A Baptist Preacher Doesn’t Like Me; I must be doing something right

A couple of weeks ago I wrote in the Petoskey News-Review that Jesus was the ultimate liberal. I questioned why so many people who called themselves “Christian” acted in a way that would seemingly make Jesus Christ cringe. I used some New Testament bible quotes to support the idea that Christianity should be more tolerant of gays, the poor, etc. Since anyone who has taken the time to look, we all know that there is no mention of homosexuality in the teachings of Jesus. We also know that every time one of today’s so-called Christians whips out some Leviticus to “prove” homosexuality is a sin, the rest of us whip out ten more things from Leviticus to show how flawed that thinking is.

You can read my entire article here, and I hope you can see that my intention was to challenge all the hate that seems to flow from self-annointed Christians. I expected the usual pile of wailing and gnashing of teeth by my posse of haters that show up each week on the PNR website in their unfulfilled hopes of showing me the errors of my ways. I wasn’t disappointed. I have written on this blog many times about how most of the folks taking the time to rip me should probably take enough time to read what I say instead of ripping what they think I said. It’s really quite amusing to read about all the stuff I have allegedly asserted in the many months since I started writing for the paper. Sometimes I don’t even like myself…until I realize I never said the stuff I’m being attacked for.

Among the usual steaming pile of drivel attacking my character, was one really interesting claim. Realizing that the haters of homosexuals were losing the war of Bible quotes, someone must have taken up the challenge to show how, using Jesus’ own words, that he was a gay-basher too. It takes some creativity and essentially the rejection of everything we ever thought we knew about Christ, but there it was. The argument goes like this:

1) Moses, speaking for God, in Leviticus claims homosexuality is an abomination.
2) Jesus says he accepts the laws of the Old Testament
3) Therefore, Jesus hates homosexuals

Like so many things that come at me in response to my column, this argument is repeated two more times by various critics, including someone who claims to be a pastor. In Friday’s edition of the PNR, someone by the name of Casey Smith takes me to task for claiming Jesus was a liberal. You can read his letter here.

It was this third iteration of this seriously flawed argument…this time coming from someone who is presumably paid to know better…that prompted the blog entry you’re reading now. But as you read Smith’s letter, it’s not too hard to see that it just one more diatribe against the left…full of profound logic flaws, factual errors, and attacks on stuff I DIDN’T say. I suppose I should be happy that the thought of Jesus not hating homosexuals is so offensive to Mr. Smith and his ilk, that they resort to these types of meltdowns without realizing how silly they sound. Perhaps one…maybe just one…of those who are buying into Smith’s messages of hate will see what a mistake this is and move on.

Here are the top three flaws in Mr. Smith’s letter. (There’s a lot more, but you’ll get the point soon enough.)

1) I know it’s probably nit-picking, but someone who presumes to preach in the name of God ought to know the difference between slander and libel and ought to have even a shred of evidence that one of these two things happened. Mr. Smith accuses me of slandering Christians by calling them hypocrites if they don’t agree with me. Well, there’s only three things wrong with that sixteen word claim. First, of course, I couldn’t slander them in a newspaper…slander is spoken word. But I will forgive him that error because he was obviously so worked up that he didn’t have time to think it through.

But look carefully at my original article. I use the word hypocrite twice. First, I use it to challenge people who scream about “political correctness” when they want to use a derogatory word but then complain when someone wishes them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” The other time the word shows up is in one of the quotes from the New Testament. (It was actually Jesus calling Smith’s ilk hypocrites…and it’s hard to imagine Smith mixing up Jesus and me.)

2) Mr. Smith somehow twisted my thoughts to say that by being kind to the poor what I really mean is the government should hand out money to all the lazy men he’s met who prefer cigarettes and cable to feeding their families. First, of course, no where in my original article to I talk about government handouts and no where do I call Jesus a socialist, or any of the other absurd things Smith seems to think I said. But note please, how Smith falls back on the tired rant against the poor…they’re poor because they’re lazy, irresponsible, etc. He’s a minister?

3) Mr. Smith then goes on to make some other claims about Jesus opposing abortion, socialism, central governments, etc (like his hate of homosexuality, not in the Bible either.) It’s an impressive rant, but like the bulk of Smith’s letter, it has nothing to do with anything I claimed in the article he’s trying to critique. He just can’t stop spewing his hate.

So there’s two lessons here. First, the radical religious right has no intention of treating homosexuals as people and they will make up the most twisted interpretations of Bible passages to try to sell us their hate. Word spreads quickly among those seeking a biblical justification for their hate. I’m planning on eating some shrimp tonight and I guess Jesus hates me now too.

Second, guys like Smith continue the tired method of argumnet that has poisoned congregations for centuries. Stand in the pulpit, spew hate, and meet challenges with a claim of some special connection to God that only he can understand and interpret. Few people going to his services can see the hypocrisy because they aren’t willing or able to see things for what they are. Like Oscar in Philip Roth’s “Conversion of the Jews,” someone at Smith’s church needs to stand up and call “B.S.!”

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One Comment on “A Baptist Preacher Doesn’t Like Me; I must be doing something right”

  1. Dick scott January 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Thanks. My subscription varies in delivery here on the outskirts and my satellite is too slow to read the internet P.News. Those with fixed ideas, of religious bent or not, are not convinced by reading them their scriptures. The ongoing controversy over Pope Francis’s statements is replete with those who hate his quality of love…recent essays and commentaries in Bloomberg by two Harvard ethicists/philosophers are fun to read Just got Joshua Greene’s “Moral Tribes” . Why we still coexist with our own tribe, group, sect, fraternity thru life and consider the world to be us versus them is deeply discouraging, other than knowing that social evolution long lags after physical.




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