My question is, then “Where are all the Christians?”

Aren’t Christians supposed to be the salt and light of the world? There have been many hate-group-type-Christians turning up for the other side, but where were the pastors who agree with us? Where are their congregations? Why aren’t THEY bussing themselves in? Don’t they care? Is not caring what all the other Christians, “not like” the screamers and haters really do? I’m not sure that’s any better. On the one hand, the haters who feel passionate enough about something (I’m not sure what that something is in this case: homosexuality, gay rights, so-called religious freedom, martyr complexes, politics), yet on the other, the do-nothings who don’t care. Which group is better? Hmmm

Are These People REALLY Christian?

Today I went to Ashland, Kentucky. I wanted to sit in the courtroom and see what was going on in person. Unfortunately, once I went through security, up the elevator and to the courtroom, the door was shut. I ended up being the first one denied entry. After a polite exchange with the man at the door (I volunteered to stand quietly at the back!), I went back outside into the melee.

While I was lined up, waiting to not get in, the person in front of me asked who I was with. Not quite understanding, I told her I was with myself. She persisted, eventually getting out of me that I believed Kim Davis should be doing her job. She summarized “Oh, so you’re against her.” She then proceeded to question me about my morals, where they came from, the bible etc… I told her a couple of times that I really didn’t want to engage in this kind of conversation, and eventually she stopped. It bothered me no end that she was saying the sorts of things I once might have said (we’re talking 25 years ago now), and I found I had absolutely no wish to engage. I did, however, try to point out a few times that gay marriage was not the reason there was a hearing today. But she wasn’t listening. For her, it was about gay marriage, not about a state employee who isn’t doing her job, forcing her beliefs on the community, and collecting a paycheck as a result.

But, things seemed to get worse. There were people with professional signs, some of which were rude and insulting, who seemed to like to walk around and get into people’s faces. They’d tell them they were going to hell etc.. etc.., sometimes using a megaphone just a couple of feet from the chosen targets face. There was so much shouting that at time you could barely hear your neighbor when they yelled in your ear. And almost without exception, the shouters were “Christians” Some wore sandwich boards, one waved a skull draped in the rainbow flag, some preached, some handed out tracts, some waved giant bibles in the air, and, frankly, some looked as if they were almost mad with rabies.

I was shocked, upset, sad, and depressed that this was Christianity in action. I tried to imagine the Jesus I know doing that, and I just can’t. Just. Can’t. I thought about the time Jesus got really, really mad… and you know what? The only time I can think of was when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. These were the RELIGIOUS people of the day – he never got mad at regular sinners, just the religious people. I tend to think he’d have been REALLY mad at many of the people outside the courthouse today.

I had the good fortune to meet Tim Love, the guy who challenged Kentucky’s SSM ban in the Supreme Court, leading to the ruling that gays could not be discriminated against by refusing to let them marry each other. He was such a lovely, gentle, kind man. When I told him that I was so put of Christianity as a result of today, he looked genuinely sad and said that I needed to know that these people aren’t representative of true Christianity. But, are they? The more I learn about the way Christianity is practiced in this country, the more I am put off. Screaming hate to people? Salivating with anger while “preaching”? Is that really it?

In addition, as I mentioned earlier, this was NOT WHAT THE HEARING WAS ABOUT! Why won’t they all listen? It’s not about religious freedom, unless you think about it in terms of the county citizens’ religious freedom (she’s denying them theirs), and it’s not about her “standing up for her beliefs”. It’s about a woman who was elected to an office, and took an oath to uphold the constitution – and then broke it. It’s about a woman who will NOT issue ANY marriage licenses, gay or straight, yet wants to collect her full pay every week. It’s about a woman who has closed the courthouse randomly so citizens cannot get ANY business done. In short, it’s about a woman who’s breaking the law.

Those “Christians” are trying to make her into a living martyr, and a martyr she is not. They have twisted this whole affair to serve their agenda, and now we have presidential candidates siding with her… applauding her for not doing her job. I can’t help but get angry!

Anyway, there is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that I do not want to be like those people. I don’t want to be a narrow-minded, bigoted, rude, in-your-face person screaming my religious biases at other people. If that is Christianity, I’m absolutely, positively, out of there.