"ARLINGTON, Texas - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.And to a certain extent, I understand the dilemma the church faced. They have bought into a world view where homosexuality is the new evil--up with terrorism. After all, we would rather be attacked by terrorists than use gay translators in the military. Given how that has been framed, it is almost expected that a church would refuse to even hold a memorial service for a gay person. But it makes me sad.
Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.
“It’s a slap in the face. It’s like, ’Oh, we’re sorry he died, but he’s gay so we can’t help you,”’ she said Friday."
But maybe not as sad as this story (H/t Mary) about a group within the Defense department, or at least endorsed by the Pentagon, that advances an apocalyptical view of the world and pushes that view on our soldiers. And those we are trying to democratize.
Baldwin became a right-wing, born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, and now is the star of Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military. As an official arm of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "Military Crusade in Iraq" in the near future.Good grief. Even George Bush learned that using the word "crusade" in this context was stupid. But I fear that these people use it knowing its meaning and intending to bring that message to an already turbulent and chaotic region. And sending copies of the Left Behind video game is just stupid. Yeah, let's just amp up the us v. them.
"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."
I recently had a conversation with a young person struggling with their faith. This person had been taught that either they believed in the literal and absolute innerant Bible or they were going to hell. Even now, this person felt forced to choose between Christianity (meaning fundamentalism) and being a non-Christian. I suggested there were alternatives, and that the bulk of Christians over time have not held such a fundamentalist line. But it is that tradition that gave us the Idaho representative misquoting the Bible to suggest that God was going to smite us for, well, religious freedom. And in the comments on that story, the faithful chimed in thanking their God for a Congressman who stood up for God.
But I don't think that is what he did. I don't think he made one thing better, just as I don't think sending Left Behind video games to anyone will make imrpove their lives, and I certainly don't think declaring a Christian Crusade in the Middle East will accomplish anything except get people killed.
Religion can do better. It has to.