Here’s why it matters that Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life after an assassin opened fire at a Tucson Safeway, is gay. It matters because his behavior throws the whole religious (mostly Christian) anti-LGBT argument into the dumpster once and for all — on their own terms and according to Scripture.
We’ve all heard the story: when Daniel heard shots he didn’t run away but instead ran toward them to try to help the Congresswoman and the other victims. He performed triage, directed other bystanders in administering simple first aid and then held Giffords, stanching her bleeding as well as he could, until an ambulance arrived. He didn’t know, in the beginning, whether the shooter had been caught or how much danger he was running into. But he made the conscious choice to do what he could.
These actions demonstrate love, kindness, faithfulness, patience, incredible self-control, and, of course, goodness — in other words, at least six of the nine “fruits of the Holy Spirit” by which Jesus and Paul taught their followers to judge whether or not things were good or evil.
This is important because many Christians would tell you that gay people can't demonstrate this kind of behavior. Goodness comes from Godliness and the fruits of the spirit are manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence. So anyone who's disconnected from God, as all gay people must be (according to many religious conservatives), is also disconnected from these gifts. This all comes from Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:43: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit,” with additional explanations from Paul in Galatians 5:22.
Jesus had little use for holier-than-thou religious types, so he might not be surprised to see a gay man behaving so impressively. The whole point of this system of discerning who's good and bad is that we can never really know anyone's interior state. All we can judge on is their outward behavior. And if Daniel Hernandez demonstrates “good fruit” by his behavior, then he cannot be a “bad tree.” He must be a good and godly person. Even though he’s gay.
On the other hand, the reverse is also true, according to this lesson. Where you see divisiveness, enmity, and “fits of anger,” the Apostle Paul teaches that you can rest assured that the person exhibiting them is far from God and is ruled by their flesh, not the Spirit. Hm… divisiveness and fits of anger. Glenn Beck, anybody? In fact, much of the news media on both sides? Sarah Palin and her crosshairs, or Sharron Angle and those “Second Amendment remedies?" Most of the current political posturing certainly sounds angry and divisive to me.
Personally, I would define myself as an extremely doubtful agnostic. I don’t believe that the Bible is special — but I do believe in this lesson. Love, kindness, etc. come from good sources. Ugliness, anger, lies, and hatred come from bad sources. You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. Conservatives, take a lesson, please.
And meanwhile, when you find yourself face-to-face with a Christian who says that LGBT folks are all unhappy sinners doomed to Hell who have no part of the Holy Spirit, remind them of Daniel Hernandez, who passes Jesus’ test with flying colors. And then ask about all those Fox commentators and other conservative demi-gods who show such complete contempt for the actual values they yammer on about nonstop.
Who’s really following Jesus' teaching here?
petition text -
Please Do Not Give Westboro Baptist Church a Platform
I am outraged that you would offer airtime to the Westboro Baptist Church. For more than 20 years, the Westboro Baptist Church has cynically and maliciously exploited the suffering of countless grieving families by protesting the funerals of fallen heroes and innocent victims alike.
Westboro Baptist Church has held up signs at the funerals of fallen soldiers saying “Thank God for IEDs,” “Pray for More Dead Soldiers” and “God Killed Your Son.” Before the families of victims of September 11th , they held up signs saying “Thank God for 9/11” and “God Hates America.” Westboro has picketed the funerals of hate crime victims with placards reading “God Wants Your Son Dead” and “God Hates Fags.”
This week Westboro has reacted to the tragedy in Tucson with messages like “God Sent the Shooter.”
By giving airtime and audience to the vicious and violent rhetoric of these people, you are rewarding sick and harmful behavior. I call on you to stand strong in the face of such atrocities and withdraw your offer to Westboro.
Rewarding hateful behavior doesn’t work, and I call on you to immediately rescind your offer of airtime to the Westboro Baptist Church.
[Your name here]