Stating the Obvious

Late last December, Congress unanimously passed legislation to
make lynching a federal crime. Now, you might think that such a
horrific act would already be on the books as a crime, but, until last
December, it was not.

With the recent hate crime-attack on actor Jussie Smollett, which
had many hallmarks of a lynch-attack, it becomes readily apparent that
this law is deeply needed.

Interestingly enough, there was opposition to the bill. Even more
interestingly, it came from Christians (or at least those who claim to be
Christian).

The Liberty Counsel, an evangelical legal organization known for
its political lobbying on behalf of Christian conservatives, lobbied
against the legislation. Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty
Counsel, asked legislators to remove language from the bill that
explicitly includes protections for people on the basis of sexual and
gender identity.

Why, you ask? Simple: An anti-lynching law is, according to
Staver in an interview he gave to the Christian news siteOneNewsNow,
only a baby step to one day passing employment, housing and health
care legislation that would offer protections to LGBTQ people. Because
gay and lesbian people go against God’s will, they should not be offered
these protections. That said, he is generally opposed to lynching.

Wow.

The idea that we are even having a political argument about
whether people should be legally protected from lynching is utterly
ridiculous. I cannot fathom anyone who would not want to see
extrajudicial, identity-based killings of any sort outlawed.
Fortunately, these lobbying efforts were unsuccessful but it
highlights just how organized and influential hate has become. The fact
that this kind of discrimination comes in a Christian package is even
more troubling.

When people of faith forget that Jesus called us to empower the
marginalized, to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, to not judge lest you
be judged, and to include everyone at the table of God’s grace,
something has gone wrong.

When people of faith forget that Jesus was essentially lynched by a
crowd of politically frenzied religious zealots because he didn’t fit in,
their faith has no heart and they assume the title “Christian” as only a
label and nothing more.

It may be stating the obvious, it may sound redundant, it may be
simplistic, but the truth is this: Ours is a God of love and inclusion not a
God of hate and violence.

See you in church,
–Rev. Dominic

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