April 2018
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public letter to John Fichtner on homosexuality, Jesus & the Bible, religious bullying, and love

To John Fichtner of Liberty Church in Marietta
on your claim that homosexuality is a sin, your claim that your judgment is the only valid interpretation, and your heretical, blasphemous claim that Christians should put denouncing sin above showing love:

I'm deeply disappointed in you as a person, and incensed with your behavior. You used to be humble and value truth above pride: you used to say in every sermon, "what I preach is just my interpretation: check with your own spirit, God, and the Bible to be sure." You used to listen and consider the possibility that you might have misinterpreted things. Now you are so arrogantly confident in your authority that you laugh disbelievingly when someone questions your judgment. Five years ago you started down this path when you claimed that "witnessing" was more important than love. Now you've started claiming that your judgment is also more important than love, and that your interpretation of the few times the Bible mentions the word homosexuality is unquestionably correct. I have three things to say to you about this.

1) Your interpretation is based on flimsy reasoning, is certainly not the only interpretation, and in my mind and the minds of many (conservative!) Christians, is erroneous (and comes from your own prejudice). Here's a well-researched and exhaustive explanation of the passages that mention homosexuality. Despite your claims, science and sociology certainly do not say homosexuality is bad, and whether or not it is innate is irrelevant, because it's not a sin.

2) Your presenting your interpretation as truth without allowing your followers to decide for themselves is religious bullying and spiritual abuse. Jesus had a LOT to say about religious bullies -- people who oppressed others because they were so sure they had the "right" answers and the "right" way of living. Here's what Jesus said about homosexuals: "          ." (that is, nothing) Here's what Jesus said about religious bullies: Luke 11:37-54, Matthew 18:6, Matthew 23 (the entire chapter), especially verse 15: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." Even Paul (who wrote Romans which you claim condemns homosexuality) says clearly that we are each to work out our own salvation. Jesus broke the "laws" of the old testament over and over. Such as working on the sabbath, which according to the popular interpretation of the day broke one of the commandments. Did Jesus sin? or were the "pastors" of the day wrong when they decided that observing the letter of the law was more important than the POINT of the law?

3) The only command Jesus gave was Love, and the Bible says that God is Love. That means that the claim that something is more important than love is contradicting Jesus and the Bible. Even if you were right in your interpretation that "homosexuality is a sin" and in your forcing your interpretation on others, you'd still be wrong in your claim that "fixing" homosexuals is more important than showing them love as they are. 1st Cor 13, 1 John 4:7-21, John 13:34-35, Matthew 22:36-40.

4) Love is NOT deciding that someone else's life isn't good enough and telling them they can change in order to be what you think is right. That's called judging, and in case you weren't sure, judging isn't love and it isn't appropriate for a human to do to another. People are bad at judging others because they aren't omniscient.

You upset me very much with your leading people astray. Your church is filled with loving people who want to know the best way to treat others, and you tell them such lies about what love is! You encourage them to use violence and destruction to make their children obey! despite the Bible saying "don't embitter/provoke/exasperate/anger your children!" I desperately hope that someone interferes with your dogmatic reign; not to punish you but to stop you from damaging all of those souls whom you call tender and then trample.

To anyone else who reads this and cares about whether or not Jesus would consider homosexuality a sin, I encourage you to read for yourself and decide, not accept anyone's claim without examining everything (including the historical context and the translation/transliterations) for yourself.

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lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
Belenen, this post made me weep. Everything in this letter needs to be said, and you are courageous enough to say it.
tralfamadore ══╣╠══
Wow. This is extremely powerful, and I really commend you for being able to address this through obvious disappointment with a clear head and very real and pertinent examples. I hope that this is a letter that you're planning on giving him, or something that you address with him in some way. Reading that entry from five years ago made me really uncomfortable. The way he addressed your concerns by turning them back around on you and admonishing/questioning your behavior or the presumed strength of your convictions is really disgusting and one of the reasons that I don't feel at all comfortable practicing any kind of organized religion or even necessarily worshiping with anyone else.

It's what's so incredibly disappointing to me, too. When people ask if I'm religious, I say no. In fact, my knee-jerk reaction is to say that I don't even believe in God because the image I have been shown of God throughout my life is one so rife with judgment and isolation that I can't even think to take part in it. I've never felt comfortable with someone else preaching to me or telling me what supposed path I should follow, though I have had some of the most awesome and life-changing conversations about religion with some of the most devout Christians I know. Still, I just can't get behind it as a religion, and it kills me that I don't live anywhere near a place where people meet for spiritual talk that isn't some denomination of the Christian word.

I'm really, really happy that you've shared this because the resources are so wonderful. But I'm really sorry that was the experience that you had with this pastor and in this congregation.
aliyna ══╣╠══
This. Pretty much all of this, straight up.
sidheblessed ══╣Love╠══
Although I am no longer Christian (largely because of people like this), the one thing I took from it was that love was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Jesus was the one person without sin and he chose to use his spiritual knowledge to love those who would otherwise be rejected. He brought people out of the shadows and said "Love these people as I love them." He defended those who were condemned by everyone else for their sins. The point of Christianity, I thought, was to follow the example set by Jesus and choose love and compassion over judgement and hatred, no matter how hard it was.

What you've said here is really important. This spiritual bullying and homophobia is absolutely not ok. This needed to be said and said so eloquently.
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
To those who defend homosexuality based on the bible, please read it first. You certainly have a right to your opinion, untill uneducated and dangerous to others. Study Gods word then try again. There is lots said in the word of God pertaining to homosexuality. Although no man should judge another God dose require man to obay his teaching. Ware granted free will, BUT there are consequences in this world and heaven. Gods blessing's to you.
belenen ══╣╠══
Re: I
Did you even bother to read what i wrote before ignorantly giving this knee-jerk reaction? You're not helping anyone by parroting what you've heard without learning anything for yourself. If you can'tb bothered to read the information i gave and actually respond to what i said, don't butt in. I do not welcome meaningless drivel, only thoughtful responses that show actual engagement with the material. You get an F for not reading the assignment.
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
Belenen... grow up son. If you want weiner. Go bye yourself a chili cheese. Be a man for heavens sake. Dicks are for chicks
belenen ══╣shock╠══
Lolz, dicks ARE for chicks! That's why i have a strap-on; the possibilities grow exponentially when you have all of the pieces. You get a D for being wildly off-topic in an amusing way.
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
Uneducated little boy
belenen ══╣ewwwww╠══
F for boring and useless comment.
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
He said he loves homosexuals
belenen ══╣contemptuous╠══
Re: Love
and he gets an F for clearly only watching the movie and not reading the book.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.