Sunday, August 19, 2007

Freedom of Religion For Me, Not You

This is from Friday's Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:

A conservative Christian values group has been interrupting services at two central Ohio churches to protest their support for homosexuality.

Minutemen United vowed to attend services every Sunday.

The group started its crusade when First Baptist Church in Granville hosted "Love Makes a Family," a traveling exhibit by the Family Diversity Project showing photos of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families.

The night the exhibit opened in July, members of Minutemen United stood outside and protested the exhibit and the church's open attitude toward homosexuality, said the Rev. Kathy Hurt, senior pastor at the Granville church.

Since then, the group has been visiting the church every Sunday, she said.

On one of the first Sundays, six people came to the church's 11 a.m. service and addressed the congregation during a time designated for prayer requests and comments.

Hurt said a man, who introduced himself as a minister from the New Beginnings Church in Warsaw, Ohio, started to give a sermon about how the church was acting against God's word by accepting homosexuals.

Members of Minutemen United also visited King Avenue United Methodist Church in Columbus that same morning, said the Rev. John Keeny.

"They rebuked me as a pastor for preaching that God's love is for everyone," Keeny said.

The pastor said he was proud of the way his congregation responded to the interruption, and he asked them to pray that the hearts of the Minutemen would be open.

"At our church, we welcome all people," he said. "We would welcome them in worship, too, but we expect hospitality and acceptance to be demonstrated by all who come to worship here."

Max Erwin Sr., an evangelist with the New Beginnings ministry and a member of Minutemen United, said he attended services at King Avenue and First Baptist churches.

"What I do is not about hate; it's everything to do with love," Erwin said. "Homosexuality is a sin."

He said he plans to concentrate his efforts on First Baptist Church. He will be outside the church building every Sunday, as long as it doesn't rain.

"There are people there who are truly hungry for the true word of God," Erwin said. "The word of God is the word of God. It is not subject to private interpretation."

Interesting position to take, given that at various times in the history of Christianity, the "true word of God" was "privately interpreted" to justify slavery. At various times in the history of Christianity, the "true word of God" was "privately interpreted" to sanction the mutilation of thieves; to stone adulterous women to death; to impose the death penalty on Sabbath violators (those who lit a fire or worked at their occupation on that day, for example).

And let's not forget that true word of God that good Bible-thumping Christianists "privately interpret" every time they buy clothes at Wal-Mart or Target:
Leviticus 19:19 says:

.. neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.

Enter sheeple:
Oh dear lord!! What about the Wal-Mart, shopping mecca of the Christian world!!??!!

Dear lord, forgive the Wal-Mart; they know not what they do in selling us poor Christians polyester-cotton blends, linen-wool blends...and we cannot smite them...their costs fit in our budget!

But oh lord! Leviticus (the same book which our pastor says we must use to hate "the queers") says we are sinners the SAME WAY if we dare to mix our fabrics!

Oh woe is me! I am a sinner and I still stop by the Wal-Mart every day...and ON SUNDAYS too!!! Oh dear! I buy my mixed-fabric clothing at the Wal-Mart on my way home from CHURCH!!!!!!!!!

Actually, that's TWO of God's true words the good Bible-thumping Christianists are "privately interpreting": not mixing fabrics, and not using money on the Sabbath.

Do I detect a little Chinese menu-ing going on here?

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