It is an essential element of Americanism and humankind—we show love, respect and equality to one another. But in the fabric of American history lies the un-American, inhumane truth. History tells us Native Americans had their land taken away, were forced to follow Christianity, learn English and the way of the white man. Africans were brought here to become slaves for the wealthy elite of white society. Women could not vote, much less run for office. The list goes on from one minority group to another. One compelling truth that binds each of these struggles together is Christianity played a key role in the lack of fast movement toward equality. This is our history, the unfortunate truth of our country. Not all Christians showed hate, but many did.
It took marches, protests and deaths, but in the end, each group has reached a “point” of equality. We learned separate but equal does not work, being a woman makes you no less than a man, and the color of one’s skin has nothing to do with one’s integrity. As we have entered a new century, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement is embarking on its own struggle, one where Christianity, yet again, is the centerpiece. People are dying, countries are divided and families are being torn apart. Did we fail to learn anything from history?
In brief, here is a GLBT historical perspective of which many may not be aware. A pink triangle arm band was given to homosexuals in World War II—they, just like so many, died at the hands of Nazis. In the ’60s homosexuality was declared a psychological disorder and till this day shock treatment is one method used to “prevent” homosexual behavior. Up until 2011, when President Obama repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, gays and lesbians could not serve in the military. Today we see the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at the funeral services of military men and women, at parades, at political rallies. They hold signs that read “God Hates Fags.”
As a Christian, I’ve always had my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Whenever under attack for being gay it was Jesus Christ I went to. I read my Bible attend church services and truly try to live a good, ethical, moral life.
Pastor Steve Smotherman of Albuquerque’s Legacy Church recently made bold remarks on nmpolitics.net criticizing Gov. Martinez’ appointment of openly gay Public Regulation Commissioner Dr. Doug Howe: “With a governor who looked me in the eye personally and said she’s socially conservative, she believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, who said she wouldn’t espouse the homosexual agenda, I think this goes against that,” Smotherman said. “These aren’t the people we voted for you to appoint. We voted for you to appoint people who think like we do.”
This has sparked a conversation about what churches can morally, legally and ethically do. Did Pastor Smotherman want Gov. Martinez to discriminate against a man for being gay, break the law and not appoint him to the PRC? Well, with a statement that reads “espouse the homosexual agenda,” my conclusion is yes. What about the other politicians that have sought his advice, asked to speak to his congregation or attended Legacy Church: Do they feel the same way? Until they answer, one can only assume they agree.
Pastor Smotherman does not need to apologize, I have already forgiven him. I pray for him. But more importantly, I pray for those that are affected by his words: the kids that are bullied on the playground because Pastor Smotherman says being gay is wrong; the individual that continues to seek God’s love but “can’t find it” because Pastor Smotherman says there is no love, and that in essence gays should not hold any job. The time has come to claim our humanity and be human, be Christ-like and show love.