From: John Rupkey
What would we do if there was a church in town that helped the poor, but taught black kids that, as Mormon founder Joseph Smith claimed, they are cursed by God because black skin is the mark of Cain? What if a sect in town comforted the sick, but preached, like 19th century Southern Baptists, that God approves of slavery? What if a religion in town today fed the hungry, but indoctrinated Jewish children to believe that, as some priests taught, God hates them because they ordered the execution of Jesus?
Of course these are a few hateful mistakes of our religious ancestors. Fortunately, enlightened and brave people came forward and challenged the hateful theology, which helped replace the hate with loving understanding. It is easy for us to see the mistakes of our ancestors, but very difficult for us to see the evil in our own mistakes.
Today in Winona we have some churches that help the poor, comfort the sick, and feed the hungry, but program self hate into kids by teaching them that God considers the love they experience disordered. Their main biblical “proof” is that God destroyed Sodom, not because they neglected the poor and needy as God stated (Ezekiel 16:49), but because some of the townspeople wanted to commit same-sex rape.
Condemning as “disordered” the love experienced by millions of humans is an insulting rejection of a main teaching of both Jesus and John, the young man Jesus loved (John 13:23). Love is sacred.
So what do we do about these churches and their immature moral theology? We go to them, give them money, avoid criticizing them, and enable them by making them tax-exempt, thereby encouraging the hate. Must we tolerate gay kids having their human dignity trampled on by those who believe this pleases God? Is it acceptable here in Winona because it is being inflicted on kids by religious people?
Where are the brave Winonans who are willing to come forward in our time and do whatever is necessary to replace the veiled religious hate — which some tacitly promote — with loving understanding?