Home > Equality Forum, religion > Equality Forum Day 6 (1): “Would Jesus Discriminate?”

Equality Forum Day 6 (1): “Would Jesus Discriminate?”

Today the orderly procession of Equality Forum that held sway all week breaks up: This afternoon, there were four EF panels — two at a time — and eighteen “collaborative” programs, running six at a time. Even as I write this, there’s a political strategizing reception going on. The week’s glamor event, the International Equality Dinner, then runs from 7-10, followed by a couple of mega parties (that I won’t be attending.)

I will be attending the dinner — a chance to interview the honoree, San Fran Mayor Gavin Newsom — and will report on that tomorrow. Before that, I’m offering a few “mini-blogs” — blogettes, if you wish — on a few of the collaborative programs. I darted among them, panning for gold.

The first one I attended asked the question raised in the title, above.  A large and diverse crowd squeezed into a rather small,  warm room to hear Rev. Karla Fleshman, who preaches (although the word isn’t quite apt) at the Imago Dei Metropolitan Community Church. I showed up mostly because I knew least about the subject.

What I heard was so clearly stated, persuasive, and ultimately obvious that one might leave the session amazed that fundamentalism has any hold at all. Let’s start with this dictum by Fleshman: “People who say: ‘The Bible says….’ aren’t talking about the Bible as much as about themselves.” The Bible says many  things to many different people, and in any event it’s not even clear what it literally says, or means.

In a few minutes, Fleshman ran through all of the problems: It was set down in writing centuries after it began as an oral tradition; what was written down was written in unreliable ways (animal skins, for example); the translations are hugely problematic (is a compound word just the sum of the two words it contains? not always, Mr. “Chairman”); etc., etc.

So what does that leave? A choice between loving affirmation and separation/exclusion; the Bible itself provides examples of both. Fleshman, of course, chooses the Bible that gets its inspiration from St. Paul: Nothing separates us from the love of God. We were reminded that the Bible is to inspire us, “not to terrify us.”

“Love the sin, hate the sinner”? Fleshman wants to hear a new song. Amen.

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