19 June 2007

Gearing up for Pride

By the way, if you're looking for me this weekend, chances are you'll find me at our church's booth at the Atlanta Pride Festival. Pride is always a big fun time, and this year should be no different (and when did Debbie Gibson start calling herself "Deborah"?).

Doubtless there are several churches that would question our presence at such an event - after all, doesn't the Bible consider homosexuality to be "incompatible with Christian teaching", as the Methodists say? Well, yes and no - and if you're incapable of saying "well, yes and no" about the Bible, then anything else I have to say is probably going to be irrelevant.

If, however, you're still reading, I'll spare you the painstakingly detailed analyses of various passages of Christian Scripture. Suffice it to say that anything in the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament", for Christians") is either part of the old Levitical law, and thus no more applicable than the prohibitions against eating shellfish, or is part of a really bizarre mythological story that has nothing to do with gays and lesbians. When it comes to the New Testament, the translations of the Pauline letters that have come down to us over time are wildly inaccurate and/or speculative. Let's face it, there wasn't even a Greek word for "homosexual" back then, so how could Paul have possibly been condemning them? Better readings of the Greek words show that Paul was talking about other things.

And on a broader scope, what if Paul did say that anyway? Paul also endorsed slaves remaining as slaves, and women being subservient to men. Do we have any qualms about disagreeing with those assertions today? Well, some Christo-fascists do, but not many reasonable people. The point is, we (as humanity) grow in our wisdom and understanding over time. Is it possible that we know more about science and genetics than the Apostle Paul? Is it possible that the sun doesn't really revolve around the Earth?

So I'll be at Pride, proclaiming a message of radical love and radical inclusion, and if I can find a t-shirt that says "Don't assume I'm straight" I might just have to buy it - unless it's one of those athletic-cut muscle shirts, in which case I'll find something looser fitting and thus better suited for my non-boy-toy physique.

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