Wednesday, June 29, 2016
I received a long, rambling diatribe of a letter yesterday criticizing our choice to hold a memorial at Bridge St. church honouring the 49 people killed in Orlando, Florida. To be honest I didn't go beyond the first paragraph or two, but the writer quoted scripture and highlighted key points in red ink rather than blue. I was amused by the last paragraph where the individual proclaimed boldness in speaking on behalf of Jesus (who never says a thing about homosexuality in the gospels) and then leaves the letter unsigned. So much for "stand up, stand up for Jesus!"
In the States there have been a number of pastors who publicly applauded the murders, an incomprehensibly stance, but welcome to America. The preacher in the photo above, Roger Jimenez from Sacramento, California said the Sunday of the despicable massacre “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job! Because these people are predators! They are abusers!” There have been others with a similar message.
It needs to be said that an overwhelming majority of Christians, including a group of more than 700 Sacramento area pastors denounced Jimenez's hateful pronouncements and a petition calling for his removal collected more than 8,000 signatures. About 100 protesters gathered outside the church in a public protest. It is ironic that Jimenez is Hispanic, a group which is unfairly viewed with scorn by many in America.
We are grimly aware that religion in many expressions is regularly coopted to support suspicion and hate. The message of Christ's embracing love and acceptance seems to be lost in a firestorm of fear and exclusion.
It's important for us to uphold different values and what we believe in our hearts are gospel values.