I honestly don't understand how religion can justify hatred and killing.
TI'm thinking of the television show where a rabbi said he justified his ex-wife’s murder because she was an enemy of Israel. A “Christian” I know who said she was glad God created AIDS so it would kill the homosexuals. And of course, Muslim extremists killing Americans saying it is Allah’s will.
Of all these, the second bothers me most because I know this woman. She comes across as a very religious person, very righteous, always carrying her Bible, always reading her Bible, preaching, etc. So where in the Bible does God say, “Hey, let’s kill gays.” And it was a good thing. I must be reading the wrong bible. I’m not reading the Religious Righteous Intolerance and Hatred Bible. (It wasn’t on sale at Wal-Mart that day, I guess).
What is it about gay people some Christians can’t stand? Some gays I knew were gentle, caring souls whose only crime was they happened to love the same sex. They didn’t take up arms and kill other people. Or express joy at suffering.
I don’t get this woman. I don’t want to be a member of her religion, or any religion that thinks a horrible disease that causes millions to suffer and die is a good thing. Whose God created such a disease just to kill a certain segment of the population. I know this woman must never have meant Stephania, the little girl I met in Haiti years ago who was dying of AIDS. Stephania was too young to know about homosexuality. She only knew she was six years old and dying.
My friend, whose family was flooded out of New Orleans, got great news last week. A rich, compassionate developer is offering apartments, fully furnished and rent free, for a period of months to hurricane victims. He gave one to my friend’s family. (That to me is being more Christian than ranting and raving about Jesus and not lifting a damn finger to help those in need). Last week, my friend called a couple of area Catholic churches, begging for help. He’s Catholic. One of the churches he called was “our” church and thank God they did offer some help. But the other, one I used to attend, told him, “We already gave to the Red Cross and that’s all we are doing.”
More or less, they slammed the door in my friend’s face. So much for Christian charity.
I guess this is why I have no patience with organized religion, even my own, anymore. I don’t go to church, except when I travel. Give me a rip-rousing, gospel-singing Haitian or Jamaican church any day over the snoozing congregation at “my” church where the pastor rattles off a sermon faster than a bookie reciting betting stats so he can watch the football game, but not on days when he’s begging for money to get a new carpet for the church.
I think the old carpet is just fine. Sorry, but in my heart, I can’t hand over money for a new church carpet when I’ve been to churches where the kneelers are broken, the pews are little more than benches but the people aren’t turned away when they ask the priest for money and their songs of praise are heart-felt and glad. Where the priest doesn’t rush through his sermon so he can watch television but one who drives elderly parishioners home because they are too poor to afford transportation. A priest who spends his days helping the people, who happen to live in a slum and are hungry.
When I die, I don’t want to go to the heaven where the religious, gay-hating intolerant Christians are. And I certainly don’t want to go the Paradise where the Muslim extremists who killed others for their religion are screwing all those virgins. Because that’s not my God. My God loves people, all people. Especially those dying of a disease that causes other people to rejoice. I think I’d rather go to the homosexual heaven. Send me there, God. Send me to the place where all the rejected, those forsaken, kicked in the guts, hated, mocked, and scorned are hanging out. Send me to the place where the poor people are, not where the new carpets are. I’d rather be there. At least I know I’ll get some rip-roaring music, caring, compassionate people and be around those who won’t judge me by anything but what’s inside my heart.