Sydney Mardi Gras and the Light of the Church
04.and 05 March 2006 - This week Sydney's Mardi Gras filled the newspapers. The Roman Catholic and Anglican Archbishops has again condemned the Mardi Gras proclaiming homosexual lifestyle as contrary to the Church' moral law and that homosexual people are required to be celibate. The Anglican Church of St Michael's at Surrey Hill along the path of the celebration is planning to present a "Christian" witness and the joy of following a heterosexual Christian lifestyle instead of a homosexual lifestyle . It claimed to be a bright light amongst what it claims as the superficial glitter of the parades. Wesley Mission Sydney will also be in force claiming to be the most inclusive Church in Sydney but clearly maintaining that there will be no sexual relationship outside marriage as a commitment to holiness which it conveniently defined as between the opposite sexes. However, the mainstream churches will just be a negligible background noise to the event they tried to stop in 1978.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an annual parade and pride festival for the gay and lesbian community in Sydney, Australia. It began on June 24, 1978 as a protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. Although the organizers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. Many of the marchers were arrested. Although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1982. Even since the 80s, it has been growing in strength but the church has not relented in its criticism . The condemnation from the church includes:-
1. Homosexuality is contrary to the Moral Law.
2. The requirement to be celibate
As the Gays marches by the Wesley Mission and St. Michaels, they don't see Christ of the bible. They do not see Emmanuel or "God with Us". They see the Religions Pharisees whom Jesus condemned. The Church has become a symbol of persecution against the gay community. It is a witness not of Christ, not of love, but of discrimination against that which differs from ourselves, of hypocrisy in talking about freedom in Christ whilst taking away and limiting Gay rights not special rights but just the same rights, of Hypocrisy by condeming homosexuality as sin but not heterosexuality or much more blatant religious sins committed by the church. As it is done in the banner of Christ, the Church has effectively made Jesus Christ the scapegoat, a word of curse amongst the Gay community. As they walked passed the superficial witness of the Christian Church, they walked passed Jesus Christ their Saviour because we failed to be a true witness and have caused them to stumble.
The brightest lights at the show maybe those at St. Michaels. But it is but man made light no different from the lights of the Mardi Gras, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Because true light comes from within, it is Jesus Christ and it naturally attracts people, masses of people, for in Christ there is acceptance, healing, and love. People come towards the true light because they need the lord. You need not hide it or put it in a secret place as if ashamed of the light but you display it. But the display is double edged because it also illuminates all aspects of the church. For many Gays, it speaks of the Church, the body of Christ which they can see using their eyes being full of deception, injustice, wickedness, cruelty, hypocrisy and basically full of sin. They see only darkness in the light displayed by the church supposedly of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is referring to the religious leaders, to the Pharisees when He warned them that the light in them is but darkness. The Church appears to the rest of the community as holy, moral, clean and righteous, but inside is full of greed for money and wickedness against the sexual minorities. The true light, Jesus Christ will expose all the darkness in the church.
As the Gay marches passed the church and the christian missions, what they tasted is bitter for the Christian Church has lost its saltiness, when it diverted its focus into condemning gays instead of being a mirror reflecting the true light Jesus Christ and stayed focused into proclaiming the Gospel and supernatural healing and deliverances . But the Church only reflected its own darkness, and becomes a meaningless bystander to the parade that will go pass them when they could have done so much more in accepting Gays fully as people God so wonderfully created as such and showering them with protection and a safe place against the hostility they faced in the community at large. But instead, the church took lead in wickedness against this people group. The Church will be finally display the true light when it marches beside Gays at Mardi Gras to proclaim their support and inclusivity of the Gospel of Christ.