Sydney Mardi Gras and the Light of the Church

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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 Although the organizers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police.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.

The Leviticus law is laid out for us throughout the Book of Leviticus and parts of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were to follow these laws until the Messiah came and a new covenant was created. How did the laws came about? what prompted their creation? It was the worship of idols by the Israelites despite God being their saviour from Egypt. The Israelites Exodus from Egypt occurred in BCE 1495, and entered into Canaan in AD 1455, after 40 years wandering in the desert. As a nation as a whole, they were still very much bound by the religions of Egypt and Canaan, despite having escaped from Egypt and having conquered Canaan. The bible tells us not to practice the religions of Egypt and Canaan, and goes on to lists the practices. In Canaan, the people worshiped Baal, and Astoreth. They were fertility Gods and the bible clearly describes the religious practices to be of sexual nature involving sex with everyone, and animals. The above practices were committed by Straight people with the intention of pleasing Baal. It is not a judgment on Homosexuality.

It is so easy for the Christian Right to assign bible verses against Gays. They never saw that the actions itself were not the sin, but their heart was. The Christian Right carefully compartmentalized those verses and attribute them to Gays. "It can't be referring to me" they claimed. But the bible is a two edged sword. It cuts both ways. It has a deeper meaning. For the Jews, their lover was God. They were not supposed to commit adultery, going to other gods. The sexual practices that were mentioned were part of the religious sex rites. In our times, what is the equivalent? Have committed spiritual adultery? unnatural love?. Could our God be people or religion. How often 'Christians' pray to Mary and the saints, replace Jesus by the Pope and Mary. We worshiped tradition, unity, self effort, money, and recognition by man. Whilst we condemn Gays for violating rather gray areas of the scriptures, we basically violated the first commandment that "You shall have no other gods besides Me... Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above...".

2. The requirement to be celibate

Realizing from experience that Gays are basically "born" as such, the church has reverted to claiming that homosexuality is of the fallen nature in the same grouping as illnesses, old age, death, etc. As homosexuality cannot "be helped" and since it is a sin only if it is committed, Gays are asked to be celibate in a commitment to holiness. The church is simply hypocritical and cruel. If homosexuality was to be considered as of fallen nature then so should heterosexuality and sex in general. But heterosexuality is flaunted with its high divorce rates and infidelity yet the condemnation fell on Gays for sexual immorality. We have demanded Gays to be celibate but not heterosexuals and deny them their basic rights to marry whom they loved and cherished, to have a family. We then turn around and called them a treat to the family.

The Anglican Church contradictory "Christian" and lifestyle witness is best highlighted by the soon and coming King Charles will be married to a divorcee, a clear violation of biblical principals. This is not the first , nor will be the last. The Church of England is itself founded upon infidelity of King Henry the Eight. Henry, determined to provide a male heir to the throne, decided to divorce Katharine and marry Anne Boleyn. English diplomacy became a series of maneuvers to win the approval of Pope Clement VII. The pope refused to give way on the divorce issue. In AD 1534 the separation with Rome was completed by the Act of Supremacy, which made the King Henry head of the Church of England.

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.

(Luke 11:33 NKJV) "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.

(Luke 11:34 NKJV) "The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

(Luke 11:35 NKJV) "Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

(Luke 11:39 NKJV) Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.

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.

(Luke 14:34 NKJV) "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?

(Luke 14:35 NKJV) "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

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.



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