By Rev. Jerry Stephenson, ThD., PhD.
Wow, the holidays are here and before we know it the New Year. Much has happened in 2021, too much to write about in this column. The looming wolf at our back door in 2022 is the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Whether I agree with abortion is immaterial to the truth that each woman must have the fundamental right to make key life decisions without interference from government or churches they don’t belong to nor adhere to. It’s called freedom of conscience – and the evangelicals claim to fervently believe in this principle when it convenient suits their narrow agenda.
On this Christmas Eve, we must remind ourselves of historical facts. Mary the mother of the Christ Child was only twelve or thirteen when Joseph was in his twenties. Hmm, makes you wonder, especially considering the vast pedophilia scandal that has engulfed the contemporary church.
The church may pose as the moral arbiter of our times, but who can deny their sordid history when it comes to human rights? Have the fundamentalists ever been on the right side of history when it comes to expanding liberty? The modern moralists indisputably have more baggage than the airport luggage carousels we encounter during holiday travel. I can hear right wing church apologists retort, “well that was way back then”. Yet, the horrible headlines their hypocritical actions regularly produce are still in today’s newspapers. The façade of “Family Values” often wilts when their dastardly deeds betray their wonderful words.
So where does that put the Bible? There are those who read the Bible without any understanding of true Biblical Hermeneutics. One thing we can see is that the whole understanding of human sexuality has changed significantly over the centuries. I have been watching the television series on Colton Underwood, the Bachelor who recently came out of the closet. The series shows him coming out to various family members, professional football friends, and coaches. At one point there is a meeting of other openly gay former professional football players. NEWS ALERT: This no doubt blows up the right-wing church’s shallow understanding of gay men, who they say become homosexual, in part, because they are weaklings who don’t play sports.
Underwood was a guy who was popular in high school, dated a cheerleader and then became a professional football player. He had a normal up bringing and was close to his mother and father – all of which the right-wing purveyors and peddlers of “ex-gay” conversion therapy say can’t be true for gay men. Oh yeah, his parents got a divorce when he was young. I can hear the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi saying “there it is, a broken family.”
Heck, if divorce leads to homosexuality my dating prospects ought to drastically improve, because over 55-percent of marriages end in divorce. The gay bars should be packed.
It would be best for society if evangelical and fundamentalist churches stopped prying into peoples’ personal lives and stopped preaching about issues in which they know little about. It is my prayer that in the New Year we learn to love all of God’s creation no matter what their sexual orientation. When God got done with creation He said ‘IT IS ALL GOOD. Amen!