Salient…July 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3750)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Anita Bryant.

I would guess, to my average reader, the name neither rings a bell nor stimulates any particular memory.

But back in 1977 (when a few determined dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), Anita Bryant was voted “The Most Trusted Woman in America.”

She was a former Miss America contestant who had a singing career and was well-known as the pitch person for Florida orange juice.

She was vibrant.

She was youthful.

And she was, as we gradually discovered, quite political.

For you see, when the Fort Lauderdale City Council passed an ordinance removing all limitations on lodging and civil considerations for the homosexual community, Anita objected.

And we’re not talking about an op-ed letter to the newspaper. She hit the streets, held rallies, and turned a local situation into a national debate over the issue of whether people who pursued a homosexual lifestyle should be granted all of their civil liberties.

She was in demand. Her performances were packed. She did interviews on all the Christian talk shows, and even one for Playboy Magazine. She was America’s sweetheart.

For you see, at that time in our country, the jury was not only out on the gay community, but was leaning toward the “rejection penalty.”

It was popular to be anti-gay.

It was considered patriotic to be against them.

As we arrived in the 1980s, and the horrific AIDS epidemic spread across the land, those who believed homosexuality to be an abomination to God also whispered that perhaps this new virus was the Almighty’s punishment.

Things changed.

Suddenly a little boy in Indiana got AIDS from a blood transfusion–and it was no longer merely an infection of the flaming queens. Ryan White, with his generous spirit, refused to believe that his particular AIDS was any different from the AIDS contracted by those in San Francisco.

He was humble, he was non-judgmental, and he was strong until the day he died.

He made those who condemned their brothers and sisters look foolish–especially Anita Bryant.

She is still alive, but unfortunately, her name is equated with intolerance instead of righteousness–or orange juice, for that matter.

An interesting fact that you may want to tuck away in your memory: lepers are remembered more favorably than Pharisees.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t defend God or morality by attacking behavior and hurting people.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 3) UnJudging … December 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2788)

Jesonian hands

Into a world filled with religious intolerance, promoted by souls who deemed themselves exceptional, Jesus arrived as a contrarian.

The Jews disrespected women, hated the Samaritans and despised the Romans. Not only did Jesus refuse to participate in this national pastime, but he actually propagated the notion that women were to be treated as equals, Samaritans deserved a revival and that Caesar was to be honored for what Caesar accomplished.

For this piece of insight, the Jews gave him a cross response.

Meanwhile, in the midst of our determining whether we have the impetus to stop judging other folks, a more serious situation has settled in on the children of the Kingdom.

At times we find ourselves uncomfortably linked with religious extremists who seem to share some of our batch of prejudice. After all, ISIS does not like women, ISIS has great fear and condemnation for sexual expression of almost any kind.

So until we wake up and realize that we not only need to cease judging the world, but also need to set in motion a path to “unjudge” what has already been done, we just may find ourselves irrelevant to the next generation of searchers.

I have never owned a slave but my ancestors did.

I do not treat women as weaker vessels, but I grew up in a church and a society where females were relegated to lesser positions.

I have never personally lobbied against homosexuals and their rights as American citizens, but I lived through a time when the Moral Majority was insulting and even threatening to these brothers and sisters.

So it falls my lot, mission and joy to repent for the stupidity of the past.

Yes–I get to unjudge the world.

  • I get to apologize for 400 years of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, racial profiling and alienation.
  • I get to act out acceptance and equality, to atone for the sins of mistreating women by refusing them rights and place.
  • And I get a chance to preach the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit do its work instead of deciding what is wheat and what is weeds.

It is a reasonable thing–the necessary step to becoming Jesonian.

Not only do we stop judging those around us, but we allow ourselves a season of sackcloth and ashes, to admit the evil that has occurred in our history, which has forbidden racial inclusion, female equivalency with males and social liberty for all Americans.

So I apologize for my brother Paul, who one day made some sideways comments about women which ended up in a holy book, producing hurtful results.

I’m sorry for Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant, who used the Gospel to isolate people instead of including them in the fold.

And I’m sorry that we seem to be so afraid of the world around us that we cannot allow the mercy in our souls to realize that evil does have life, but a very short span.

It is time to unjudge the world.

If we do so, we have a message for the next generation, filled with promise.

If we don’t, our religion is the dinosaur that must die so people can walk in peace on the earth.

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