Blessed Are The Merciful, For They Shall Obtain Mercy

Recent news reports (including HERE at HuffPost) detail recent comments made by a Sheriff’s deputy in Knox County, Tennessee, who apparently moonlights as a pastor at the All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville.

In this latter capacity, he used a sermon to rail against LGBTQ+ people, saying in part:

“I’m sick of sodomy getting crammed down our throats.”

I mean first of all that’s not how sodomy works, but… Yeah, somehow the humour is forced when we consider the rest of this law enforcement officer’s words:

“It’s infecting our nation, people … The federal government, the police or what-have-you, should enforce Leviticus 20:13.”

“Send the police in 2019 out to these LGBT freaks and arrest them … Have a trial for them, and if they are convicted then they are to be put to death. Do you understand that? It’s a capital crime to be carried out by our government.”

Deputy Grayson Fritts has been removed from his law enforcement duties and put on what seems to be some kind of administrative leave pending the completion of a “buy-out offer”. Now I’m British, and I don’t fully understand what that means; but I know that in the US a sheriff is often an elected official, so it may be that, as with UK MPs, a sheriff can’t just resign, but has to be bureaucracied out of the system — as in the UK where an MP is ceremonially appointed to the position of ‘Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds and of the Manor of Northstead’, which automatically removes them from the House of Commons. I guess this is a similar thing.

Anyway, unfortunately it seems to mean that he won’t face any significant penalty for his violent hate spee…

Oh, wait, though. Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve been terribly unfair to Grayson. His was not violent hate speech. No, he’s explained that in saying he thought gay people should be murdered, he never intended any kind of violence to come from what he said:

“I’m not calling anyone here to violence. I’m saying it’s the government’s responsibility, is what I said.”

Well, obviously that makes it so much better. I’m sorry I doubted you, Grayson.

You obnoxious, violent, cowardly prick.

The thing is, he’s not alone in thinking like this. And, in America especially, a lot of the people who think like he does — i.e. are frightened and repulsed by LGBTQ+ people and want them to not exist — justify their hatred and intolerance by referring to the Bible. They present themselves as Christians and imply that the lived experience of LGBTQ+ is contrary to the teachings of Christ. Yet, as I think I may have pointed out before in my ramblings, scrutiny of the teachings of Jesus reveals that his coverage of this important issue amounted to…

Oh.

Nothing.

Turns out that in amongst all the recorded things Jesus said, his sermons, his parables, his lessons and counsel to his disciples, he didn’t find time to mention, “Don’t love someone of the same sex as you and don’t express a gender identity different to the one implied by your external sexual organs,”

You’d think he’d have chucked in in somewhere, given that it is — judging by the behaviour and words of so many of his modern American followers — the single most important issue facing God’s faithful.

But try as I might I can’t find anything about it.

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