...But freedom does not seem to be well tolerated anywhere in the world. This is especially true for religious freedom, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, yet is somthing that has never truly been allowed in this country. Too many people feel that "moral laws" are needed to protect others and to prevent us from falling into what we are already, and always have been, up to our necks in!
CAUTION: Religious content ahead. Be afraid...Be very afraid! :-P
The Apostle Paul once stated:"...I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Gal 2:21 TNIV
So why do we live in a country that purports to be "Christian" in philosophy, yet mandates the legalisms of the Old testament and raises the standards of the Apostle Paul to a higher station than the teachings of Christ? Perhaps the truth in labeling act should be applied and they should call themselves "Paulist Pharisees" and leave the name of Christ alone.
It never ceases to amaze me that way that people will take scripture in a vernacular that is three hundred years years or more outdated and insist that their misinterpretations of incorrectly translated scriptures be the guiding light of my existence. Art thou in accord with thy humble sister mine brethren? What is even more distressingis is that the legalisms of the Old Testament are being selectively applied - without even the benefit of the oral tradition that framed them to define them. But then again, Aramaic is not spoken as the milk tongue by contemporary humanity.Meh...
One of the things that I have always wondered about was why theology and dogmatic principle should be the cornerstones of churches - when both are man made attempts to quantify/qualify the nature of that which cannot be understood by mere mortals! Even more distressing is that they insist that I conform to their moral models when they will not even admit that transsexualism is a prenatal developmental issue that was set in my life by the end of the first trimeser post conception. It was not my "personal choice for an alternative lifestyle..." and has been a dead albatross to me my entire lifetime. Thus creationism is instituted to the point where the vast majority of Xtians have the tacit agreement that biological diversity within the human species does not even exist.
By this model, they can justify dehumanizing us and casting us out for what is inconvenient for both of us as by the denial of biological diversity, I am guilty of mens reus and actus reus. In other words I am an unredea,mable sinner and deserve everything that happens to me! Cute! Heads they win, tails I lose! Try telling this to the 1 in 30 babies born with some type of birth defect. Oh, but I digress! They are not talking about that 1 in 30 - they are talking about me! So nice of them to insist that I endure the unendurable simply beacuse it makes them feel better about the world they inhabit. Thus they are insisting that I suffer so that they do not have to grow in faith or live with gray areas in life rather than nonexistant black and white dualities they so adamantly cling to. After all, we are to "rejoice when we suffer trials of all kinds!" Yeah right! I would like to see some of those who have told me this endure just one month of what I had to endure for decades. Ever hear of spontaneous human combustion? The children of Isreal were only in the wilderness for 40 years. I have lived with GID for almost 60. How much do I have to endure before they think that I have suffered enough?
One of the things that I have been constantly warned about was to avoid churches like the Metropolitan Church and the United Church of Christ. "These are synagogs opf Satan!" I have been repeatedly warned. Well after I came out to a Christian Reformed Church (another church that was spawned from the same seed that gave us the UCC) I found out that there were evangelical Charismatic Fundamentalists within the congregation that made it impossible for me to stay there. These were also people that told me things like I could not be a liberal (Read: Demoncrat) and be a Christian. Want to run that by me again? There seems to be a conceptual disconnect in there someplace!
When it comes to legalisms and repressive theologies and dogmas, it would appear that mainstream Christianity holds first place, while casting away all things inconvenient. However, when it comes to following the teachings of Christ and meting out grace and love, embracing the poor and broken of the world, why is it that the Unitarians, MC and UCC seem to be acting the way Christ taught us to act? Christ hung out with the whores, tax collectors and the unclean of Israel, not the Sadducees and the Pharisees. So...Tell me... Who are the true followers of Christ?
JMHO from having been on both sides of the fence.