Photo credit: Michael Holahan/Staff, m.chronicle.augusta.com
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?