Dear Mr. ShuckEnclosed was a copy of the church's newsletter that contained a letter from its board declaring its belief in "God's standards of marriage and morality" accompanied by quotes from the Bible.
I read with interest your letter to the editor in the JC Press. Mr. Shuck, may I observe that religion comes from the Bible and the Bible strongly condems [sic] same sex marriage, homosexuals and Sodimites [sic]. Either we believe the Bible or we don't.
I am not trying to be a judge, God will do that, just trying to follow clear Bible teaching.
I pray that you might consider the scriptures on the enclosed paper with all sincerity.
Then I read today's Johnson City Press:
It’s clear from the May 30 letter written by the Rev. John Shuck that he is too busy studying President Obama’s poll numbers to read his Bible. If he did, he would read that the Bible clearly states homosexuality is a sin. In 1 Cor. 6:9-10, it says: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin — or practice homosexuality — none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.” After speaking about the “shameful act” of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-28, God says in verse 32: “They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them too.” The Rev. Shuck can try to justify his sinful beliefs here on earth, but one day he will stand before a holy God to give an account as to why he led many astray by his false teachings. The reverend called himself religious rather than a Christian. Maybe that explains why he is so blinded to the truth. LAYLA CIPTAK ElizabethtonThen I found another letter in the mail from an individual who wrote:
John,And he enclosed a Chick Tract, "Uninvited." On the tract he included this note:
You are not a preacher of Almighty God to support Queer Marriage!!! Much less their lifestyle. Queer Lifestyle is Lust of the Flesh! My God, and Creator says so. Learn the truth, or burn in Hell!!!
P.S. You, sir are Satan's preacher!
"No dead pervert bastard queer will enter heaven!!!"Yes, I'm home.
This is all in response to a letter I wrote to the Johnson City Press after the Press had solicited responses to the question, "What do you think of Obama's position on gay marriage?"
Here is the teaching moment.
I get this feedback because I am a minister. Church and clergy are symbols of morality. Many clergy including me are challenging openly and publicly what many people have learned in their churches. This feedback is expected and clergy must be willing to take it for change to occur.
I am putting this on my blog so you can know how hatred and ignorance are products of church and its clergy. This is learned behavior. This violent language comes from our churches. These individuals are applying what they have learned in church from their clergy. This is why we need clergy to speak for equality from a moral and spiritual perspective.
Rev. Jane Spahr said in my recent interview with her that in order for social change to occur and to end the violence against LGBT people we must change the churches. In order for the violence to end, churches and clergy must be bold in declaring and enacting equality.
This year, the PC(USA) can do its part in ending violence by publicly affirming the morality of same-gender relationships and promoting marriage equality. More Light Presbyterians has helpful resources.
It is time.