Does God vomit at the thought of gay and lesbian people? That's the graphic image that O'Neal Dozier, pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach Florida, uses. It's radically different from the one that many of us know of a God of inclusion and love. Not vomiting but smiling on us -- all of us!
What makes Dozier's view so prominent is that he is the Honorary Chair of Rick Santorum's Florida campaign. Although Dozier believes that homosexuality is the "paramount of sins" he is an equal opportunity exclusionist. Mother Jones reveals that his Islamaphobia and local crusade against Muslims are fueled by his belief that Muslims have an agenda for taking over America. Dozier, who claims to know the mind of God on election results, has used his position on the Florida judicial nominating committee to seek "God-fearing" judges. The test for him is whether those nominees support anti-sodomy laws.
Dozier believes America should be taken over by those who share his exclusionist views and create a fundamentalist theocracy. The constitution in his view was created only for those who are a "moral and religious people." God-fearing in his view translates into a projectile God who throws up on those who do not share his religious vision. Thankfully there are other more spacious religious and spiritual paths.
Like millions of other LGBT people I feared God as a young person because of the religious messages I received that God had disdainful disgust for us. Like millions of other young LGBT people I considered suicide. That is one of the reasons that Dozier's imagery and words are destructive, not life-giving.
If the arc of spirituality bends towards inclusion Dozier's views are not part of that moral trajectory. Pew Research polls reveal approximately 65 percent of Catholics and Protestants have positive views of gays, while only 29 percent of Evangelicals do. Among post-moderns 91 percent have favorable views of LGBT people while 80 percent of them support same-sex marriage.
The moral arc towards inclusion has a foundation of spiritual wisdom from many traditions. Christian wisdom settles largely on a message of generous expansive love matched by acts of mercy, kindness and justice. The notion of repairing the world is a central underpinning in most branches of Judaism. While Buddhist philosophy is rooted in seeking the happiness or well-being of all Buddhist practice points to the inter-connectedness of all sentient beings.
Religious leaders can be found in most traditions that, like Dozier, use their position and authority to tear apart, diminish and demean others at any cost. The climate they create is quite different than that of those who beg to differ but who seek a world in which none are harmed or excluded. The bullies who cloak themselves with the mantle of the Divine are no different than schoolyard bullies who are stopped only when their behavior is challenged. That choice is in our hands.
We participate in the movement of the moral arc of inclusion when we actively engage in creating a world which acknowledges the goodness and compassion inherent in every person. A world in which imagery of a puking God is replaced with a spiritual path of generous inclusion in which there are no outcasts. That is a life-giving journey acknowledging and celebrating difference.
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