When the Bible Is Used For Hate

Are you ready, kids? Whoooo lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he. SpongeBob SquarePants!

But wait, this silly frolicking sponge is really a sexual pervert teaching our innocent children to be pro-homosexual--at least according to James Dobson of Focus on the Family.


I always suspected there was something fishy about a sponge who openly held hands with a pink starfish. God only knows what illicit acts are taking place at SpongeBob's neighborhood appropriately named Bikini BOTTOM.


Thanks to the vigilant eyes of James Dobson, who credits himself for bringing about the president's re-election, we can now shield our children from SpongeBob the sex fiend.


Yes folks, Dobson outed SpongeBob during an inaugural feast held for members of Congress. It appears that SpongeBob joined other so-called "gay lovers" like Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog and Barney on a new video asking children to take a "tolerance pledge"--a pledge to show dignity and respect for those who are different, whether it be different gender, race, ethnicity, faith or yes, orientation.


Heaven forbid we teach our children to demonstrate agape (unconditional) love toward those who are different, when fear and ignorance are more useful tools for winning elections.


Furthermore, our fear of gays requires we smoke them out and persecute them, even if it endangers the security of our nation.


After the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, our intelligence agency revealed an alarming shortage of Arabic-speaking translators. The mountains of data collected concerning possible terrorist attacks remains practically useless because of the backlog of vital information that remains untranslated.


Last year's backlog alone encompasses 120,000 hours of potentially vital information concerning possible threats to our security. Of the 279 Arabic translators at the State Department, only five are fluent enough to handle the regional dialects and language subtleties.


Yet, since 1998, 20 Arabic-speaking government translators were discharged from the military for being gay. We had trained and skilled people who could do their job well and help save American lives, but because they are gay we would rather not take advantage of their skills and instead choose to endanger lives? Does sexual orientation really affect someone's ability to do their job well?


But why should we be surprised? Those today who use the Bible to advocate hate, disgust and fear toward homosexuals are the spiritual descendants of those in this nation who have used the Bible to persecute those who are different and have refused to conform to powers and principalities of the privileged social order.


Following God's biblical call to missionize the heathens and fulfill our Manifest Destiny, we committed genocide upon the indigenous nations of this land.


Based of the Word of God, we burned independent-thinking women at the stake in Salem on the charge of being witches.


Following God's ordained order for the universe as laid out in the Bible, we kidnapped, raped, enslaved and murdered Africans.


Maintaining God's scriptural command that men are to rule over women, we denied them the right to vote, and even today pay them 75 cents on the dollar for the same work they do as men.


And when the Rev. King voiced the call for freedom and liberation to flow like living water, most of our white churches stood against what was seen at the time as a communist wolf in sheep's clothing, because the desegregation he advocated contradicted how they had been taught to read the Bible.


Sadly, today the Bible is being used to oppress, dishonor and persecute our queer brothers and sisters, who like the rest of us, are also created in the image of God.


I am repulsed by politicians who have fanned the flames of hatred and fear toward gays in order to score votes with evangelical Christians. I am dismayed that the universal church of Jesus Christ has changed the message of salvation as an act of unconditional love to one where gays cannot be included among the saved. But does not Christ call us to love our (white, black, Latino/a, Native American, and yes gay) neighbor as ourselves?


Now, if you will excuse me, my favorite TV show comes on in 10 minutes--"SpongeBob SquarePants."


Miguel De La Torre, a Cuban American, is professor of theologies of liberation at Hope College in Holland, Mich. He is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former Baptist pastor in Kentucky. His column also appears in the Holland Sentinel.


Order Miguel De La Torre's book Reading the Bible from the Margins now from Amazon.com

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