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Religious persecution on our doorstep?

Religious persecution on our doorstep?


Photo credit: Michael Holahan/Staff,

The Augusta Chronicle reported yesterday on a case of anti-LGBT vandalism at the local Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer, shortly after the pastor married his husband at the end of June.

The Rev Rick Sosbe told the newspaper that the church will not be deterred from its mission as an open and affirming church. Referring to this week’s vandalism and the recent theft of a rainbow flag from the same building,

Sosbe said that at the advice of the sheriff’s deputy, he planned to check with neighbors to see if their security cameras recorded the vandalism.

He also said the church will continue to spread its message of God’s love.

Sosbe said that the exposure the church has gotten lately has let more people know about its existence.

He recalled a phone call after the flag incident, when a man asked to discuss the issue of Christianity and gays. They had a long discussion that “restored my faith in humankind,” he said.

He said it reminded him of the story of Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery, but he rose to become a powerful man in Egypt.

“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘What you intended for harm, God turned around for good.’

In a commentary on Patheos, David R. Henson opined, “This is REAL Christian persecution.”

Christian persecution in the United States is real.

It’s just not what you think.

Christian persecution isn’t about having to offer birth control to women.

It’s not about having to serve wedding cakes to gay and lesbian couples.

Christian persecution isn’t even having people call you out when you spout homophobic, sexist, or racist opinions, veiled blasphemously as biblical.

Real Christian persecution is having your church burned to the ground because black people worship there.

Real Christian persecution is having your church graffitied hatefully because gay and lesbian people can worship there.

Henson recognizes the difficulty of linking an act of graffiti to the crime of arson and the other, more violent actions that the burning of southern churches inevitably brings to mind, but still, he wonders,

Certainly, these two shouldn’t be simply equated with each other, but at their core, both are motivated by hate and by violence toward difference. Hate, it seems, has become a “Christian” value for some.

How in God’s name has Jesus been fashioned into a idol for bigots?

Need we be reminded that almost half of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community are professing Christians? Need we be reminded that the vast majority of Black Americans are Christians?

Need we be reminded —  yet again — that in the United States, it has almost always been Christians terrorizing Christians?

Read Henson’s article on the nature of Christian persecution in the United States here. Do you agree with his analysis?




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Mark E. Mason

“I’m hoping that sooner rather than later there will be some scientific/physical/psychological studies that will help being LGBT more understandable and thus get off the “choice” preaching…”

You mean preaching freewill? We are a social species that uses non-reproductive sex to form social bonds. Being LGBT is an evolutionary adaptation that will persist in the gene pool. How much more understandable can it get?

In today’s readings King David walks on the roof, commits adultery and murder. All that is human enough isn’t it! The argument that any behavior is normal, natural or understandable isn’t “Sin” is lacking in regards to religion.

Why are you so down on the RC? Catholics I know practice birth control, eat meat on Fridays, have abortions, get divorced and hang out at the Temple of Diana like the rest of us. Could we cut them a little slack?

Anne Bay

Does anyone listen to what they’re saying on the so-called “Christian” radio stations these days? Including roman catholic radio stations….the amount of hate for the LGBT community, benignly cloaked as preventing the sinner from their sin (ie. being of the LGBT community) is alive, well, and growing!! It’s no surprise that these kind of crimes are taking place and probably will continue. I even heard today two r.c. radio hosts said the best thing to do in a situation where you have a LGBT son or daughter and they have a partner is to tell them they are no longer welcome in your home. The reasoning was that to encourage their life as a member of the LGBT community is not the teaching of the RC Church and that to encourage their sin is committing a sin. It’s really sickening to know that this is going on in 2015 is so sad and disheartening!!! And the R.C. Church is claiming it’s Christian. In a recent article in the L.A. Times it was pointed out that there is no mention whatsoever in the New Testament on anything related to the LGBT issues. I’m hoping that sooner rather than later there will be some scientific/physical/psychological studies that will help being LGBT more understandable and thus get off the “choice” preaching of the Christian right and the RC people. However, in the mean time there is no excuse for mistreating and having discriminatory practices toward the LGBT community. Its no wonder organized religion is losing members.

Mark Mason

“Hate, it seems, has become a “Christian” value for some.
How in God’s name has Jesus been fashioned into a idol for bigots?”

I just read an article that said the RC is shying away from the phrase “living in sin” because it doesn’t exactly invite people in such circumstances into the fold. C’mon all you hateful, phobic and bigoted folks and share Christ love for all peoples with us! Kinda sounds worse than “living in sin” to me.

A Methodist church 8 miles down the road was burned down last year. The arson probably was White, probably male, probably comes from a “Christian family” and most likely is an American too. Rather large group to exclude from the fold…

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