I had to pull out my red-letter edition of the Bible today after I read that failed Republican senate candidate and self-proclaimed bishop of his own church, E.W. Jackson, stated in an interview that Christians should disavow the Democratic Party because there well may be a plank in the upcoming platform of the party that supports the rights of all Americans to be married and be recognized as a family. He called the party “anti-Christian, anti-God, anti-Bible.”
Red-letter Bibles put the words that Christ spoke in red type, to differentiate them from the words of others. Nowhere there did I find that Christ ever mentioned homosexuality or same-sex marriage. He did have much to say about how we should treat each other, however. And, he directly ordered us to refrain from judging others because that is the purview of God. I suppose E.W. Jackson selectively reads his Bible in order to make it fit his preconceived, far right theology.
I’m sure Jackson will point to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as proof that God loathes homosexuality. What, then, will he make of Ezekiel 16: 49-50 that states that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was “pride, fulness of bread [wealth], and abundance of idleness…neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty…therefore I took them away.” That sounds like punishment for right-wing Republican beliefs, not homosexuality.
After all, a group of 60 Catholic leaders recently criticized Tea Party favorite Republican Paul Ryan for a budget that is “morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good…A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms.” Those words reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ, not Jackson’s blind hatred and bigotry all gussied up in biblical language. I, and many other Christians like me, are sick and tired of having our faith hijacked to justify a right-wing assault on the weak, the poor, the different, the outcast, and the left behind. Those are the very people Jesus spoke for and to.
It would do E.W. Jackson good to re-read Matthew 25:31-46.
There, Jesus tells his followers how they will be judged at the end of their lives. Those who earn the glory of God are those who fed the hungry, gave a drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, invited the stranger in and visited the sick and imprisoned. When asked when they did these things, Christ answered, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”
I don’t see a word there about homosexuality. There’s not a mention of abortion. There’s no right to carry a concealed gun there. There’s no disdain there for those who accept help from others. I can’t see a plea there for conservative government or the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. I do see the altriusm, the concern for our fellow citizens, that led past leaders of this country – Democrats, that is – to establish a safety net for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the least among us. That altruism and love sure isn’t reflected in the views of E.W. Jackson or the present Republican Party. They get off on “pride, fulness of bread, abundance of idleness,” and not strengthening the hand of the poor and the needy, just what Ezekiel warned about.