Whatever religion one professes to believe in, one of the basic tenets of religion is not only to save humanity from its sins, but also promote tolerance and open mindedness toward those who do not share your beliefs!
On that test, many clergymen have failed miserably, and the problem is not only that these are their personal shortcomings, but that it has such a dramatic impact on their congregants, and often on the society at large! 🙁
Hate and prejudice is unacceptable rhetoric from a clergyman of any faith, and yet it prospers in American society!
For example, we have Franklin Graham, son of the the famous evangelist Billy Graham; and we have Terry Jones, pastor in Gainesville, Florida, both of whom spew forth anti Islamic rhetoric, which poisons the body politic, including the threat before September 11 that Jones would burn Korans at his church! 🙁
Then we also have Jones; the Reverend Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas; Pastor Eddie Long of Atlanta; and Rabbi Yehuda Levine of Brooklyn, New York as examples of religious leaders who promote hate and prejudice against people who are gay in their sexual orientation! 🙁
We also have the Catholic Church promoting anti gay sentiment, at the same time that many of its priests are shown to have been involved in such activity! And of course, the Pastor Eddie Long has been accused of similar activity with young men in his congregation, and yet rails against gays with poisonous rhetoric! 🙁
Whether evangelical Christians, Catholics, Jews, or mainline Protestants, we see too many examples of hate for people of a religion or those of a different sexual orientation, and these people are committing the ultimate sin: not following the concept of tolerance and open mindedness!
How can someone call himself or herself “religious” and then promote hate, prejudice, and discrimination in their sermons and public activities? And how can someone claiming to be “religious” be a parent and disown his or her own children over what is natural to them, as much as someone who naturally is heterosexual? 🙁
These leaders, and others like them, and ordinary citizens who are parents and reject their children because of being different, are not truly “religious”, but instead are hypocrites who are dividing families and society by their hate! 🙁
What is being truly “religious”? It is being a person who treats others who are different, with dignity and respect, and accepting diversity in this world with equanimity! It is how you deal with people every day of your life, not whether you attend church or synagogue on the Sabbath, as many such people sin all week and then think going to religious services somehow makes up for their horrible behavior on a daily basis!
It is essential that such religious leaders be called out for their reprehensible behavior, and be repudiated as hate mongers who do not deserve a collar! 🙁
And it is time for parents to act like parents, and be there for their children through thick and thin, not rejecting them under the guise of being “religious”!