The true message of Easter contradicts many Christians’ attitude that “LGBT are so evil and immoral that we will spend the rest of eternity in hell” and that “Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (excluding gay folk),” says the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle in his weekly column.
That stance is relevant not just to gays and lesbians, but also to the currently popular online campaign against African warloard Joseph Kony.
But it doesn’t sit well with everyone, especially people who support the laws of 76 countries that imprison their citizens for homosexual activities.
“There is an inconsistency in this theology that undermines the universal principles that the original Christian ‘Good News’ of the effectiveness of God’s unconditional love. ….
This is also not orthodox Christianity. It elevates anti-gay bullying to an eternal and cosmic realm and gives justification to religious people to continue to wreak havoc and use the state to punish us in 76 countries where it is still illegal to be LGBT.”
Opponents of LGBT rights depict such ideas in a different light. For example, Piero A. Tozzi, writing in the Christian Post, portrays theologians taking that non-judgmental position as tools of the Obama administration. He writes:
The Obama administration appears to pay close attention to an on-going intra-Christian debate, co-opting sympathetic clergy to advance its objectives.
Indeed, for what most would consider a secular-minded administration, the Obama presidency seems exceptionally concerned about dictating what religion ought say and do regarding moral issues.
“Harnessing a ‘good religion vs. bad’ theme to advance divisive social policy strikes a favored administration chord,” Piero writes.
A third position on religion and laws that criminalize homosexuality comes from Anthony Kosner, writing for Forbes about the connections between the Christian right and the popular anti-Kony online initiative of Jason Russell and his San Diego-based group, Invisible Children. That group is the sponsor of the popular online campaign against the abductions, rapes and use of child soldiers in Africa by Joseph Kony‘s Lord’s Resistance Army.
In his article “Suspicious Sequel: The Social Flow of KONY 2012 Is Not What You First Thought,” Kosner first notes Russell’s statement that he hopes Invisible Children’s work for social justice will serve as a “Trojan Horse” to introduce young people to Christianity. Kosner’s assumption — probably true — is that the brand of Christianity that Russell hopes to spread is quite different from Ogle’s, with its vision of an all-loving God..
Why? Because Kosner highlights the funding connections between anti-gay activists and Invisible Children. He writes:
Invisible Children has “ties to antigay organizations, such as the National Christian Foundation. The NCF describes itself as ‘the largest Christian grant-making foundation in the world.’
… [The] the organization has disbursed grants to some of the most antigay groups in the country, including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
Ironically, NCF, which donated $135,000 in 2009 to Invisible Children, also helps fund the Fellowship Foundation, which works in conjunction with the fundamentalist shadow organization known as ’The Family.’ That outfit has largely pushed Christian Ugandan lawmakers to propose a ‘kill the gays’ bill, which would make homosexuality punishable by death.”
Then Kosner focuses on the implications of those links for Invisible Children and its supporters, who responded to the anti-Kony 2012 video by requesting a kit for organizing anti-Kony demonstrations on April 20:
None of this means that IC itself is anti-gay. Most American Christians, it should be pointed out, are not anti-gay, and many would be horrified to discover that a cause they are supporting has ties to any organization that is aligned with hate crimes of any kind.
Violence against gays in Africa is epidemic and on the rise. … All over the continent … homosexuals are being harassed and ridiculed, assaulted and arrested, tortured, jailed and murdered—and on an unprecedented scale. … Is anti-gay violence a social evil on the scale of kidnapped child soldiers in Africa? I don’t know.
But the combination of IC’s association with the NCF, their close working relationship with [Ugandan President Yoweri] Museveni’s regime in Uganda and Russell’s assertion of using the videos as a “Trojan Horse,” are enough to make many people who signed up for their April 20th action kit legitimately uncomfortable.
These are the authors of the essays discussed above:
- Rev. Canon Albert Ogle of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego is president of St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation.
- Piero A. Tozzi is as senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund at its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Anthony Wing Kosner is creative director the Wing and Ko. editorial content and design studio in Portland, Maine.
- Invisible Children and the Emerging Church — “Mission From God: The Upstart Christian Sect Driving Invisible Children and Changing Africa” (Atlantic.com)
- Clergy Can Fight HIV On Faith-friendly Terms (DGSmith.org)