OPINION | So how about that 'thou shalt not judge' bazalwane, can we give the LGBTQ+ a break?
After last week, I am sure of one thing: most Christians need to come right with the Lord... y'all need Jesus or is that the problem?
I am a strong believer in defending the word of God, as a Christian and a disciple of Jesus Christ. That being said, I am totally over Christians using God to judge others and be homophobic. Yes, I said it.
The conversation that was ignited by a birthday message from gospel singer Loyiso Bala to his gay brother and singer Phelo Bala which was perceived to be "low-key homophobic" is one we should have started a long time ago.
Christians need to address the elephant in the room.
After speaking to Loyiso - who issued an apology to the LGBTQ+ community for his message which he said was not intended to cause harm - I better understood where he was coming from but I also knew that there was a lesson to be learnt here.
Whether we are willing to admit it or not, part of the reason it has taken us this long to accept same-sex marriages or even integrate the LGBTQ+ community into important socio-economic conversations is because our Christian beliefs has fueled the homophobia movement for far too long.
Oh? Did I just touch a nerve there? Well, the "sermon" is now in session!
The bible says in Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
There are many other scriptures that seem to point towards "a man laying with a man" or any combination that isn't a "man laying with a woman" being an "abomination".
Okay fine. But we (Christians) conveniently forget that the bible for all intents and purposes was not written by God, but by people. People like you and me.
These people, with the divine inspiration from God wrote from visions and dreams. They wrote down their life experiences to show the power of God in different seasons.
What we fail to give significance to almost all the time is the context.
Where were these people based? What era did they exist in? What was happening in their societies at the time? What politics governed their rules? What substances they may or may not have taken at the time of jotting down what we've now generations later, chosen to be our life manual.
Another important element, we seem to always jump over when we use the bible to judge people is that the word itself from the bible says in James 4:12: "There is only one lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?"
Am I getting an amen yet, or do you feel judged yet mzalwane?
One of the Twitter threads that struck a chord with me this week was one written by former YoTV presenter Lumko Johnson. He highlighted the "subtle" homophobia LGBTQ+ members are subjected to from their family and particularly church members.
He spoke about how homosexual people had to settle for "conditional acceptance" from people they love. Something I am glad to say I have never knowingly done, but have seen happening around me. It is sad.
Loyiso told me that to ensure that this experience did not go in vain, he wanted to engage in conversations with members of the LGBTQ+ community who also identified as Christians. He explained that he wanted to understand how they are made to feel in such spaces and how they've managed to remain Christians when most Christians shun them.
Personally, I know a lot of gay people that have since left church because Christians are constantly failing to do the one thing they are called to do, which is to love.
As a journalist I once interviewed M(x) Blouse - who identifies as a gender non-conforming man- who said they divorced Jesus a long time ago. Nakhane said the same thing in an interview on Cliff Central.
As Christians, we are increasingly failing to win people over because our actions never match our words.
My thing is, if we are going to be selective about which part of the bible we follow, then let's just all agree to follow LOVE. All sins are equal before the Lord anyway, so a man sleeping with a man is on the same scale as you being envious or coveting your neighbor's wife.
"Love your neighbour," we always quote the Lord but I guess that doesn't apply if the neighbour is a man who is sexually attracted to another man neh? Hypocrites.