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Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Samaritan at the Pulse

Omar Mateen, a native New Yorker, looked to to world to be a normal family man with a young son. Not many knew that he made several attendances to the Pulse gay nightclub in the city of Orlando, except perhaps by several of the regulars who frequent there. What was his motive? Was he secretly surveying the interior and its patrons as part of a terrorist group conspiracy? While he socialised, danced, and even bought drinks at the bar, was he laying down plans for a future assassin, to take place at exactly the right time for maximum effect, in order to honour Allah and secure a place in Paradise as a deserving Jihad?

Or could he have been a closet homosexual, despite being a husband and father, as hinted afterwards by his widowed wife? Could his secret orientation give him so much bother, shame and a low self esteem? Did he have a secret desire to mate up with one of the slim or well-built men in the club? Or even attempted to chat up a fellow he took a special fancy to, and was instantly fobbed off? As a result of the rejection, did he end up feeding his fantasies of wiping out the lives of other gay men and women? Had his plans of turning his fantasies to reality satisfy the intense rage brought on by his own self-rejection, as well as by rejection from others? 

I guess we would never know for sure what really went on in his mind, having himself been shot dead by a police officer, several hours after the shooting. But it was in the intervening period, when Mateen took a number of clubbers as hostages, that something wonderful took place. During the siege, one surviving member, undergraduate nurse Josh McGill, was close to another club member who was shot three times on the arm, and bleeding badly. So Josh took off his own shirt and used it to make a tourniquet, stopping the bleeding, and accompanied the victim to a nearby hospital. Josh McGill had literally saved his colleague's life by his quick action. 

Undergraduate Nurse Josh McGill
I can't help comparing McGill to that of a Samaritan, recorded in Luke 10:25-37. This story was one of the many parables spoken by Jesus himself. There are strong parallels between Josh McGill's goodness and that of the good Samaritan. There is also a distinct parallelism between McGill's patient and that of the passing Samaritan. The Samaritan's victim was a traveller who was set upon by thieves. He was left wounded with bleeding, and probably dying of his injuries. McGill's victim was also badly wounded by another, and was bleeding to death. The Samaritan bounded up the victim's wounds and took him to an inn, to be taken care of by its staff. McGill had his patient taken to hospital also to be taken care of by its staff. Also, the Samaritan was hated by the religious Jews of his day. Bring gay, McGill would be hated by many church leaders and their members, even by politicians.

Although to some, this can be a difficult question to answer: Who was really doing the will of God, the homosexual club member on a night out, or the pastor spewing hate from the pulpit? I could ask another question: Am I in the wrong to have a profile on a gay website? Someone such as myself, professing to be a Christian believer and is committed to a local church - be also a member of a website dedicated to gay fitness and sports - and also to spiritual and political matters? By reading this admission, how many fellow church members would tut-tut me, along with other readers of this blog?

Being a member of a gay website, with its forums and messaging boards, has given me a massive insight of the relationship between unbelievers and religion. And nothing can make an unbeliever, gay or straight, so hostile to God than organised religion. It is my conviction that religion had sent vast multitudes to Hell, and has left Heaven virtually unpopulated. And there is no better channel than from the mouth of a homosexual who has experienced hate, rejection and prejudice, and has suffered shame, guilt, and fear. It is from the forum posts that I came to learn about one late pastor who led Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

His infamy was borne out of the protest demonstrations whenever a gay pride was marching through a city, and even at funerals of dead U.S. soldiers. Placards lined the streets, shouting GOD HATES AMERICA, along with GOD HATE FAGS (short for Faggots, slang for the stereotype feminised male homosexual) and FAGS CURSED FOR HELL, and other similar placards with angry, hateful logo. Little wonder, under such a cruel upbringing with corporal punishment in abundance, his son Nathan grew up to become a committed atheist. 

The late Fred Phelps

Fred Phelps out on a hate crusade.

Two more church leaders can be included here, and unlike Fred Phelps, they spoke in direct reference to the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub. One is Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, which insist that only the King James Version of the Bible is the true Word of God. In reference to the Pulse nightclub shooting, he came up with this statement:
The good news is that there's fifty less (sic) paedophiles in this world.
This is the same church minister who prays for the death of President Barak Obama for giving consent for voluntary abortions. Fortunately, at present there is no sign of Anderson's prayers being answered, as their current President will be out of office by the end of the year. By contrast, my wish is that Barak Obama will never fall victim to premature illness, or end up involved in a fatal accident.

Then there is a quote from Roger Jimenes, pastor of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, and also a believer of the King James Version of the Bible. He made this reference to the same incident in Orlando:
If we lived in a righteous Government, they should round them all up and put them against a firing wall, and blow their brains out.

Charming! and we wonder why gay men in particular hates Christianity. It does make me wonder, if such preachers can spew such statements so freely from the pulpit, how do the members feel? Assuming, of course, that by remaining under the leadership of such men, the whole congregation is in full agreement. It wasn't difficult for me to click on to their websites to find out about the background of such men. I have discovered that both these leaders are as orthodox and fundamental in their credo as any other church leader or elder. They believe in the universality of sin, and the atonement made by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is received by the believer through faith as opposed to works, and once saved always saved, with their explanation that since we can't work to gain salvation, we can't work to lose it either.

Steve Anderson - "Fifty fewer paedophiles."

Roger Jimenes - "Blow their brains out!"

These are theological statements which I am fully committed to myself. I too am an advocate of eternal security of the believer, and my understanding of the true nature of sin makes it impossible to uphold the Arminian view that salvation can be lost by the believer. Therefore, in the theological circle, I must stand with them. But by condemning homosexuals as if a separate species to that of the straight community, such leaders ride on high horses to the point that they have become like the Pharisees. If they see themselves as so righteous, then it is easy to look down from their high towers to judge and condemn those who live different lifestyles. Any differences between them and the Pharisees narrows to virtually none-existence, as the Pharisees saw themselves as in favour with God due to being sons of Abraham, and therefore heirs and guardians of the Abrahamic Covenant (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8, John 8:39).

So as the Jews, and especially the Pharisees, hated the Samaritans for who they were, not being proper descendants of Abraham, so these church leaders hates homosexuals for the same reason - not being of the spiritual descendants of Abraham through faith in Christ. Furthermore, as Roger Jimenes insists, he would not allow any gays into his church when they meet on Sundays, just as the Jews would have kept the Samaritans out of their synagogues.

It is distressing to read about how such advocates of Eternal Security abuse such a wonderful truth to its detriment. One of the main reasons why once saved always saved must be true is because of the very nature of sin. James has written that if someone who keeps the whole Law stumbles at just one point, he is guilty of breaking the whole Law, and therefore must face judgement (James 2:8-11). If a believer can lose his salvation by excess sin or departing from the faith, then Heaven would be totally empty of all redeemed humans. Great men such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and all the prophets, along with all New Testament saints, including Peter, James, John and Paul, would all be lost eternally if salvation can be forfeited. In other words, all of these men of faith mentioned would now be in Hell. Such is the devastating reality of Arminian theology.

None of us are aware of what was the spiritual state of Josh McGill's heart on the night he bound up a victim's wounds. But he had compassion, a virtue found wanting in these church leaders. There is a strong likelihood that McGill hated organised religion. On the other hand, he could be a committed Christian himself. What? A committed Christian in a gay club? Well, why not? How could he show the love of Christ to those around him? Is being gay worse than being a murderer? These church leaders seem to think so. But James doesn't agree, as he equalled adultery and murder as both transgressions of the Law. But instead of outright murder, the sin he accuses his readers is that of favouritism, something very common in churches to this day. In most churches, favouritism is tolerated, even practised by the elders. For example, choosing a graduate over a manual worker to preach. But homosexuality is not tolerated at all. Yet James categorises favouritism with murder, and no doubt, homosexuals with adulterers. But both are equally sinful, and no saint can claim total freedom from such sins (1 John 1:8).

To put it in James' perspective: Fred Phelps, Steven Anderson, and Roger Jimenes are murderers, and according to 1 John 3:15, 4:8, no murderer has eternal life in him, neither does such know God, for God is love. I suppose it is possible to be spot on at every theological issue, as these three were, but still remain lost. Could it be possible to mistake intellect with real faith? Because the fruit of real faith is love, very much like the love Josh McGill has shown, even if he's homosexual.

One thing we have seen lately is that a gay man, dressed in a singlet or tank top, has shown a practical love of Jesus Christ, in sheer contrast to the smartly dressed but hateful church leaders of our day.


  1. Dear Frank,
    Thanks as always for the thought-provoking post. As our pastor often says, religion never saved anyone -- religion can be deadly, deceptive, and send you straight to hell. Only faith in our Lord Jesus Christ saves. He is Love and Truth, and He asks us to speak the truth in love. It is not ours to judge, only to know what the Bible says and to share that with others, in love. God loves sinners enough to have sent His only Son to die for us, but He hates sin. We should know and stand up for what is right and fight against what is wrong, beginning in our own hearts, minds and lives.
    God bless,

  2. Like many other things there is more than one part to the Story. I Corinthians 6:9-10 definitely states, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

    Too often the church and organized religion focuses on Homosexuality and ignores adultery, promiscuity, drunkeness or materialism and greed which are also listed as indicators that a person is not a Christian.

    We also tend to forget that as I Corinthians 6:11 says, we were equally bad before God changed us. "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

    If we are to win them to Christ, we cannot condone or ignore their sin, but at the same time we must realize Christ came to save them from that sin. We are not to push them into hell. Either extreme is going against God.

  3. The fact that homosexuality is singled out by certain ministers probably says more about their personal anxieties than any real antipathy towards that particular sin. No sin is really worse than any other as in the first instance all sin is disobedience to God.