Words Have Power: On the Abdication of Authority

This article was written by George Rizor, Senior Pastor of Landover Christian Church, Landover, Maryland, and Professor of Psychology at Westwood College, Annandale, Virginia. Anyone familiar with the Freeh Report on The Pennsylvania State University?

Anyone familiar with Star Trek's Prime Directive?

Let’s be brutally honest for a moment. We’re not going to arrive at any satisfactory or definitive answer to the issues that we’re discussing when it comes to whether or not to introduce a resolution regarding the full inclusion of LGBTQ people into the life and ministry of the church, because a satisfactory, definitive answer would require revelation of an absolute.

There are still people who believe that black skin is the mark of Cain,and is God’s signal of the inferiority of black persons.

There are still people who believe in the primacy of ownership.

There are still people who believe that the American dream is about getting all you can and stepping on the next person if necessary.

There are still people who believe that marrying someone of a different race or different ethnicity is wrong, that racial purity is a desirable goal.

There will continue to be those who believe that homosexuality is an abomination and that homosexuals should be punished. In this thread, alone, we’ve heard that punishment posited as refusal to accept homosexual clergy and leadership in the local congregation.

So, the Freeh report? … ? Words have power. And leadership devoid of integrity, direction and a willingness to stand for ethics and morality, which it perceives as correct, is not leadership at all.

The Freeh Report on the Pennsylvania State University points to a culture that turns it’s head to avoid confrontation and upsetting the status quo. The result there was pedophilia. In the instance of bigotry toward gays, the result is—oh, that’s right—every thing from teen suicides to denial of basic human rights and opportunities.

The Prime Directive (i.e., “there can be no interference with the internal development of alien civilizations”) points to a higher, more mature society refusing to intervene in developing issues and cultures. What it fails to address is how strong the stench of degradation of integrity has to be before someone notices the odor.

With all due respect, or at least the respect I can muster, I am tired of calling abdication of morality leadership.

I am tired of calling equivocation over human rights and Biblical injustice leadership.

I am tired of pretending that there isn’t a disheartening familiarity between racial prejudice and homophobia, when the vast majority of Biblical scholars now suggest that homophobia cannot be Biblically justified.

I’m tired of being beaten up by those who call themselves Christian, but have elevated the Hebrew Scriptures and the Pauline epistles to levels of idolatry, while ignoring the Commands, example and teachings of Jesus, while still nominally practicing a religion that borrows his name.

I’m tired of apologetics apologizing, instead of explaining and guiding.

As I said earlier in this thread, there’s a body count in the debate over social justice issues surrounding exclusion of homosexuals from the full, open and comprehensive inclusion in our fellowship, and I’m pretty sure that a body count wouldn’t jive with the Jesus I read about in the Gospels, no matter how one contrives and convolutes to have Hebrew scripture words or Epistle words coming from Jesus’ mouth.

Good leadership may proclaim, but there should be prophetic truth embodied in that proclamation, and not so much accommodation and capitulation to societal influence and to the forces of cultural and religious dogma and tradition.