Oh, Those Crazy Christians!
Anyone in any place can say whatever is on their mind, with few or no consequences to the nuances, content, or intent of what was said. However, there are definitely times and places when one should just keep his/her mouth shut! This comes into focus particularly when considering the hyperbole and vitriol that emerge from the mouths of those who call themselves Christian.
Recent headlines tell us that Pat Robertson has retired. Thank GOD! Thank you, God! At the age of 91, Mr. 700 Club has hung up his microphone. Atima Omara, a political strategist, tweeted, “Pat Robertson contributed 55 years of damage to society at large with racism, misogyny and xenophobia weaved into Christianity.” Using the Bible as his guide over more than a half-century, Robertson railed against many who looked different, acted differently, or prayed to a different god. Supposing himself to be the arbiter of divine truth, he invoked the name of his God to condemn scores of people to eternal damnation.
In 1998, he reflected on the Orlando Pride Festival. Seeing all the rainbow flags, he remarked, “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.” This illustrates a continuous theme among some Christians that there is a direct connection between living the LGBTQ lifestyle and natural disasters.
Higher on the list of Robertson’s Greatest Hits is his claim in 2013 that gay folks in San Francisco are out to “get” straight people. He stated, “If they got the stuff [that is, HIV/AIDS] they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger.” And that, my friends, is how HIV/AIDS is transmitted!
Moving on from this crazy retired pastor, we cross paths with Ralph Drollinger. He is the self-proclaimed “Pastor to Cabinet Members” and “Pastor to Congress.” His hot button seems to be gay marriage. He recently penned “The Profound Theological Importance of Husband-Wife Marriage.” His case rests upon lengthy quotes from the Bible.
He writes, “If you debate marriage based upon personal happiness, you will lose the argument. If you debate from theology, you will not...there is much more to marriage than personal happiness. When America denigrates God’s ordained institution of husband-wife marriage, our nation loses one of His primary means of heralding His nature to our country! Such loss has serious long-term repercussions both in terms of national cultural patterning and moral direction.”
Capitol Ministries was founded in 1997, with the purpose of spreading the Bible’s message to those in power at the state and federal levels. Lest we simply dismiss Drollinger as another crazy Christian, keep in mind that he is currently “sponsored” by 10 Senators and 35 Congressional Representatives. He currently teaches weekly Bible studies for these “sponsors” and led Bible studies at the Cabinet level during the Trump Administration. This pastor has been given access to the halls of Congress to advocate the end of same-sex marriage. And some legislators, it seems, are listening.
When a church’s website has a prominent link to the Pastor’s Legal Defense Fund, you know something exciting is happening there! Pastor Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, put himself in legal jeopardy by ignoring his Governor’s directive in 2020 to cap social gatherings of any kind to 50 persons. Spell continued his regular thousand-strong in-person worship services during the spikes of COVID-19. While some of his church members died from COVID, Spell did not let that stop him from continuing services. Even when he was charged with six offenses against the Governor’s orders, he carried on.
Among the crazy Christians, Spell has ranted excessively against LGBTQ rights. In a video clip that went viral, he shared these thoughts. “There’s enough f-g, queer, skinny-jeaned, homo-effeminate, sissy preachers out there with makeup and mascara on their eyes. Isn’t it about time you get some sweat on your forehead? Isn’t it about time you get some dirt under your nails and get some grease on your hands? We need heroes in this hour! Heroes have callused knees.”
It is up to the readers to determine for themselves how those knees get callused. In any case, the faith of these clergy is such that their followers are driven by hate and prejudice. When one reads the Bible, a hateful Messiah is nowhere to be found. If being gay or transgender was such an eternal sin, it seems that this may have been something that the Messiah would have mentioned. There is nothing.
We will always have crazy Christians making crazy claims in the name of their faith. It is our duty to live with tolerance, acceptance, and love for those who may not fit our expectations. There is always room for all. ▼
David Garrett, a CAMP Rehoboth Board member, is a straight advocate for equality and inclusion. He is also the proud father of an adult trans daughter. Email David Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.