Erskine College is the latest to use God's Word to promote hatred. Wai Sallas wonders, when will love conquer hate?
This past week, Erskine College came out as an openly bigoted institution by publicly stating they do not want Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender students and those who are enrolled will be disciplined. The South Carolina supposed place of higher learning issued a statement that students are "expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position."
I'm curious, will Erskine College stop serving pork chops or bacon since "it is unclean?" - Leviticus 11:7.
On admissions day, will Erskine College ask every male to drop his pants since "Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant?" - Genesis 17:14.
I wonder if Trustee Dody Morris is there for her looks since "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says?" - 1 Corinthians 14:34.
I did not grow up in an openly religious household. Our Sundays, however, were spent like most typical families in America. We woke up, ate breakfast and drove to church. Where my story differs is once at church, my mom would kiss me on the cheek walk me in the doors, get back in her car and drive home.
I assumed she had already met the prerequisite of Jesus stories and therefore had graduated from church. In fact, the only time I saw my mom in church was when I had a church choir recital, or my Sunday school class was putting on a play.
That all changed when my Dad and I started to explore God together. I watched the word of God and the unabashed love of Jesus sweep over my Dad and turn him from an abusive alcoholic to a God fearing, responsible human being. I grew a huge man crush on Jesus during that time. As I watched my Dad transform his life, I too looked to change mine.
For a while, my dad, mom and I were all going to church. We had all received God's love and we were all better for it. That's before the hate started to seep in. That was before people had the crazy notion that all people, regardless of color or sexual orientation deserved the same rights. My mom quickly soured and left church. She couldn't understand how the God that she was now being taught was one of hate. My dad was torn, unable to find the middle ground with the people he met in everyday life and the sermons he was now preaching as pastor of his own church.
The God and religion Erskine College speaks of is not the God and religion that I follow. When Fox News and the Religious Right speak of the "War on Religion" they don't realize they are engaging in a battle where the only casualty are the innocent followers who love God for his love, not his judgement.
There is a reason more and more people are turning away from organized religion. In a recent report on NPR, one-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated -- higher than at any time in recent U.S. history -- and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don't belong to any religion.
Who wants to engage in a communion of hate? Who wants to believe in a community that persecutes friends, families and loved ones?
In our history, religion has been used in the name of war from the Crusades all the way to the terrorism that threatens our current life with Al Qaida and ISIS. Yet we still preach hate, we still detract the educated with an archaic and biased ideology that picks and chooses what biblical laws we dub as scripture and which verses we throw out and ignore.
What those who so ardently speak of being victims of their religion fail to see is they are in direct opposition of God's Word.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" - John 13:34
The sad part is Drew Davis and Juan Varona felt love at Erskine College. The two were volleyball players at the college had found acceptance from their teammates and the community. Davis and Varona helped lead the Flying Fleet to an NCAA tournament bid in just the program's second year of existence.
"I have never received anything but kind treatment from everyone at this school," he said after Erskine College released their statement.
"I feel that in the time that we are living right now," he continued, "where even in the conservative state of South Carolina same-sex marriage is legal, the school took several steps back instead of progressing towards a future where everyone can be treated as an equal, which is a future most of the county is moving towards."
According to UCLA's Williams Institute review, there are over 9 million people who identify themselves as gay. That doesn't include the millions too afraid to come out due to institutions like Erskine College that outwardly persecute gays.
It's bad enough 20 percent of [LGBT students] fear for their physical safety due to their gender identity or their perceived sexual orientation, according to The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. They now have to deal with established institutions promoting this hate mongering.
As a Christian, I stand in embarrassment at what some in my religion deem as right and "godly." It's the reason I have searched for 8 years, trying to find a church that promotes God's love without exacting man's judgment.
The most famous bible verse is "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. It's plastered everywhere from sporting events to fast food drink cups. It's a shame that for certain Christians, the world they perceive is different than the one God loves.
By: Wai Sallas, Sports Editor, The Good Men Project
Photo Credit: Facebook
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