MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22
This could get rocky, so hold on to something. This is what I don’t get about the inflexibility of some Fundamentalist Christians. Oh wait, before I get started, let me state that I’m talking about a select and chosen few who say they’re Christians and believe in Christ – not all Christians, probably not most. Unfortunately though, this group is too large and vocal not to stand up to. Here’s what I don’t get… how can you believe in Christianity – therefore you worship Jesus Christ – and espouse such hate? Luke chapter 6, verse 37 states: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. See, this verse is in the Gospels, so it’s probably attributed to Jesus. So, even if you believe that homosexuality is wrong, how can you be so blind as to determine, on your own, where he is spending his Eternity?
To me, one of the most important tenets of Christianity is the Golden Rule: thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s the second great commandment, only after the first, which is loving God. That should help put into perspective where we’re supposed to hold those who share the earth with us.
If we’re supposed to love our neighbors, I think that includes everyone (notice there are no qualifiers on that statement). If I loved someone, I would not pass judgement on where they’re going after they die. It’s not up to me, a mere mortal who possesses no great insight into the inner workings of anyone’s soul, not even my own. It’s not up to Fred Phelps, either.
The Gospel is not about hate. It’s not about declaring that anyone’s going to hell. It’s about love. Love means tolerance, peace, patience and humility. It means accepting others’ shortcomings and hoping that others accept yours. To me, being a true Christian means living your life emulating the Savior – to the best of your ability. It means accepting that human beings are imperfect. We are all going to mess up.
I have a hard time balancing sins and sinners. We’re supposed to hate sin, and love the sinners (you know, our neighbors). It’s not easy to draw the line between the sin and the individual sometimes. My religion teaches that acting on homosexual desires is a sin. Personally, I don’t know how to balance loving my neighbor with that. But… if loving my neighbor is the second great commandmant, loving my neighbor is probably more important than hating anyone’s sin. Therefore, I should suspend judgement, accept the person and love them. I shouldn’t worry about where my neighbor is going after they die, because I surely don’t have any right to judge them.
I know that I’m not perfect. I do stupid and wrong things. If I want people to accept my shortcomings and imperfections, I have to accept others’. Being imperfect myself, I have no right to judge. There is on Judge, and it’s not me, you, Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or any other mortal.
I wonder if Fred Phelps would like someone putting up a giant marble monument in his hometown declaring his damnation… I doubt it. I know I wouldn’t.
I know this probably won’t convince anyone of anything. Most people I know are in the choir on this. The ones who aren’t, I’m not eloquent enough a writer to convince.