Lauren Hale offers an open letter to those who cheered for the little boy who sang a heartbreakingly hate-filled song in front of his church.
Dear Members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle:
As you are now well aware, video of a young member of your church, a child far too young to understand the words which he sang, has gone viral. People are discussing your church. Your practices. The audacity of your congregation’s reaction to this young child’s song.
I watched the video this morning. My heart shattered into a million pieces with every syllable his young voice sang. It shattered even further as your congregation cheered. As someone shouted out, above the melee, “That’s MY BOY!”
Stop. Think. Please.
What if a child listening to that song, or other members of your congregation are gay and that’s where they are “on their spiritual journey” right this moment? What if, there were those in attendance who finally broke down and decided to come to a Christian church only to be met with such a glaring display of hatred? This does not seem accordance with your welcome statement on your website which reads:
“Welcome to Apostolic Truth Tabernacle – where our doors are open to you regardless of your background or where you are on your spiritual journey.”
Is this the way in which we are to present the Gospel? To present the words of our Father? The spirit of Jesus does not instruct us to hate with such voracity and vigor.
At your website, you posted this message:
“The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives. We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” (source: Main page of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle website)
Forgive me for not believing the first sentence. Forgive me for loving those in my life who are homosexual. Forgive me for hugging homosexuals. For accepting them as they are, where they are, and as fellow travelers on this journey of life. Forgive me for apologizing to them on behalf of those who dare to call themselves Christians and then behave such as your congregation has clearly done.
You hide behind the words of the Bible, dear members of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle. The Word is love. The Bible is not just words. It is a call to action. Love in action does not look as it does in the video of your young member.
Your actions do not express love. Your actions are in direct contradiction to the first sentence of your statement—the viral video of a young child singing, “Ain’t no homos going to heaven” absolutely condones, teaches, and practices hate of homosexuals. Are homosexuals not people according to your definition? Is this how you feel justified and morally comfortable with putting this statement out there? Or are you simply covering yourself?
I too, believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and strive to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture. For me, however, unlike you, the most important thing within the Word of God is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. To do unto others as we would have done unto us.
The Bible places a moral expectation upon us as Christians, yes. Expectations we should each strive to uphold and live out within the bounds of our own lives. The Bible also charges us to love one another. “Love thy neighbor.” It does not charge us to only love our neighbor as long as they are exactly like us. No. It charges us to love each other despite our differences.
My heart breaks to see you forget how to encourage love and acceptance as part of the Christian Faith. We do not selectively love others. We are called to love ALL.
I pray for you. I pray for the young child in the video. I pray for your community, for your members, and for your hearts to be open to the love which Christ charges us to put forth into the world.
Be the change. Be love. Be open.
Let God judge. We are but servants carrying His message. A message which should only include love.