Unnatural disasters

Natural disasters can bring out people’s best. As Hurricane Sandy roared across the Northeast, people joined together to pile sandbags; … Continued

Natural disasters can bring out people’s best. As Hurricane Sandy roared across the Northeast, people joined together to pile sandbags; they reached out to neighbors who needed a dry place; they risked life and limb to save strangers from a watery grave. Would that all neighbors be treated with such respect in political storms as well.

As the political storm season comes to a climax, there are unnatural disasters that speak of the human capacity to harm each other.

In a category 1 unnatural disaster, cartoonish leaders demean religion by blaming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for the hurricane. Linda Wall , prominent anti-LGBT lawyer claims that the USA is under “God’s judgment.” The Rev. John McTernan blames marriage equality laws for God’s “destructive judgments.”

In a category 2 unnatural disaster last week, Maryland pastor Robert Anderson, part of a coalition of Black pastors sponsored by the conservative National Organization for Marriage quoted the final lines of the first chapter of Romans in the Bible to proclaim that gay and lesbian people deserve death. He received “Amens” and “Excellent! Excellent!” along with applause. Never mind that the very next line, Romans 2:1, states, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Despite a press statement disclaimer from NOM, Anderson stands behind his statements.

View Photo Gallery: Take a look back at the fight in Maryland over same-sex marriage.

If these beliefs were not so unnaturally disastrous we could laugh it off, but we are leaders of two global networks of congregations founded on the belief that all are equal in God’s sight regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We have seen the un-natural disaster of suicides, homeless teens on the streets, and the profound grief of people who have been told they are going to hell because of whom they love and who they are. Families are told by Bible-thumping ministers to turn their backs on their LGBT family members as some kind of tough love—when what they need is God’s love and the love of a church that has matured beyond proof-texting prejudice.

Both of us are Christians and we lead churches grounded in the Word of God, but the Bible tells us to love our neighbor, not judge our neighbor.

In what appeared to be a category 3 unnatural disaster, millions were reminded of how the Bible can be used for evil when they viewed Missouri pastor Phil Snider’s anti-gay speech with the twist that it was composed of quotes from white religious leaders who supported the unnatural disaster of slavery and segregation. Gratefully, there are dozens of pastors of all races who now speak out in support of marriage equality as a simple matter of fairness and equal treatment before the law.

Finally, a category 4 unnatural disaster has been brewing in the over-heated waters of disdain toward our first African American president. With documented strategies of using gay issues to divide and conquer Black and Latino voters, voter ID laws in 10 states and voter intimidation now being investigated by the FBI, it is increasingly clear that some political forces would throw away our entire democracy to gain power.

A Bloomberg headline says it all, “Felony Warnings Combine With Bogus Mail to Limit Voter Turnout.” Despite being investigated for voter registration fraud in 2004, the same company was hired by the national Republican Party and Republicans in Florida and then fired by both when fraudulent voter registrations surfaced.

This category 4 unnatural disaster seeks a platform of power but erodes the pillars called “We The People” which hold that platform in place. This un-natural disaster can only be thwarted by voters who conquer every obstacle, face down every conjured up threat, and bravely challenge every illegal activity designed to keep them from voting.

We are two church women of African and European descent who lead international faith organizations. We vote and we work together because it matters. We remember Fannie Lou Hamer who was beaten to within an inch of her life, just for registering to vote. We remember Susan B. Anthony and hundreds of other women who were arrested and often brutalized in prison for demanding the vote.

We do not forget! Our votes are the result of struggle and we will continue to cast them with pride. No one is gonna turn us around!”

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches. Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco, is presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

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  • Dr. Michael J. Adee

    I give thanks to God for this thoughtful, clear and helpful message by Rev. Flunder and Rev. Wilson. Surely the God who creates and loves all of us is lifted up in this message by these two pastors who care deeply about the common good, who take seriously Jesus’ Great Commandment to love God, neighbor and self and who stand for liberty, justice and integrity. We are all God’s children and one human family. As this post points out so well, may we live together in this way.
    Dr. Michael J. Adee, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

  • ammonripple@yahoo.com

    Thank you for this prophetic word and for being faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The world needs to hear more words of love from those who seek to walk in the way of Jesus – and we need to speak the truth clearly in the face of injustice and evil, even when, especially when, it comes from fellow Christians. May our collective witness to love and justice for all change their hardened hearts.

    Ammon Ripple
    United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns

  • joaniehook

    Where do these people come up with these things? They certainly are not Biblical in any orthodox sense! Jesus gave us two commandments. The first to love God with all our mind, body and spirit – and the second was like unto the first. To love your neighbor as yourself. He even went so far as to state that upon these two commandments rested the law and the Prophets. The Apostle Paul sated that love did its neighbor no harm and was therefore the fulfillment of the law.

    The global (pretty much) replacement of Sodomite with homosexual, starting in 1946 is not a valid transliteration. The sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, as homosexuality is not puntative rape by heterosexual males but is consensual sex between adults. This is nothing more that changing the word of God to suit an agenda of scapegoating to cover up the real Sodomites those that are using money and political influence to commit the sins of Sodom, which is only defined in Ezekiel 16: 48 – 52:

    “48As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it. 51Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. 52Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have brought about for your sisters a more favourable judgement; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.” NRSV

    These people who are advocating Unnatural Disasters make Sodom look righteous by comparison. they advocate killing and violence where it is not even Biblical. Look at h

  • mikeschue

    Yes, this has been a crazy election season,
    but still the bottom line is VOTE.
    If you believe in freedom, VOTE!
    If you believe the choice is between something bad and something worse, VOTE!
    …because as history shows, it can get worse and voting matters.

    VOTE today if you can or VOTE Tuesday, Nov 6,
    but by all means get your ballot in the ballot box… VOTE!

  • CraigNewYork

    There is so much riding on this election! Romney would make natural disasters catastrophic by giving FEMA to for-profit groups. Unbelievable. Here’s his quote on FEMA: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Be sure to vote!

  • edbyronadams

    “This category 4 unnatural disaster seeks a platform of power but erodes the pillars called “We The People”

    I would put in that category those who make all political issues a matter of “rights” and then justify judges making decisions rather than the people and their representatives.

  • jay2drummer

    The people don’t get to make the decision regarding taking away equal rights from a minority group, nor denying a minority group equal protection, and when the majority or their representatives pass laws which do so, in violation of the US Constitution, then yes, not only are judges justified in making decisions, they have a duty in order to make sure all Americans, and not just the majority, are protected by laws.

  • ssbalm

    Nicely said, Nancy and Yvette. Thank you for your passion and persistence. You both always inspire me to be more deeply in the Word and to live more deeply in Christ!

  • revjoanbos

    Voter intimidation is a manifestation of the sin of greed. Thank you for raising your outrage!