Gay bashers are giving Christianity a bad name

“I am not ashamed of the gospel,” wrote St. Paul. And this has been a rallying cry for Christians for ages, especially when faced with criticism about how they act and are. But sometimes it’s hard to be a thinking person and not believe that the world would be a better place if some who call themselves Christian and are sure they are doing the Lord’s bidding were just to stand down.

The attempt to spread bigotry and intolerance–as in this Guardian article, where American fundamentalists are setting up offices to “fight homosexuality” in Africa–does make me ashamed of being a Christian. These fine folks are doing the same in other parts of the world, including my own country, Jamaica, where in recent years they have fanned into even hotter fury the fires of anti-homosexuality–this in an already homophobic society.

If someone were to ask me am I a Christian, I’d have to say, “Yes, but…” But I’m not one who thinks gay people are not made in the image of God. But I’m not one who thinks I’m duty bound to “stand up” against gay people. But, I’m not one who is perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is one of love.

Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Which part of this is ambiguous? What is so hard to understand?

And who gave them the right to police the world on behalf of Jesus? Even if they truly believe homosexuality is a sin, didn’t Jesus say, “Let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest”? Why are they, as Christians, going against Christ’s expressed will?

Thinking Christians have to take back the narrative from those who are spreading hate in the name of our Jesus. We need to be as methodical and as evangelical, as it were, in countering their gospel of darkness, with Jesus’ Gospel of light, love, and life.

Because they are not true followers of Jesus. They are not real Christians, and are giving the rest of us a bad name.

“Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

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Three simple things to do now about guns

In response to the Newton Massacre the NRA has come up with their own solution. Put an armed guard in every school in America. Our mouths are still agape.

I’m not an expert, but I feel passionately that something must be done to stop ordinary citizens taking their lives in their hands by just walking outside their doors. Which is what we do in a country with enough guns in circulation to supply every man, woman and child in the population.

I have more hope now that something can be done, due to two things: One, everyone in their right minds have seen that the NRA’s answer is blindingly stupid. Two, the recent elections showed that people have become less gullible, and less susceptible to the fear tactics.

I have no fear about putting forward my own simple suggestions, because I know they could not possibly be as stupid as the NRA’s.

What could be done now? There are examples from Australia, Britain, Israel and others.

1. Immediately dedicate funds to a buy-back program. So the government is not “taking” your guns—you are selling them back to the government at a fair market value. [Australia]

2. Limit the sale of ammunition to individuals to 50 bullets every two years. [Israel limits it to 50 over a lifetime–at least, so said Alan Derschowitz recently in an interview.]

3. Simultaneously, pass an assault weapons ban, and ensure that background checks and a 30 day waiting period are needed for ALL legal gun purchases. [Milder version of the UK]

And the great thing is that none of that violates anyone’s “right to bear arms”.

Why not?

Newtown: Angry and disgusted, but not surprised.

Angry, disgusted, powerless, grief-stricken. All the things I felt after hearing yesterday about the horrible massacre of little children in Newtown, Connecticut. What I did not feel was astonishment.

Astonishment I felt to the fullest in April 1999, when Columbine happened. I will never forget that day, never forget how oppressed and overwhelmed I felt. How I brought my teenage sons together that night and we prayed for the families of the victims, prayed for the souls of those killed.

Since Columbine, the US has had hundreds of deaths from mass shootings. Of children and adults. Surprise is no longer the first emotion I or anyone else feels. But sorrow, disgust, anger, powerlessness–they are always there.

Anger is uppermost today. Because I know why nothing is being done to stop the senseless gun killings.

Simply, a lot of people are profiting from guns. The manufacturers, the sellers, the politicians who are in bed with the first two. Then add the gutless wonders of lawmakers who are afraid to be seen as soft, to be offending the powerful gun lobby, and you get a whole lot of people invested in doing nothing.

Meanwhile innocent people, including children, die by the dozens.

“You are trying to take away my guns,” said a gun-lover to me in a Twitter exchange the last time there was a shooting, not many weeks ago. “I need to protect myself and my home.”

That’s the nonsense that fills their heads courtesy of the gun lobby. People want to TAKE AWAY their guns and their rights

What the bloody hell are they so afraid of, I ask? There is a good and decent police force in every village, town and city. And why is human life so disregarded that every breach of your personal space requires that someone be shot and most likely killed? Someone in the car next to you plays their music too loud and it’s okay to shoot them?

They cite the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment. How about we say it’s okay to bear any arms that existed when the Second Amendment was passed and the Bill written, but nothing else. You can bear those arms, but not assault weapons.

Actually civilian possession of military weapons, and big magazines should be criminalized. Numbers of guns held by civilians should be limited to one non-automatic gun each. It won’t stop the massacres altogether but it will reduce their numbers to the point where when there’s one, the reaction will be: “Oh, my G-d, I can’t believe this!” rather than: “Oh no, not again!”

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The ballad of the guns

Hear the ballad of the guns,
Of the guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns
Of the clamour and the tumult of the guns

A man walks into a church with a gun
And kills his ex-wife with a gun
And there’s nothing you can do
And there’s nothing you can say
For she’s dead with a gun
That was Sunday.

Hear the ballad of the guns,
Of the guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns
Of the clamour and the tumult of the guns

A man walks into a room with a gun
And shoots his girlfriend dead
With a gun
And says “Sorry” to his manager
Shoots himself in the head
With a gun
And there’s nothing you can do
And there’s nothing you can say
They’re both dead with a gun
That was Saturday.

Hear the ballad of the guns,
Of the guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns
Of the clamour and the tumult of the guns

A car stops with the music “too loud”
A man with a gun says “Turn it down”
And they don’t
So he takes out his a gun
And shoots and kills with his gun
A teenager in the backseat
And there’s nothing you can do
And there’s nothing you can say
For he’s dead with a gun
That was Friday.

And the idiots say it’s our right
We have to be able to fight
With a gun
Should the occasion warrant it–
And we know when it warrants it–
We need to be able
To bring to the table
Our infernal arms
To quell our alarms
We need, really need
All our GUNS!

Hear the ballad of the guns,
Of the guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns
Of the clamour and the tumult of the guns

And when they’re all dead
There’s no more to be said.

–by Rita Ann Wallace