The Gay Samaritan

A North Carolina pastor sternly warned against the danger of “butch” daughters, while advising dads to beat the gay out of their sons, literally:

The second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up! Give him a good punch.

Another pastor from the same state who, “Ain’t gonna vote for no homosexual-lover” (Obama?) has a plan to put queer folk behind an electric fence until they die out — all to keep them from reproducing any more gays and lesbians.

Hmmmm, aren’t gays and lesbians usually born to hetero parents?

Meanwhile, a toddler sings, “Ain’t No Homo Gonna Make It To Heaven” to wild applause from his Indiana congregation.

No surprise, then, that gays are persistently tormented and too often commit suicide. In fact, suicide rates are highest in conservative “values voters” states where hatred is preached over the bully pulpit.

Pastor and gay activist, Mel White, has founded Soulforce to resist religion-based oppression. He asks:

What other source of homophobia is there but six verses in the Bible? When Bible literalists preach that LGBT people are going to hell they become Christian terrorists. They use fear as their weapon, like all terrorists.

Against this, the story of the Good Samaritan rings ironic.

The parable tells of a man who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. Religious leaders pass him by, but finally a Samaritan comes to his aid.

The moral is generally said to be “aid one another” or “judge people by their hearts and works, not by their religious rank.”

But why would a Master Teacher like Jesus construct a story relaying the obvious?

Jesus’ parables more often shocked audiences into thinking in entirely new ways. Keep in mind that Jesus constantly urged his hearers to see the worth and dignity of all, no matter how loathed — including Samaritans, who were despised. So consider this perspective which I’ve altered from a blog post written by a pro-gay rights Mormon (!!)

Imagine Jesus telling a story that forces you to think the unthinkable — to string together words that simply do not belong together: “good” and “[insert epithet of choice].” If we want to understand how Jesus’ words invaded and overthrew the pious and staid beliefs of his hearers, we might imagine him telling a Christian congregation in North Carolina or Indiana the parable of the Good Gay Man who stopped to help a victim near death after a Catholic Bishop, a Rabbi, and a Christian Pastor first passed him by.

The moral of the Good Samaritan? Love gays, and anyone else whose humanity is not fully appreciated.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 8, 2012, in feminism, LGBTQ and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Absolutely–“love one another.” So many forget this message, which is so basic, yet so very radical in and of itself. I often want to add to those 3 words…”no matter what.”

  2. This is all so sad, and that poor singing kid in the video is particularly heartbreaking. All those people praising him for singing those words, and reinforcing the behavior through that praise. He doesn’t know any better but he’s learning such hatred. I really like the idea of altering the Good Samaritan story. It’s funny how we now think of Samaritans as good people in general when part of the point of the story was that they weren’t seen that way. This Samaritan was an individual and we can’t judge him by the group he belonged to – it’s as though we’ve forgotten half the meaning of the story and now it’s time to revise it.

  3. I found this post intriguing. I always find it strange when outspoken Christians preach about how “dangerous” gays and lesbians are, and how they are an evil that should be sent to the corner with a dunce hat and left for dead. Do they not also preach to love one another? And to treat others how you would like to be treated? It does not seem to make sense to me then, how they can preach all of that, but then turn right around and preach to parents to beat their children from homosexuality. Homosexual parents do not produce gay children anymore than heterosexual parents, and to be honest, I have heard that children coming from a homosexual family tend to have happier childhoods, simply because their parents tend to be more loving than the typical patriarchal relationship. This is assuming that they came from an accepting neighborhood and grew up with limited abuse from their peers. But anyways, I particularly enjoyed Mel White’s comment, where he called Bible literalists “terrorists”. Most people in America, at least nowadays, tend to consider terrorists as big men with beards and turbans, who dress in robes and carry bombs around with them. But when he called Bible literalists “terrorists”, he makes someone think. Because, no, I did not consider them that before I read his comment. But it is in fact true. They project their fear of something or someone onto others and convince them through fear that their idea is right, and everyone else is wrong.

  4. I had a feeling when I saw this on the evening news that it might be part of the dialog for this class. In my close to fifty years of walking this planet, I’m not surprised, for this is not the first time that a church in the bible belt has felt intimidated by my people (the out group), nor will it be the last.

    What you have to remember is that the church is in a rural community and playing to its base (the in group). Since the clip went viral, the opportunity to engage the churches community members in dialog is ours. It is up to us to show/prove that by having meaningful dialog with people outside of our own group, we can change attitudes by example and exposure.

  5. Becky Gardner

    When I was last visiting my biological dad and his family, I discovered that my nine-year-old sister is homophobic. She told me that Jesus said that being gay is wrong and that it’s a sin, etc. I proceeded to tell her that not only are all my friends gay, but I am an activist on my campus. Her shock and horror was heartbreaking. She looked at me as though I had told her I eat babies for breakfast. The fact that religion could instill hatred into the heart of a child is terrifying.

  6. Nikki Mancini

    I actually saw this pastor’s speech on TV a few nights ago and was absolutely in shock. it makes absolutely no sense that someone who is supposed to preach love and tolerence for all and is the head of a congregation can be so incredibly ignorant. No one should be able to judge or condemn someone else for their actions and being gay is not a decision or a life choice, it is something that people have no control over. It is so wrong to judge anyone for their life choices or make people feel inferior for their sexuality. Religious leaders are so often to jump the gun on judging those who are different when they should be doing the exact opposite and encouraging love. Do these crazy anti-gay congregations really think that Jesus would do this? I think not.

  7. Do you welcome opposing feedback broad blogs? Not all Christians are ready to “stone” someone because they choose to be gay. People should have the right to be gay, God gave us free will and we live in a free country, but I also don’t go along with the everything goes mentality that permeates our society either. There are many sexual sins that are wrong, adultery, homosexuality, sex before or outside of marriage, etc., I don’t think any of these should be paraded and encouraged but people should have the right to choose their own actions.

    • Sure. I post opposing feedback so long as it doesn’t go on and on and bore everyone to death. And so long as it is not offensive or hurtful to my readers or to a particular community I’m blogging about.

      I just don’t get how making people’s lives miserable by telling them they’re sinners, when they’re just being themselves, is Christian. The Goldern Rule? Love your neighbor as the higher law? The Bible can be contradictory at times, and I always look to the higher law.

      I base morality on these Christian principles and always look to see whose being harmed. Gays aren’t harming anyone. Homophobia creates a great deal of harm.

  8. This is absolutely heartbreaking and outrageous. The hypocrisy of certain religious groups is deeply disappointing and alarming. I find it it ridiculous that in this day and age people still exhibit such violent homophobia and ignorance. Having a sibling who is gay and struggles with being open and okay with his sexuality is a result of groups like this. Religion, namely Christianity is said to be based on love, community and being a good person. Nothing about these clips or speeches demonstrate that.

  9. Weiyi Xia (Klark)

    In these crazy and cruel cases, religion is used to justify these people’s mistreatment to the minorities. First of all, being attracted to people of the same sex are oftentimes determined by their gene, which biologically speaking, they do not have control over it. Even if some gays and lesbians do have control over it, and make a choice of being gays or lesbians, there is not anything wrong. It is just like there is no right and wrong between preferring an apple over a pear. These people who show hatred and hostility towards the minorities because they are the real “sissies”, because they are afraid that if homosexual is considered “correct”, themselves would be considered “out of norm”, which does not make any sense whatsoever.

  10. I agree with John Dubois, we need to look at where this hatred is coming from. from a rural community where they most likely aren’t exposed to anything ”out of the ordinary”. Small towns and small states, contrary to cities with bigger populations aren’t exposed to much. We are fortunate to live in such a diverse state that welcomes people from all over the globe.
    Also, what I find disturbing is how some people/pastors choose to interpret religion. Yes, the bible says some things that are against homosexuality but also it speaks about the good samaritan. People really pick and choose what is easiest for them to believe. It’s easy to pick on those who are ”outsiders”. But what happened to using your common sense? reason? Also, the bible tells us to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

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