There's been much ado this week about the call by anti-gay activist Bryan Fischer for an "underground railroad" that would effectively abduct children from same-sex parents. According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Fischer tweeted that he believes it's his duty to Christ to steal the children of gay people and same-sex couples, noting that "we need an Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households," and concluding, "We must obey God's law, not man's law," at the end of the video posted by his organization, the American Family Association.
And because statements like that get headlines like this one in the Toronto Tribune -- "US pastor advocates kidnapping children from same-sex homes" -- people like me feel the need to step up and say things like this: Kidnapping is not a traditional Christian value!
Clearing that up is not only in the service of defending same-sex families, who, as long as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act exists, already deal with not being equally protected by the equal protection guaranteed all Americans by their Constitution, and who now have to cope with the so-called American Family Association turning their children into fair game in the culture wars. It is also about recognizing that if people like me don't step up and set the record straight when a radical like Bryan Fischer hijacks the Good News of God's inclusive love and turns it into a weapon to hurt rather than a message to heal, then we have no room to complain when more and more people think they know enough about being a Christian not to want to be one. And who can blame them? If the only thing I knew about Christians was what I read in The New Civil Rights Movement or the Toronto Tribune, I wouldn't want to be one, either!
There is, of course, a broad spectrum of beliefs, practices, and theologies within Our Big Fat Christian Family, just as there is in any faith tradition. I am arguably part of the more liberal end of the spectrum, as a lesbian priest in the Episcopal Church serving a multicultural congregation committed to putting its faith into action by living out the values of love, justice, and compassion through ministries committed to peace and justice in an interfaith context. But my point today is that you don't have to be where All Saints Church in Pasadena is on the spectrum to step up and speak out when Christian values are perverted the way Bryan Fischer has perverted them.
Because here's the deal: There are good people of deep faith who read the same scriptures and come to different conclusions about a whole variety of issues. And then there are dangerous people of deluded faith who have projected their biases onto God and are so convinced that they have sole possession of the absolute truth that facts don't matter, laws don't matter, and the rights of those who disagree with them certainly don't matter.
And it is long past time for the rest of us -- for all the rest of us -- to claim our power by speaking out, standing up, and calling out the toxic rhetoric of the Bryan Fischers of the world for what it is: antithetical to the life, witness, and Gospel of Jesus; contrary to authentic Christian values; and not of God.
It should go without saying that kidnapping is not a traditional Christian value, but given that it apparently does need to be said, if we don't say it, who will?
Follow Rev. Susan Russell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/revsusanrussell