Spiritual bullying is deadly. Children are listening when religious leaders call gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people sinners. Children hear them when they shout "abomination" from the pulpit, when they scream, "Thou shalt not!"
There is no turning back when a child has heard he or she is evil one too many times. No prayer, no line from a book written by men, will undo a child's last prayer for help.
No church on earth has the excuse, "but the Bible told me so," because our greatest gift is our reason. We are in command of our actions. We choose to hate those who look different, or who are born different than us. Hate is not a holy virtue, and those who hate know this. That is the biggest crime of all. Those who hate ignore their own intuition -- that voice inside that says, "no." And why? Because the Bible told them so?
Those who preach hate in front of pews of people should be stripped of their cloth by the flock they so wish to woo with slippery tongues. It is possible. History has shown us countless times how to alter the reality of our religious institutions. Luther did it with a simple hammer and nail on a wooden door. Jesus changed a church with kindness. King Henry the VIII changed a church with law. Evolution is inevitable but must be instigated by the people. Silence by the flock is deadly.
Do you sit silently when your pastor points with his crooked finger at gays and shames? Or do you stand up and say, "Not in my name! Not in the name of my God! Shame on you!" Have you ever told your fellow parishioners that you or someone you know is gay and that they are beautiful? Or do you just let spiritual bullying happen.
My heart is heavy. My eyes are tired. I can not read another story about a young person taking his or her life because of bullying in any form. I want the world to be truly holy. I want the world to be a place where all people are loved and cherished for who they are. I want us to have compassion for one another and to help each other in times of need. I want a world where we find the Spirit in truth, not through the manipulations of power hungry men and women.
Do you agree? Begin the conversation in your place of worship now. Tell your religious leaders that you believe the LGBT community should be loved and cherished. Do not just let spiritual bullying happen. If you do, it could be too late for someone you know.