My hope for humanity is that sometime in the not too distant future, the Jerry Prevo's of this world will die out. I pray this happens before the Second Coming so that Jesus won't be quite so angry at finding out what some people were doing in his name. Jesus said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." He did not ask his disciples to first ascertain their sexual orientation.
The difference between Jerry Prevo and Jesus is that Jesus inhabited a world of inclusion, where everyone from prostitutes to tax collectors were welcomed. Jerry Prevo inhabits a small, mean little world of exclusion in which only a god of vengeance and anger exists. That's the Old Testament God. Jesus supposedly came to earth to turn the page on that chapter and tell a new story of a god of love and mercy.
I must admit a part of me is happy that Prevo's church tossed the Boy Scouts because of their new policy of allowing all boys to participate no matter whom they plan to date later in life. I'm happy because this gets these vulnerable young men away from an evil influence that judges based only on ignorance and hate, neither of which quality the man they purport to follow ever exhibited.
I'm not quite sure what has got old Jerry's pants in a twist on this topic. Does he think that gays are secretly infiltrating the Boy Scouts to make converts? Does he actually think it works that way? And seriously, how can a young boy wanting to learn how to put up a tent properly actually threaten him or his bizarre morality?
I continue to find it both sad and amusing that people cherry pick which parts of the Old and New Testament they will find relevant in today's world based on their already preconceived notions of what constitutes morality. The truth is that the Old Testament proclaims a lot of things are OK (like a father's right to kill his child) and a lot of things are forbidden (anyone for a pig roast?) that most sane people now view in the context of the times in which they were written.
To ignore everything else in the Old Testament that no longer fits with reality and morality as we now define it and to only pick up certain passages that support one's inherent prejudices is wrong. If you are going to proclaim that the Old Testament prohibition on men sleeping with men is relevant today, then you also need to support the following: Consuming blood, blood in meat is not exempt (Genesis 9:4); cooking a goat in its mother's milk (Exodus 23:19); eating fat (Leviticus 3:17); the consumption of pork (Leviticus 11:7-8); eating aquatic creatures lacking fins or scales (Deuteronomy 14:9-10); and consuming the meat of strangled animals. (Acts 15:28-29).
Ever eaten a lobster, Jerry? Because if you have, you are on the same level as you place gay people because you did something the Old Testament prohibits. No heaven for you.
In Julia O'Malley's column on Sunday, she describes the pain and heartbreak of a woman, Debbie Harris, whose partner was killed while at work. The family of her deceased partner did not recognize their relationship. She went from one day having a home and loving partner to losing everything and having herself erased from her partner's history. At the end of this story, Harris says, "That's where my heart lies... helping Alaska understand that love is love. Love is just love."
As I think about it, I realize that there is a place in the New Testament where Jesus does get pretty angry. It's when he cleanses the Temple of the moneylenders, the people making a profit from the religious beliefs of others. Seems the one thing that does get his temper going is watching people get taken by charlatans claiming to offer them a free pass to heaven for just a little money. I also seem to remember a passage where Jesus says it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven.
If I was Jerry Prevo, these are the things that would make me very nervous, not gay Boy Scouts.
Elise Patkotak's new book, "Coming Into the City, " is now available at alaskabooksandcalendars.com and local bookstores.