Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Undercutting Personal Values: Jill & Tracy Harrison

The other day while watching the news, I saw a heartbreaking story about a lesbian couple, Jill & Tracy Harrison, who wanted to enroll their daughter into a Christian pre-school, however they were rejected because they’re lesbian parents. The standard principle of St. Vincent School is “in matters of marriage and outside the marriage”, therefore rejecting their 4 year old child.

"St. Vincent's School as a ministry of St. Vincent's Cathedral upholds the clear teaching of the Christian faith, the Holy Bible, and the Anglican Church in North America," the Rev. Ryan Reed said. "We based our decisions about enrollment on what is best for the children of St. Vincent's as a whole and in conformity with the above standards," he said. "We regret the disappointment the mother feels, but also do not understand why she would want to enroll her child in a school that would undercut her own personal values at home."

Undercut her personal values? What I would like to see is every single staff member, teacher, principal and yes, even the custodian get privately investigated for any “immoral” behavior outside the workplace. Has anyone been divorced and then remarried while having their ex-spouse still alive? That’s an abomination right there, because technically in the Bible it’s considered adultery. Are there any single parents? Are there any parents indulging in alcohol or drugs from time to time? Has any one of the staff members had an affair? Has anyone had premarital sex? Has anyone used the Lord’s name in vain? Point is: can any one of these people throw the first stone? I don’t believe so. Everyone is flawed within the Christian religion, however at the same time, made to perfection in God’s eyes. What makes another person who is also a “sinner”, judge so harshly? If they simply go by Leviticus alone, it clearly stated that eating shellfish or a man shaving his beard will surely go to hell. Even Romans and other books of the bible describe homosexuality as "promiscuity", but they are not speaking about a loving relationship between two people. The bible clearly states the dangers “sexual sin”. Even premarital sex between heterosexuals is a sin. Why can’t people of every lifestyle and “sin” congregate together as one and worship their God without the judgments of others? Isn’t that what church is all about? Didn’t Jesus spend his time and surround himself with “sinners” and immoral people of this world? Why isn’t this “Christian” church - a church that instills the teachings of Jesus, setting an example? Would Jesus turn away a 4 year old child just because her parents, who happen to be women are lesbians?

Here are some scriptures that may help reinforce some teachings of Jesus and what the Bible clearly states:

Biblically speaking, in Leviticus, it says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

Okay, but it also states that man should not eat crustaceans of the sea (shellfish), or shave his beard, for that is also an abomination to God. Again, is everyone going to hell? These scriptures are the old law that no longer applies to Christians.

“But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. **For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”**

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

Then you have this passage:
“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ-and not because we have obeyed the law. ***For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.***” ~Galatians 2:15-16

Relying on Jesus’ sacrifice is why love between two people is not wrong. The old Law no longer binds us. He died for us so that we no longer are bound by the old law, that we can have peace knowing that God accepts us. The biggest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and to also love others as you would yourself. Ah, the golden rule. It’s so hard for super-duper hyped up Christians to follow. It’s no wonder so many of my gay and lesbian friends have turned from Christianity due to other people criticizing their lives so much. I’m just glad I can be there for people who have lost hope in Christianity and to let them know how loved they are by God. How important they are to God and that whomever they love, is also a blessing by God.

This last scripture will also prove that whether male or female, we are all part of God's plan:

“Let me put it in another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are ALL Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you.” ~Galatians 3:24-29

Maybe St. Vincent’s Episcopal School should read up on the Bible a bit more or perhaps, learn more on the teachings of Christ. I would also love to see Jill & Tracy Harrison “undercut” the school’s personal values.

14 comments:

~Just me again~ said...

That is so sad. I shake my head. No Deb, I don't think there is one person working in that school that has been divorceed, drinks, is living in 'sin'. They are all absolutely perfect. This makes me sick. Again...these are the Christians that are what make me really wonder.

the walking man said...

Seems to me that the education of children has nothing whatsoever to do with the orientation of the parents. Especially at the tuition rates I am sure that school charges.

Deb said...

This is the very thing that makes many people turn away from Christian-based religions. People are so judgmental, yet they are never accountable for their own sins or, perhaps in some cases "your sin is worse". No sin is greater than another, and to have people turn away from God because they're instilling this rigid teaching that Jesus never taught---it makes it all so discouraging. I hope the family doesn't give up hope and doesn't get discouraged from such judgmental Christians. If it were Jesus teaching in that school, He'd welcome her with opened arms and would have loved to educate her on everything He knows. Funny how people wanna be more like Jesus, when they're acting more like demons.

Eh, I can go on and on about this...

Big Kahuna said...

Deb,

I enjoy your blog, even when I do not necessarily agree with your viewpoint, such as now.

Although I do identify as "Christian", it is a loose affiliation, as I find organized churches to in fact be judgmental and hypocritical in areas such as this.

There is no 'good' reason for St. Vincent to deny this child, but as a private religious school they have every right to. They are simply interpreting the bible the way that best serves them - just like all people do.

People confuse faith with truth - there is no absolute truth, as it differs from one's viewpoint. Christ as our savior is not the truth, only my (and your) belief. For all we 'truly' know, Jesus may have been as judgmental toward certain people as Pontius Pilate was toward him.

Anyhow, I do hope the family finds a school that welcomes their children and family for who they are rather than worry about what they are not.

Take Care!

Deb said...

Hi Big Kahuna,

I totally see your point and yes, you are right in that respect, it is a private school and they are free to choose who gets in. I agree that faith is NOT truth----science cannot prove spirituality, we only have faith itself. I just feel bad for these people. There's nothing anyone can do or say to change things, only to move on to those who will open their doors to this innocent child.

Thanks for your input! :)

budh.aaah said...

Hi Deb,
That was sad..what people would or wouldnt do in the name of religion..

Thank you for writing about it. You are one person who revived my faith uh..I dont know how to put it..but I guess I want to say that you are the one who restored my views on homosexuality..which were positive till I had a personal bad experience.

But as an adage in Hindi goes..'one fish dirties the whole pond' which basically means that if one person is bad doesnt mean the entire population is bad..the bad fish/seed just gives a bad name to the entire pond.

Well keep up the good work.

budh.aaah said...

Oh and I do hope the lil angel gets admission in a great school..all the best to her and her parents.

Deb said...

Budh.aaah, thank you for sharing that with me. In the Bible there is a similar quote as you've written!
"...it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others—a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough!" -Galatians 5:7-10

It's so true---people can really ruin it for other people. There are soooooooo many beliefs within the Christian-based religion that it does get discouraging for many. In my opinion, as a Christian, I think people should focus more on having a personal relationship with God instead of instilling the 'thought-to-be' laws on people.

I appreciate your comment, thank you again!

Big Kahuna said...

Deb - Thank you for being kind. I was a bit nervous posting. I have been reading your blog for a couple years but never commented. You provide wise commentary and insight into a life much different than the one a midwest rube like I lives, which I appreciate.

I love the wedding photo of you and Madeliene on your page. I look at it every time I visit. Reminds me of my wedding last year to my beautiful bride.

Love is Love and the look of love is the same, no matter the two people that are experiencing it :-)

Deb said...

Big Kahuna, I'm so grateful that you've been reading my blog for quite some time. Whether you comment or not, I'm glad you did this time. :) And it's not about being kind, as far as seeing your point of view as well---it's about opening my eyes to a different way of looking at things. I love hearing other's opinions, especially when it makes me go, "hmmmmmmm" and challenges my own. I learn from peeps like you! So thank you!

Xmichra said...

This post has me very confused, as the Episcpal church is pretty well known for it's stand on civil rights, especially that of the equality of all including gay rights, and same sex marriage. So it really does shock me to hear that this specific school isn't on board with something approved (ofr lack of a better word) of their own church. Heck, they are the only church that I know of (Catholic) that will ordain women, and I think their head honcho (caon't remember the term off hand.. bishop?? I don't remember) is a woman. SO .... I am more than shocked at the wording from that school, given the pretense of religion.

Definatly solidifies (in my mind) that this is a personal preffrence headed by tha specific board fo people, rather than a religious jab.

Lorraina said...

If they're determined and strong parents i'd hope they'd continue the fight to have their children enrolled there.
But maybe they wouldn't want them educated there in such an old fashioned and bull headed place. Maybe this is the opportunity to find a better school for their kids.

Anonymous said...

It was no surprise to see that with all the scripture you posted you only picked the ones that made you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s easy for people to pick and choose the verses the want to hear and completely ignore the ones they don’t want to hear.

Why is it wrong for the school to, as you all says "judge the child’s parents" but it’s just fine for you to judge the school for standing up for their rights and beliefs.

“These scriptures are the old law that no longer applies to Christians.”
Well let’s try some New Testament scripture for you. How about these.
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? (2) Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Go ahead I challenge you to finish this chapter.

Romans 1:26-27 For this cause, God gave them up to dishonorable affections. For even their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature. (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; males with males working out shamefulness, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.

“I’m just glad I can be there for people who have lost hope in Christianity and to let them know how loved they are by God.”
I’m curious when your doing this do you ever run them across this verse. It's NT.
1 Corinthians 6:9-12 Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals, (10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (12) All things are lawful to me, but not all things profit...

These are just tips of the iceberg verses for you. I’m sure if you REALLY loved God you would read His ENTIRE love letter to you. And if you know He loves you so much you won't have a problem with EVERYTHING that is written in His Word.

Deb said...

Dear Anonymous,

The scriptures you referenced in Romans were all about promiscuity ---which goes for all premarital sex, orgies, etc.

Let’s just say that homosexuality is a sin. First of all, no one has the right to judge and ridicule them. What about the immoral woman in the bible? It’s about faith- and not anything else. If you fully believe that Jesus died for you up on the cross- you are saved.

“Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman”

"One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “All right. Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.” Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace." ~Luke 7:36-50

Your actions don’t mean anything if you don’t have faith. This woman displayed faith to Jesus, whereas the Pharisee didn’t. She was forgiven, in despite her sins.

Christianity is much more than just obeying the law. It’s having faith and love for Jesus. It’s loving one another and accepting each other ‘as is’---to not judge and ridicule for what you may think is wrong. God’s job is to judge. People are trying to fill God’s shoes. That’s quite a task to take on. They live such stressful and hard lives.

“All of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.

For the Scripture say,

If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
~1 Peter 3:8-12

I think many "Christians" should start reading the bible more, or even better, start getting to know Jesus more. Give it a shot! :)

God bless!