Friday, May 31, 2013

Our Stand: Boy Scout bashing pastors deserve rebuke

  The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to rescind its ban on “openly gay” Scouts predictably stoked a mean-spirited and divisive response, notably from misguided types who mistakenly think the Bible should be used as a tool of oppression. We did not, however, expect such venom from ordained heads of churches.

  Greg Walker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Helena, Ala. told the Associated Press this week that he could not allow a group that “openly supports a sinful lifestyle” to meet in the church he leads.

  Casting every LGBT person as having a “sinful lifestyle” simply by virtue of being gay is mindless and judgmental stereotyping. It also reveals that Walker cannot articulate a justifiable reason for shunning these young men. Would it be fair to cast every pastor as a Bible-wielding bigot who advocates discrimination and prejudice?

  And if “sin,” as defined by these pastors who seem to think of themselves as arbiters of such things, is grounds for locking out these Scouts, then who else should be locked out?

  The Bible condemns everything from the consumption of shellfish to divorce. Will these pastors escort divorcees and patrons of Red Lobster to the door? According to Romans, “… all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That would include the very pastors discussed here. And exactly what sin have these Boy Scouts committed that warrants banishing them from these churches?

  Mike Shaw, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pelham, Ala. said to the Birmingham News: “The teachings of the scripture are very clear on this. We’re doing it because it violates the clear teaching of scripture.” We’re assuming Shaw and Walker have a habit of cherry-picking scripture in a feeble effort to justify bigotry while brazenly ignoring the rest of the Bible, namely mandates such as these:

“…love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” -Leviticus 19:18

“Judge not, that you be not judged." -Matthew 7:1

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12

  Penalizing children in order to pander to the hateful segment of individuals in one’s pews, and using that action as a means to score political points will never be justified. Perhaps pastors Walker and Shaw would feel more comfortable at a place like the Phelps-ridden, notorious Westboro Baptist Church.

  The Boy Scout oath demands Scouts “To help other people at all times.” It’s a noble goal and it’s a motto these so-called pastors should look into. Ironically, casting out these Scouts could be a positive for them as they will no longer be subject to the influence of unapologetic bigots who hide behind the Bible in order to promote hatred.

  We fervently hope the families and young men affected by this petty, prejudiced decision will transfer their church membership elsewhere. We hope tithe and offerings dry up at these churches until these pastors learn to act like Christians. We hope church members will reject this poorly-veiled act of hatred and political grandstanding that unfairly targets innocent young men. More importantly, we hope those who actually live as Christians as opposed to brandishing the label for self-serving and often political purposes speak out forcefully and passionately against unconscionable discrimination and bigotry of this sort. 

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

1 comment:

  1. Ever wonder why our modern translations of the Bible equate 'homosexuality' to 'eating seafood' by describing both as 'abominations'? That's because the original words used in the Bible that were later mistranslated as 'abomination' actually would more appropriately have been translated as 'non-traditional' or 'unconventional' or 'against local customs'. Now doesn't it make much more sense to say that 'eating seafood' is non-traditional or against local customs instead of saying that eating seafood is an ABOMINATION!