I have friends of all ages from around the globe, and last year at this time one of my dearest friends introduced me to a song entitled “It’s a Sin,” by the Pet Shop Boys. It is a sarcastic “not” apology to the people in the singer’s life who made him feel dirty or deficient just for wanting to be human. He laments how all of everything he had ever done was a horrible sin. Now, he is being utterly sarcastic, but honestly that is just about how I was raised. We actually joked that the only vice we had left was food. The sad fact was they were wrapped up entirely on a completely false and arbitrary morality that has nothing to do with real applicable ethics. Here are the lyrics. The church of my past was really intent on making sure I knew what sins “really” were all while not being bothered to teach me about the crimes against humanity they were committing in Jesus name.
According to me, “False sins” are the arbitrary actions chosen to be sins out of a false interpretation of the Bible or out of a rigid reaction to a perceived flaw in culture. We were to never ever masturbate, to think thoughts of being attracted to another person, be gay, wear our hair the wrong way, wear our clothes the wrong way, listen to secular music, date unsaved people, or dance. Vague ideas about helping those less fortunate than ourselves never were carried out and left us feeling guilty for not doing much about those hungry in our town. I would hear about how we can’t help the homeless because this would enable them to behave badly. We could only get them to first adhere to our false morality then we could help them. NO consideration was given at all to trying to understand why people do what they do and how they end up in dire circumstances anyway. There was no grace, no compassion, and no understanding only the endless, pointless litany of what could not be done. This resulted in a group of young adults that had no idea how to handle the pressures of life, relationships, personal health, and social interactions. For me, real sins are those that ignore the needs of fellow men and cause damage. Adults having consensual sex outside of marriage is not the same as rape. One of these actions is not a sin and the other most definitely is. I was taught to care way more about my extramarital interactions and that rape is ok in a marriage situation.
This inward focused group of believers that had a false sense of superiority left behind the youth group, got married, and began to raise children in the exact same way as they were. No one facing real problems are ever helped and the needs of the poor just continue to grow. It began to tear at my mind how the hungry continually get hungrier and the churches continually get bigger. None of the money used to build fancy pants buildings or pay the many pastors actually go to doing the work that Jesus asked them to do. Feed the hungry and clothe the orphaned. The fact that these chores remain largely undone is unconscionable to me. It is the greater lapse of morality and failure. That the American church has enough money multiple times over to solve world hunger and yet fails to do so makes their obsession with genitals completely and utterly sinful.
The worst part is how they make their own members feel completely awful constantly. The holders of the tithes tell their members to go out and solve the world’s hunger issues with any money they have left over. I was told by my last church that my donations to Heifer International were by no means counted towards a tithe. All of our ten percent charitable donation was to be made to the church without withholding any to be considered for membership and then if I wanted to give any extra that was between me and the Lord. For my situation, that was no burden, but I thought of those that do not have extra in the bank account.
My hope is that the church will start to teach love, sexuality, and responsibility with open minds and hearts caring less about genitalia placement and more about consent. Instead of passing harsh judgement on young, struggling single mothers why not pass out condoms and sex education that prevents unwanted pregnancies in the first place? Instead of ignoring the homeless population and blaming them for their problems, why not learn about the issues of mental illness which so often result in homelessness and drug addiction and help those people become productive members of society again? Instead of handing out fake money salvation tracts, why not give food to the hungry? Instead of handing out platitudes and prayers, why not blankets and clothes? So much of what the church is hung up on has no bearing at all on the greater good of humanity. It only gives a false sense of superiority to those that adhere to a bunch of hypocritical nonsense. If you are going to believe in Jesus, get His biggest message right. “Care for the widows and orphans [the most in need of his time] for this is religion.”