People who toss out heckles at political events might need to be careful, especially when using scripture as part their heckles, as happened at a Pete Buttigieg rally the other day. Hecklers  were on his case because he is openly gay, and were chanting: “Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom and Gomorrah …” While it is true that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the violent homosexual behavior in the Genesis account (and from which, I assume, the designation sodomy derives), that is evidently only one dimension of their wickedness.

Skip over the centuries to the prophecy of Ezekiel (16:49-50) and you will find this interesting for the reason Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed: “Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” Economic sins loom very large in the teachings, especially in the Old Testament prophets, but also in the teachings of Jesus, … like: “Blessed are you poor. Woe to you rich.” The significant Biblical studies on homosexuality seem to come down to the conclusion that it is promiscuous homosexuality that is being condemned, not loving permanent commitment. (You can pursue that is you will, but it’s a complex bit of scholarship).

But economic sins, most especially neglect of the helpless poor are omnipresent and unequivocal. Take that them into the current presidential race and where it goes. There seems to be little doubt that control of political policy is in the hands of the wealthy powers, the PACs, the lobbies, and other influences at the disposal of the 1% who control the wealth. If one is inclined to be a heckler at a political rally, and choose to use scripture as a weapon, you will probably not get much traction heckling the rich.

People who tout themselves as ‘evangelical Christians’ seem to be pretty ignorant of huge Biblical themes such as economic justice, or the care of the environment, or racial prejudice, or the proper role of government in establishing peace and order and justice for all of its citizens. In a sense, the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years ago was much more of a prophetic movement that all too many religious gatherings. Scriptures don’t dodge controversial issues, and such prophetic issues need to be taught as part of discipleship.

The care of the poor, naked, homeless, unjustly imprisoned are the criteria with which Jesus taught that he would separate the sheep from the goats at his return. Candidate Buttigieg is openly gay, but is also a devout Episcopalian for whom scriptures form his ethics, and his platform. Check out the several candidate’s platforms and see how they reflect these Biblical priorities. It’s an interesting study.



About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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2 Responses to BLOG 4.19.19. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU HECKLE

  1. Becky Stone says:

    Excellent points/lessons! I’m proud that you are my Poppa!

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