Jesus Christ, whether you believe in him or not, left an impact on the world that is still felt 2,000 years later on both sides of the political aisle.
Once again, the religious figure is being brought into current events with the Kim Davis situation, after the Kentucky clerk refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses — even going to jail over it — because she felt the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier in the year was in conflict with her religious beliefs.
Davis has been called a bigot by some and a hero by others for sticking by those beliefs, which she feels come directly from God through Jesus Christ.
But are Kim Davis’ beliefs exemplary of Christ’s teachings? That’s a question that raged on the page of one-time Christian Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire, a few days ago.
Rice, while speaking well of Christians, is vehemently opposed to what she feels is the bigotry of Davis, who has no issue with refusing same-sex marriage licenses while violating God’s directives for marriage.
(Davis is currently on her fourth marriage and has even received criticism from “God Hates F*gs” organizers the Westboro Baptist Church.)
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSaysRepent) September 8, 2015
For Rice, there is no excuse for Davis’ actions, and Jesus Christ himself did not directly condemn homosexuality.
However, a closer reading of the Scriptures has some crying foul to that view.
While Rice contends that all the homosexual condemnation is in the Old Testament and that nothing directly comes from Jesus on the topic of homosexuality, there is this statement from Christ that deals directly with the teachings in the Old Testament, taken from Matthew 5:17-19 (NIV Translation).
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
A look through the Gospels, which are the primary sources for depicting the life of Jesus Christ, reveals that Christ was well-acquainted with every word of ancient Scripture, including the condemnations of homosexuality found in Leviticus.
To make the statement he did in Matthew 5 of the New Testament, many Christians contend, he is clearly letting his feelings be known on all sins openly condemned in the Old Testament, since that’s what he means by “the Law” and “the Prophets,” or their teachings, which again are the books making up the Old Testament of the Bible.
Does this make Jesus Christ a bigot?
Well, the actual definition of the word “bigot” means “a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Answering this question, once taking into account the Matthew 5:17-19 passage, would depend on how Jesus Christ reacted to those with whom he disagreed.
Examples for how Christ dealt with sin in the Bible include the woman who was caught in the act of adultery; Christ’s handling of Zacchaeus, a corrupt tax collector; and his reaction to traders in the temple court.
For the adulterous woman, whom law dictated should be stoned to death, Christ said the man without sin should cast the first stone, knowing that no one could under such a directive. Each man left until the woman was the only one remaining. While this appears merciful on the surface, he did leave her with a warning: “Go forth and sin no more.”
For Zacchaeus, once again Christ forgave the tax collector’s sins, but only noted that salvation had come to his house after he decided to make good on any and all persons he’d cheated in his time in the position (Luke 19:1-10).
Finally, for the traders who were conducting commerce in the temple courts, “he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!'” (John 2:15-16, NIV Translation).
For people like Davis, Jesus Christ had a forgiving and loving side, but that was tempered by an intolerance for wrongdoing. In other words, while he would hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, his mission was not to appease, tolerate, or condone what they did, but to change their hearts and behaviors.
He was accepting of them, but not of their sin.
So does that make Jesus Christ a bigot? Whatever you think will obviously depend on your own system of values and beliefs. But what do you think, readers? Are the passages above “proof” that Christ would be on the side of Kim Davis? Sound off in the comments section.
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