A Plea to Christians

Christian bigots are going after our homosexual brothers and sisters with renewed vigor. The forces of acceptance, love, and justice really need our liberal and progressive Christians friends to step up and stand with us against the hatred and intolerance in their ranks. They have to show the courage they showed against the racist bigots who spoke for Christianity in the past.

Some of you are old enough to recall that Christian bigots made the same arguments against race mixing. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix,” said Judge Leon M. Bazile on January 6, 1959. US Senator Theodore Bilbo wrote in 1946: “Purity of race is a gift of God…. And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God,” he said.

I could continue for quite a while sharing quotes about how race mixing is un-Christian. But you are familiar with the arguments. Growing up, we all heard – and some of you, sadly, and hopefully regretfully, uttered – the same self-serving rhetoric against interracial marriage. I heard it from Christians all the time. “Andy, I got nothing against black people, in fact, some of my best friends are black, but the practice of interracial marriage is against God’s and natural law. It’s just wrong. But I still love everybody.” No, you really don’t. Racist bigotry in Christianity is still alive.

However, the Bible cannot legitimately be used to justify sexist bigotry any more than it can be used to justify racist bigotry. The Bible cannot be the moral and ethical guide for society. The Bible declares slavery to be a moral right and prescribes the rules by which one man can own another (Exodus 21:2-11,20-21; Leviticus 25:44-46). The Bible declares honor killing to be a moral right and prescribes the rules by which a father can murder his daughter (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). God of the Bible instructs his followers to perpetrate genocide (Deuteronomy 2:34, 3:6, 13:15, Joshua 6:21, 10:40; 1 Samuel 15:2-3) and rape (Deuteronomy 20:10-14; Judges 21:10-24; Numbers 31:7-18). All decent people condemn these terrible acts and commandments.

It is the moral duty of all Christians, if they truly bring the love they claim to bear, to reject the bigotry and hatred and terrorism of the scripture and work together with people of other faiths, and of no faith at all, to advance the universal humanist values that will finally bring us together in beloved community. Tolerance is not enough. We all must accept our brothers and sisters if we really mean to get away from irrational hate. We have to condemn bigotry. And, Christians, it would be most helpful if that condemnation occurred in your spheres of influence.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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