Well, it’s on. Here in South Carolina, all of these good upstanding Christians are going to the polls. Now it remains to see if they will, in fact, do what Jesus would do. I don’t hold out a lot of hope.
South Carolina is one of those states that are deciding if they want to write bigotry right into their state constitution. This seems to be a hot button issue here, despite what little evidence we have as to how Jesus felt about the issue. In Matthew 5:22 Jesus tells us that anybody who calls his brother “raca” will answer to the council. Raca is an Aramaic term of contempt which could be accurately translated “faggot”, the Jesus who had nothing to say about homosexuality still took time out of His busy schedule to condemn homophobia. In John 8:11 we are told that Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more, and in John 4:18 Jesus speaks frankly with the woman at the well in Samaria about her past infidelities, but in Matthew 8:5-13 we read about a Centurion that came to Jesus to ask Him to heal a young man that was dear to him. We know by the customs of the times that the young man was probably more than a servant to the Centurion (you might want to do some research into this, “New Testament and Homosexuality” by Robin Scroggs might be a good start). Jesus engaged the Centurion in conversation and even praised him to the crowd, but made no mention about his relationship to the young man, that He healed. So, what would Jesus’ reaction to this issue be? Would He vote to marginalize a child of God? Would He accuse a couple of adultery because they are unwed, all the while pushing for legislation that prevents them from marrying? Would Jesus not vote to preserve the dignity of one for whom He died. Would He not, in fact, be outraged, that people are using His name to do this evil and hateful thing?
This Sunday, in Church, as the children’s church was forming, we sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. I was reflecting on the words, Jesus loves all the children of the world; the little Iraqi children who are being killed daily by this stupid little war that our politicians are waging. While probably not generally interested in politics (He said so in Matthew 22:21 to the Pharisees and in John 18:36 to Pilate), I think He would vote for candidates that will end our bloody foray into Iraq and promise not to pick a fight with Iran or anybody else needlessly. I think He would see the value of educating our children and ensuring that they have adequate food to go to school. I think He would want them to have medical care available if they fell ill. I found that if a child does not have adequate insurance coverage for catastrophic medical care in South Carolina, they are welcome to “die and reduce the surplus population” if they cannot gather the money somehow. In some of those “sinful” states the state steps in and covers catastrophic medical bills, shouldn’t the good upstanding Christian people of the bible belt do the same?
The local news paper decided that if the hate amendment was defeated South Carolina would become a magnet for gays and lesbians who want to get married. Now recall defeating the amendment would change nothing and gays and lesbians are not exactly flocking to the area now, so that was stupid. But imagine; imagine South Carolina being a shining beacon of inclusion and tolerance. Imagine a kind of reverse underground railroad, people coming to the south to escape oppression, because here in South Carolina we were finally doing what Jesus would do. Imagine South Carolina being a center of realistic Christ-centered opposition to the war and it’s various atrocities (Senator Graham tried to make a limited step in that direction; bless his heart, but eventually caved in, we are all human). Imagine South Carolinians boldly deciding that our children are too important not to educate, that people are more important than profits, and that a sick child should be at the top of any Christian agenda. Imagine those exodus folks not wanting to come to South Carolina because we follow Jesus too closely and expose their hypocrisy too completely.
But, as I said , I don’t hold out much hope that the fine folks of South Carolina are going to repent of their unchristian ways. They have been doing things this way for a long time, and it will take a miracle to change things. I guess God is in the miracle business, though. Pray for us “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).