If Hateful People Hate You, You’re Doing Something Right

I am a Christian and I support gay marriage. I believe in a firm separation of the church and state. So to me, if the church and state are truly separated, then why shouldn’t gay marriage be allowed? There is no reason it shouldn’t be. Religious organizations don’t delegate or get to have input on any other laws in our country (thank God! I happen to love the meat and dairy combination), so why should religious beliefs have a say in constitutional rights and laws? I know some people are not religious and are still against gay marriage, but for the purpose of this post, I’m focusing more on the religious fanatics who are outspoken about their hatred or disapproval of gay people.

While my marriage a few weeks ago was a public commitment to my husband and to God, I know that millions of marriages have nothing to do with God. And that is okay. Just because I have personal religious views doesn’t mean other people have to agree with me or live by what I think is “right.”

The same thing goes for my views on gay marriage. I know A LOT of Christians are against it (I know for a fact several people reading this right now are), but guess what? That’s okay, too. We don’t all have to agree on everything. See how easy that can be? We don’t have to fight or scream or excommunicate each other. We are human! We are built to analyze, think critically, disagree with each other, and learn from one another. Do I still get confused sometimes and wonder how homosexuality fits in with God’s word? Absolutely! A lot of the Bible confuses me, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. All I know is that I support everyone’s rights to freedom and equal treatment, and take to heart Jesus’ words about loving everyone, not just those you deem worthy.

I was amazed to find a church here in my town that also believes and practices that exact concept. In fact, this past Sunday the pastor said “welcome to our church where we appreciate diversity AND diverse opinions.” It is the most open-minded, loving, and honest church I’ve ever been to. Frankly, I didn’t know churches like this actually existed. Is it too good to be true? When do the brainwashing and animal sacrifices start? πŸ˜‰

A few weeks ago the pastor at this church stunned the community when he announced that he will not perform any more straight marriages until gay marriage is legalized.

surprisedIs this your face right now? It was definitely mine after hearing this announcement. The church is making a statement that it supports the gay community and while so many churches are shunning them and turning them away, we love and accept them. Not because they need pity or extra love, but because they are humans. I hesitate to even use terms like “gay community” because they are just people in relationships like anybody else. You don’t ever hear people say things like “the straight community”, do you?

Anyway, I have never been more proud to be an attendee of a church. I’m not a member yet, but I definitely plan on joining.

This past Sunday, I went to church with my mother-in-law, we were looking forward to an Easter service full of good music and thought provoking lessons. What we wereΒ not expecting were the protestors who were camped outside of the church screaming that we were all going to burn in hell with the homosexuals. They were holding huge, neon signs that said things like “Jesus must be your Lord or he will not be your Savior.” There was a 10-year old boy screaming that “it’s not too late to turn away from the gays, it’s not too late to escape hell and become real Christians.”

I was hit with a tidal wave of feelings. It felt like every possible human emotion was surging through my veins. Anger, humor, sadness, despair, confusion, more anger, pity, and finally joy.

I have never felt more proud to march up the steps of a church, laughing at the man who had just yelled in my face “you should be ashamed of yourself!” Suddenly, all of the anger left my heart because I realized that if such hateful, discriminating people by nature hate your church, your church must be doing something right.

I sat in the service and cried that day. I cried because the pastor, who has caused an UPROAR in the community and country, got up and gave an Easter sermon that was full of love with no sign of anger or bitterness towards the protesters outside his doors. I cried when a member of the church and a leader of an equality group in town got up and read a letter that the board had written to the church. A thank you letter for the church’s support and bravery. I cried when I looked around and saw so many new gay couples in the audience, several who have probably not been to church in years, or ever. The church was packed out with not different communities of people (gay, straight, etc.), but ONE community. ONE group of people who believed in love and acceptance with no exceptions.

All because a pastor made a simple statement. All because he said “we will love you and accept you no matter who you are, where you’re from, or who you love.”

When the service ended, we could hear the protestors outside the main church doors still screaming about our impending doom if we continued to love homosexuals. The pastor looked at his congregation and sternly said “if you feel anything but love and kindness right now, leave from another door. DO NOT go out those front doors” (or something along those lines).

My mother-in-law and I walked right out the front doors and I smiled at the protestors, not feeling the need to say one word. If you know me, you know what a feat that is πŸ™‚ I grinned at the cops perched nearby, and prayed that the young boy who was so full of ignorance and confusion would someday be okay. That he would not be permanently damaged from his brainwashing and hateful parents. It truly reminded me of the Westboro Baptist Church.

I smiled the rest of the day, in spite of the dramatic, unexpected morning at church. If hateful, cruel, and discriminatory people hate you, you’re doing something right.

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29 thoughts on “If Hateful People Hate You, You’re Doing Something Right

  1. Pingback: 2013 In Pictures | The Other Courtney

  2. This is just wonderful. As an atheist, a supporter of same-sex marriage and an advocate of intelligent debate, I totally agree with you. Sounds very emotional, too.

    • Oh what a great compliment, thank you!! That’s what I love, when people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and lives in general can discuss intelligently! I decided before posting this that I wasn’t going to even respond to the haters that commented, it just isn’t worth fighting over, especially when people are being irrational and hateful. Turns out, no haters commented at all, haha! It made me happy to see so many supporters! It really warms my heart to see so many people fighting for equality and LOVE in general. Thanks for being one of them πŸ˜€

  3. Pingback: Eleven Things – TheFickleBrain | TheFickleBrain

  4. This is an incredible place of worship you have found Courtney. It gives me hope that people, no matter their religion, or lack of it, CAN find common ground.

    Your post on this was well written, and filled with both humility and compassion … and just good.

    You should feel proud of this blog post … and of your pastor … and of yourself.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Katie. I feel like that is what the church was meant to be- a safe haven and happy place for people from ALL walks of life. Not just people who are pretending to be sin-free. I really appreciate your kind words, they mean so much to me. I AM proud of it and am thankful for the experience to help me grow closer to others and God. To be honest, it has reminded me what Christianity is all about and has helped me with my anger towards hypocritical Christians.

      Thank you again, your words always have a way of touching me deeply πŸ™‚

  5. Awesome story!! I love it! I’m not one for “the church” but that pastor seriously rocks. We need more pastors like him! And shame on those protestors trying to ruin people’s Easter celebration.

    • Thanks!! I agree, wish I saw more out there like this guy. He is great. And yeah so unfortunate about the protesters- someone on my church’s facebook page made a really good point… “if these are such good “Christians” why were they out protesting on Sunday morning instead of being at church?!!?!” LOL thought that was hilarious.

  6. AHHHH!! This is such a brilliant post Courtney! I feel the same way! I was raised Christian, but felt turned off by it for a while because I saw so much judgement and intolerance. I grew up learning that Christianity was about loving and having compassion for EVERYONE, not just a select group of people.

    I absolutely love what that Pastor did. It makes me feel good about Christianity again. That would definitely be a church I would want to join, too! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you!!! I know exactly what you mean about being turned off by Christianity. It got to the point where I hated going to church because I felt more unwelcome (or saw them unwelcoming to other people) than any other place!!

      I love the stance the pastor has taken, too. My mom had a good point about same-sex marriage. She said “when a pastor marries two straight people, he doesn’t say “you have to be free of your sin and be more acceptable in God’s eyes first before I’ll marry you.”” So true! And if one sin is no worse than another, how is this fair? Interesting to think about.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Margaret! It’s funny I was thinking the other day “I wonder how people go about finding churches like this? Do you google “church that supports homosexuals and everybody in general and isn’t judgmental and loves everyone without hypocrisy.”” hahahah, may not work. I hope you can find one as loving, warm, and accepting as mine. It has truly given me hope that more people/churches like this exist out there!!!

  7. What a beautiful post! Thank you for being what I like to think of as a “true” example of a Christian and embracing people without judgement. How wonderful that you have a church environment that supports that too.

    Signed,

    Person who has been judged way too many times by “Christians” for stuff other than sexual orientation

    • Oh thank you so much, that means the world to me. I have had a really hard time in my life with hypocritical and judgmental Christians, too. For several years I even thought about leaving the faith altogether. It didn’t make sense to me that such “religious” people could be so awful. But then I just have to remind myself that we are ALL human and it’s not the religion that’s corrupt, it’s the people who are self-righteous and cruel who are. And they are everywhere, not just in churches. I guess it’s just more hard to stomach when they are in churches though and are saying that everyone should be more like them b/c they are so much like God and sooo wonderful, haha.

      What REALLY irks me is when they say things like “it’s my duty to tell you what you’re doing wrong, God has told me to call you out on it.” REALLY gets my blood boiling. My very favorite verse now is John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Can you imagine if more people/Christians actually took that to heart? And didn’t say things like “I love you, that’s why I’m telling you what you’re doing wrong.” Blegh.

    • Thanks, Sonia!! I know, I have never been to a church like this before. I wonder how people go about finding them? I just found this one because a friend of mine goes there and she is the most down to earth girl ever, thought I’d give her church a try. SO glad I did. Come on, you can come visit on Sundays! It’s only a 6 hour drive each way πŸ˜€

  8. My biggest surprise here was at the end — this is a BAPTIST church?! That is crazy! I love it. Sounds like my kind of baptist church! (The only kind I’ve ever attended is the complete opposite of what you’re describing) Good for you for writing this — I think a lot of people need to hear it! πŸ™‚

    • Hmm maybe I should have been more clear: my church is actually Methodist, I referenced the Westboro Baptist Church because the protesters reminded me of them. You know about WBC right?? INSANE people. So sick in the head. Sadly, I actually haven’t been to a Baptist church that I was a big fan of, either. I’ve always had bad experiences. So far, this is the best church I’ve been to! It feels so real.

      Thanks for your words, they mean a lot!

  9. Lucky you to have found such a church! Thank you for sharing this story – it made me happy.

    You and your new husband are about as cute a couple as I’ve ever seen. Congrats!

    • I feel SO lucky, Amy! Like I said, didn’t really know these types of churches existed. A lot (all?) churches say that they love and accept everyone, but very few that I’ve attended actually practice what they preach. So wonderful to witness. I’m glad it made you happy, too!

      And thanks for the compliment, haha! We are loving married life so far and are trying to not make our friends and family vomit with our newlywed cuteness πŸ˜‰

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