EDITOR:Lenny Bruce famously said, "Anyone who owns two shirts while someone else has none is not a Christian."
He based this upon the totality of Christ's teachings and the assumption that a true Christian follows the teachings of Jesus.
But everywhere today on social media and on bumper stickers we are told, "You can't be a liberal and a Christian, You can't be a Democrat and a Christian, you can't be pro-choice and Christian, you can't be homosexual and a Christian, you can't support same-sex marriage and be a Christian."
I find no word in the Bible that lists who on earth gets to decide who is or is not a Christian.
Not Lenny Bruce, nor any of us. In my opinion, a Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the only son of the living God, and who tries to follow in Jesus' steps. But this, too, is only my subjective opinion. I do not know the heart of any other.
Recently, an anti-gay letter appeared on this page, pointing to Sodom and Gomorrah as proof that homosexuality is a sin. (The letter also states, with absolutely no evidence, that one is never born gay.)
Genesis tells us Sodom was destroyed because there were not even ten righteous men in that city. If their great sin were homosexuality, that would imply that virtually the entire city was gay.
The story tells of townsfolk who approached strangers in order to rape them. Why do we not assume that rape was the great sin?
In that time, failure to show kindness to the wayfaring stranger was the most egregious of sins, since there were no hotels or restaurants; so travelers relied upon the hospitality of the citizens in the towns through which they passed.
Was this the sin?
Genesis doesn't tell us which sin brought about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Ezekiel does.
In Chapter 16:49, the prophet Ezekiel writes, "Now this was the sin of Sodom: they were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
Leviticus does condemn homosexual acts. And tattoos, astrology, shellfish, mules, hybrid fruits and veggies, blended fabrics, and shaving or clipping one's beard. Leviticus also requires that all debts be forgiven every seven years, and that farmers purposely leave some crops in the field for the poor.
And, of course, "The alien in the land must be treated as one of your native-born." It appears that we are all too eager to choose a verse that supports our position and ignore the rest.
Only within the last decade or so has our nation been free of laws that forbade marriage or sex between any two races.
The "anti-miscegenation" laws also supposedly had a Biblical basis.
These laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967, but it wasn't until 2001 that Alabama, the last state, finally repealed that law.
Those who lynched or jailed men who married or had sex outside the race were not bigots, they were just good Christians, right?
I see same-sex marriage as the same type of civil rights issue. It's all about equality under the law.
No church or clergy should be required to perform such a ceremony if it is offensive to them. But every civil servant who performs marriages should be required to, or not take the job if they can't do it in good conscience.
If we expect government to stay out of our religion, then we'd best ensure that religion stays out of our government.