Last November at the Church of God in Christ's 107th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Andrew Caldwell stood at the front of the auditorium and infamously declared, "I ain't gay no more. I am delivered! I don't like mens no more. I said I like women. Women women women women!" and went on to add, "I would not date a man! I would not carry a purse! I would not put on make-up! I will, I will love a women." To add insult to injury, not long after Andrew shouted these words, the presiding pastor declared, "God said he's going to bless you because of your commitment. Just to prove it, He just told me to give you $100." The spectacle of the scene reminded me of the many hyperemotional evangelical Christian services of my youth. We spent so much time trying to convince our souls that God hated us and we needed to get saved. Upon having a salvation experience, our next job was to convince our souls that God hates everyone that church leaders did. If we hated properly, either our self or our neighbors, we would be rewarded, just like Andrew was. Unfortunately, Christians in our nation have consistently built churches and denominations to reflect this cycle of hate. When anyone stops and questions the lunacy of it all, they are dealt with severely.
When Drew Cortez came out, his father Danny lovingly accepted him. If not for the Southern Baptist Convention, this would be a beautiful story of a father's love for his child. When this story started to receive attention, the Southern Baptist Convention kicked New Heart Community Church out for retaining Danny Cortez as their pastor after he accepted his son. In addition to Pastor Danny, a local Baptist association in Huntsville, Alabama affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention recently moved toward kicking out Weatherly Heights Baptist Church for not kicking out Rev. Dr. Ellin Jimmerson, who performed one of the first same-sex marriages in Alabama.
If you are tempted to assume that Southern Baptists have a monopoly on hate, United Methodists have regularly disciplined ministers for performing same-sex marriages, including the infamous case of Frank Schaefer that has played out over the last 14 months. Just recently, the Evangelical Covenant Church pulled funding, support and fellowship from a church plant in Portland. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has a firm policy of not hiring people in same-sex relationships. World Vision also discriminates against persons in same-sex marriages. From mainline to evangelical churches to Christian organizations to everything in between, the stories are endless and hate still seems to have a strong foothold in the national Christian conscience.
Unfortunately for those who love hate and fortunately for those who love love, judgment day is rapidly approaching. The signs of the times are all around us. Court after court and judge after judge has ruled in favor of marriage equality and wider interpretations of civil rights. Recently, even Clarence Thomas spoke of marriage equality as a forgone conclusion. I believe we can expect a national marriage equality from the Supreme Court in June. So what is a Christian to do in such a circumstance? The short answer is to get saved.
We are about to see the beauty of love set free. Now is the time to learn how to choose love over hate. Now is the time for the people of God to get delivered from these hateful ways of being. I call on all Christians to lay down your scriptures, dogmas, doctrines and interpretations long enough to learn how to love your neighbor as your self. With 5 months left until the Supreme Court decision, the end of societal protection of hate is near and you don't want to get left behind.