By Rev. Kelly Rivera Hart
Cross-posted from HERE.
Recently, there have been an upsurge in pastors that have used their position as spiritual leaders to denegrate another people. This is nothing new except that now these pastors are calling for not only social but physical harm to a whole group of people. They are not only saying that God will condemn them or that God will punish them. They are calling on their congregation to punish them. They are using their pulpits to call for internment camps and discrimination and all sorts of harm for people that do not look, walk, talk or smell like them. This is hypocrisy at it's highest form. And this is unacceptable.
When someone is called to be a minister, that person is given a direction to live a life of service to humanity. A minister is one who is called upon to share words and actions of encouragement, inspiration, hope and freedom. A minister is called to be a minister to share the Gospel of Love and not the ignorance of hate. We are not in it for the attention, which should be kept to a minimum. We are not in it for the riches, which there shouldn't be. We are not in it for the personal agenda, which should not even exist in a life that has been dedicated to a life of service. Our lives are no longer our own.
When I was in high school, there was a lot of speculation as to how I was going to make my mark on the world. I was somewhat involved in activism but not consistently. My eyes and other's hopes for me were that I would pursue a career in the musical world or as a journalist. I was firmly entrenched in both communities and I was headed in that direction. But then, I saw another calling for me, a deeper calling for me. After hosting a radio show, having numerous articles published in various magazines and being onstage as a backup singer, dancer, percussionist, voice actor and radio host, I found my heart sing in response to a spiritual calling. I walked away from it and lost contact with many, many dear friends but I knew that I would not be happy until the focus of my life was on the Love of God and the service to humanity.
Today, many years later, I see so many individuals taking to the pulpit and not using it to uplift and do service to the world but instead, spreading their hate, their UNchristian, pseudo-spiritual ignorance and deceit to tear down the world. And it makes my soul greive. This is not the message of Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah. This is not the way of spiritual service. This is not what the world needs now.
How can we dare call ourselves ministers or even spiritual people when we spread the destructive force of hate and discrimination? I am a minister in all the major faith traditions and quite familiar with all the Sacred Texts and none of them, NONE of them, encourage hating our neighbor. We are all called to love our neighbor and to treat all beings as we wish ourselves to be treated; not take away the few rights that we do have, not lock us up in internment camps. Not give us shock treatment. And not to pray the gay away.
As my heart grieves over the hatred from some of these hypocrites pulpits, I can only think it is a miniscule fraction of the grief that my Higher Power has over the bastardization of the words that are of love and hope and inclusion. And as my heart grieves over the hatred from these hypocrites in minster's clothing, I am given more direction, further encouragement, a higher calling to continue pressing on for justice for all people; black, white, latin, asian, gay, straight, bi, trans, rich, poor, across the street and around the world.