Progressives & Gays & OWS
Progressives & Gays & OWS

 

(Mat 25:36 NKJV)  'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'

According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll in Aug 2011 referred to by Washington Post, 44% of Evangelical Millennials (age 18 to 29) now favors gay marriage equality. This led to John Shore writing the “the inevitably of the rise of Progressive Christianity” in the TPC Magazine alluding to a rise in the Liberal tradition of Christianity. It is true of the acceptance of gays by the progressives in general are slowly being embraced by the Evangelical Christians. However, linking it to any indication of a broader rise of Progressive Christianity and Liberal faith tradition may be presumptuous. Furthermore, Progressive organizations such as Sojourners are now increasingly careful not to portray themselves as particularly liberal eg in supportive of gay rights, but instead highlighting their evangelical credentials.

In Mat 25:36, helping the least, the outcasts became so natural for the righteous sheep that it became second nature and a norm that goes on without anyone asking or insisting. They just did what was right naturally. It’s not about dialogue but love in action, the bridge and the hand of Jesus Christ to those that are hungry, thirsty and in prison. There were no second thoughts as seen by the reluctance of some Progressive Christians to publically come out to support gays in view of the very strong opposition from the Catholics, Mormons, and Conservatives.

Progressive Christianity isn’t entirely pro-gay but in many instances have a neutral position despite this being a major wedge issue in the last two Presidential elections. Her famous sons, Brian Mclaren, and Jim Wallis, refused to allow a mild advertisement in Sojourners showing acceptance of a gay couple into the church service. The bowing down to the Catholics, Mormons, and Conservatives is indicative of the growing strengths of the conservatives versus the weakness of the liberals.  

The rising strength of the evangelicals is seen in Progressive groups such as Sojourners consciously attempting to disassociate itself from any particularly liberal perspective by advertising to their evangelical credentials. They are at pains to highlight their “evangelical” credentials in light of any hint that they might be going down any particularly liberal path in response to criticisms from the Catholics/Conservative/Mormons.

Evangelicals can also be progressive it seems as Sojourners tries to reclaim what it meant in a series of articles on “What is an evangelical” in light of the criticisms from the liberals.

24 Oct 2011 – Andrew Marin answers “What is an evangelical”

19 Oct 2011 – Do evangelicals hate smart people?

03 Oct 2011 – So, about those “Evangelicals”

29 Sep 2011 – Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year

18 Sep 2011 –What is an Evangelical, anyway?

 Some have suggested that “Occupy Wall Street” could also occupy the 2/3 empty churches in the States. The  “Hope for peace & Justice” from the more progressive UCC came out with “Occupy Church” with the rallying cry and demand:-

Occupy Church Demands

  • The Creation of a culture of peace rather than war
  • The value of people over profits
  • Equal rights for all people, not just the majority
  • The protection of the environment before corporate bottom line
  • Healthcare as a civil right for all, not just for the wealthy
  • The same quality of justice for the poor as for the rich

Whose church will they be occupying? Perhaps the more conservative churches.

Are the progressive churches in the states actively emphasizing their acceptance of the GLBT peoples into their faith communities in their preaching, literature and activism in the same manner as their conservative and Catholic counterparts actively seek to deny the rightful place of gays in the churches?

When it comes to the crunch what do Progressives really believe in?  Rob Bell, of Mars hill Bible Church is famous for his Universalist views of hell. He is so adamant on hell, yet, said nothing definite on gays apart from declaring that that Jesus said nothing much on gays. If Jesus said nothing much, should Progressives say a lot more.

Another Progressive, Andrew Marin, just didn’t answer the question on gays saying that it is neither a yes or no answer. We may sit on the fence on a grey issue, but with many thousands of gays dying and have died due to suicides, drug addiction, and AIDS, as a result of the rejection of society, family and church, a definitive stance is required. Marin was featured in BBC for attempting to bridge the gap between evangelical Christians and Chicago’s gay community. The emphasis of dialogue and conversation is well meaning, but these Christians are guilty of causing incredible unprovoked harm. This is not a debate of differing views but thousands and perhaps millions have had their lives impacted.

Brian Mclaren did not want to take sides on the issue of gays in the church, and perhaps underlines the weakness and strength of Progressive Christianity in being a good tool for conservation but not a decisive tool for change. If we were so selective in standing up for justice only for the poor when gays are bashed up and lying wounded on the streets after being run over many times by the Progressive’s very own partners in ministry (Catholics and the Conservatives), surely we just can’t walk pass in a clear conscience. The poor will be with us always, but the issue of gay basic rights and liberties is a present and long overdue issue that has come to the right season to be addressed.

The increasing acceptance of Gays may not be due or indicative of the rise of Progressive Christianity but the increasing acceptance of gays by the younger generation coupled by increasing number of gays coming out, many at a younger age. It’s about relationships, having friends and family members that are gay, and growing up not tied to old dogmas and views.

It’s time for Progressive Christianity to take a more definitive stance if they truly emphasize on social justice and the care of the outcasts and oppressed! Loving one another is much more than dialogue but standing in front on the weak gay minority and taking the fiery darts from the Christian Right. This is the Cross that the Progressives must put on before they become irrelevant and not just sitting rather painfully at the wooden pointed upright edge of the Cross.

 As the progressives rally of coalition of people of faith to “Occupy Wall Street”, a reflection of the real pain and struggles being suffered by Main Street, people are indeed trapped in their closets of poverty, debt, and no jobs. The Progressives are concentrating in issues that would rally their base which the gay issue would never have.

 Perhaps Jesus would also “Occupy Wall  Street”. However, you would not see Jesus in long rallies for the poor and outcasts against the Roman rulers, the Tax Collectors (aka Roman agents) or the Jewish Religious Leaders.  Jesus specifically chose the weakest and most persecuted in society to make a point against the religious, power, and financial structures. It came down – to specific people – the Samaritan “whore”, the common prostitute, the tax collector, the blind/mute begging at the entrance of the temple…..In addressing the very least, one would cover all. Gays are the lowest rank in society where even their basic rights of marriage are not given. Gay teenagers filled the streets – homeless and abandoned by their families. Jesus didn’t sit on the ledge for the most contentious issues.

 Is occupying wall street so much more important than standing up for the basic rights of the GLBT people?

   



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