There are a lot of ways that Christians differ between various denominations. Like Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and scores of other world religions; your beliefs emanate largely from your particular slice of your chosen Christian sect. This time, it would seem that I am at odds with my Christian brother Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Orange County.
It would seem that on the night of December 21st, Pastor Rick decided to record a little video ditty for his congregation, and address and people like me -- many of whom have criticized some of the crazy crap he has been spewing regarding homosexuals and our need to have equal civil rights in this country. Specifically, I and other writers, commentators, and GLBTQ luminaries; have expressed sheer outrage that Warren has compared homosexuals to pedophiles, outlawed them from joining his church, and instituted a systematic pattern of exclusion in beliefs and practices from his special "Saddleback brand" of Christianity.
Further, we called for President-Elect Barack Obama to withdraw the invitation for Pastor Rick to give the invocation at his inaugural ceremony; citing the aforementioned pattern of exclusion and homophobic commentary that has leaked from Warren's pie hole over the past several months leading up to California's Prop 8 vote. Now it would seem that Pastor Rick has thrown the verbal equivalent of kerosene on the fire right before Christmas, by referring to people who criticize him as "Christophobes."
Here's just a sampling of what Warren said during his 22-minute rambling commentary, courtesy of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC...
Okay, Pastor Rick; time to stop this stuff. You are now labeling anyone who criticizes you a "Christophobe." As a Christian who happens to be a gay man, who also happens to be a commentator and blogger, and who also comes from a long line of Christians in long-devout Christian families; I assure you...I am no "Christophobe." As a matter of fact, I'm about as much as a "Christophobe" as you are a drag queen. Now, unfortunately, I may be a "Pastor Rick-o-phobe" as Rachel cleverly coined.
Your incessant need to re-clarify your position on something that you never should have been so exclusionary in the first place, is now beginning to harm your legitimacy as a Christian leader. It threatens to cause people to just look at you and your ministry as zealotry. I mean, are you even being Christian when you call other people names?
According to my Christian upbringing, the answer would clearly be a resounding "no." The way my Christian faith follows, 1) God loves all his children, 2) has a very high tolerance for diversity and love between people in all its forms, and 3) has a very low tolerance for people who use the name of Christ for zealotry, divisiveness, and hate speech.
I am not saying at this point that you are intentionally misusing your position as a Pastor to manipulate people into believing your homophobic schlock, but I really must believe at this point that you are attempting to create your own belief-system that is diverging from the core of "Christ died on the cross to cleanse all our sins."
That's called dogma, Pastor Rick, and God frowns on a lot of dogma.
God frowns upon the clerics and zeaolts who purport to spread divisiveness, bigotry, and yes, hate. What you are doing by turning to attack your critics as "Christophobes," is manipulating the core message. You have crossed over from mere religious teaching, into preaching divisiveness and perhaps zealotry to your followers.
I don't care how many visits to West Hollywood book stores you make, how many times you scrub your church's website, or how many times you send money to Africa to fight HIV/AIDS (oh yeah, I'm HIV+ too!). Until you clean up your act as a man of God and do some repenting on this issue, I am going to continue to demand my President-Elect denounces your clerical lynching, and demand that you make an apology to all gays, lesbians, transgendered and questioning persons.
I will demand from you, my brother, as a Christian, that you do some praying about this--and then get back to us about whether you really believe that all of us who criticize you are "Christophobes." That's just name-calling, and it is not what I believe is devoutly Christian behavior. Rather, your ego is doing the talking; and not the voice of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.
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