A Homily: Guilt By Association?

wolfloveBigotry Cloaked In Religion Is Still Bigotry

When people learn you’re a minister, they make a lot of assumptions about you and what you believe.

Of course here in the U.S. the first assumption is that you’re Christian. Once you over come that and spend several minutes explaining that Christianity is not the only religion that employs a clergy based system, you’re spend the next several minutes explaining what Paganism is. Ok that one often takes much longer, after they’ve looked at you as if you’re speaking a foreign language. But if they’re still talking to you, the next set of assumptions come up. What ever you call it, if you’re religious, you must believe what “I” believe.

One of the big assumptions these days is that if you’re a religious clergy-person, you must believe that certain lifestyles are wrong or immoral. Nope. Wrong again. We’re a free choice, free will and respect of all choices kind of crowd. And we don’t need a book that has been altered throughout history to tell us who we can and cannot approve of or respect.

In general, we approve of everyone. Yes of course there are exceptions when it comes to manipulating or hurting someone else’s free will and choice. We don’t approve of murder, abuse in all it’s forms, be it against a people, a group, a particular gender, age group, or a species. As well as, other religions or political views. With the obvious exceptions Pagans generally accept others for who and what they are. We make choices to fit our lessons and karmic needs for this time in our spiritual enlightenment.

So when science shows us that every species in the animal kingdom has some expression of homosexuality within it, we accept that as part of the physics of nature. Humans, being one of those animal species, we see no reason to single out gays or lesbians as something bad, wrong or immoral. That’s the physics of things.

In the metaphysical perspective, we believe that while in spirit, our soul chooses the lessons it will face and learn from once we are born into an incarnated state. And some of those lessons may require being born with certain characteristics, such as eye and hair color, race and skin color, gender and sexual orientation. Each one of these spiritual choices creates or sets up energy that will be played out in the souls physical life.

This topic came up when someone assumed that because I’m a Minister I must adhere to the concept that being gay or lesbian is wrong and sinful because that’s part of being religious. I’m not sure who started that assumption, but it’s fairly inaccurate. But that’s where the guilt by association came from. And once I tried to correct the misconception, I was presented with a barrage of scripture references for why leading a homosexual life is wrong. Ok, did I mention the part about NOT being Christian?

Pagan Metaphysics tends to run from Christian scripture. We are familiar with its contradictions and spin. Not to mention the inaccuracies deployed by many of its newer interpretations and modern versions. It’s not our book, so please don’t hold us to its standards.

On top of that, simply because you’re trying to base your bigotry in religious scripture doesn’t justify the actions and views. Bigotry based in religious ignorance is still bigotry. But what makes this argument worse is that it’s also inaccurate. What? Yes, I’m afraid your version of Bible scripture is based on a political interpretation of your sacred text and not on an accurate historical factual interpretation.

In an effort to correct the misconceptions, I don’t want to stand on a soap box as a pagan and talk about the Bible. It’s not my religion, so I don’t feel I have the right to tell the millions of Christians their version of scripture is based on political interests, rather than reliable academic translation.

Instead, I went on a search for someone who not only has done the research concerning historical language, interpretation and use, but who is also Christian and took on the task to share their findings without bias. That meant finding a Christian, who isn’t gay or lesbian, and who felt motivated to research and present their findings based on academic study. And I found him, thanks to an article in The New York Times.

Turned Away, He Turned To The Bible
Published: September 14, 2012 : A Synopsis follows:
Matthew Vines was forced to leave the Wichita, Kansas church he had attended since birth, not because he is gay, but because he tried to convince people there was nothing wrong with being gay or lesbian. Mr Vines took a leave of absence from Harvard, where he was studying philosophy, to offer a lesson on the Bible and same-sex relations. “It is simply a fact that the Bible does not discuss or condemn loving, gay relationships.” said Mr. Vines, “The point is that these texts have a meaning, and the traditional reading of them [today] is wrong. It is incorrect — biblically, historically, linguistically.” In March 2012, he delivered and videotaped a lecture on this subject. He then posted it to YouTube. In it, Mr. Vines tackles the traditional interpretations of all six Bible passages that refer to homosexual acts, arguing that they don’t actually condemn, or even address, the modern understanding of homosexuality.

The lecture is 67 minutes long, but it is well worth the time to watch it and learn from it. “It is a dense and scholarly presentation, drawing from history, theology, hermeneutics and ancient Greek.” states the Times Article and that certainly describes this excellent lecture. It has been viewed more than 650,000 times since the writing of this article, and has over 12,000 comments. Matthew’s book, “God and the Gay Christian,” will be published by Crown/Random House in May 2014.

I hope this information can help end the assumption that being spiritual means you hold the same views as anyone else who professes a religious affiliation. But more so, I hope this will help correct the misinformation many hold about the Bible and it’s condemnation or rather that it doesn’t condemn homosexual relationships in any way.

By proclaiming the path of spirituality, you are professing to care for your fellow humans. That’s hard to do when you hold some groups in a category of disdain and bigotry. But more so, claiming to walk a path of spirituality and then acting in opposition to that claim does more harm to your soul and your walk toward enlightenment. Regardless of which religious path you tread. No one ever said blind faith is a good thing. “God”, who or whatever that is to you, gave you a brain to think and reason with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge your beliefs. If they can’t stand up to your own questions, then how strong is that faith to begin with?
© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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