Sin, scapegoating and other mean things

It’s funny how some people get bent out of shape over other people who sin differently to them.  Folk can have their own nice tidy sins they hide away or deny or keep behind closed doors, but the moment someone different to them ‘sins’ in a whole new way everyone gets excited over it.  And if the times are difficult, or money is tight, or things aren’t going the way people like it’s very easy to find someone to blame or to pin the blame on.  A few centuries ago if the crops failed, or if the villagers’ cattle birthed stillborn calves someone was bound to start blaming it on a curse which would start everyone off on finding the witch who made the curse.  Which would lead to a woman being burned at the stake simply because she lived on her own, was a bit odd and knew something of herb lore or something of the kind.  That’s called scapegoating by the way and in various forms it’s been a part of human society for a very long time.  Finding the scapegoat and casting them out or sacrificing them in some public way removes the curse/bad luck/misfortune/affliction/disease from the tribe and after that everything will be fine again.

Sin by definition means missing the mark.  The mark or marks having been established by the tribe and usually set down according to custom and backed by moral or religious beliefs. Here I’m using the idea of ‘religion’ in a very wide sense, but that doesn’t alter the fact that committing ‘sins’ has consequences of some kind for which a punishment will be demanded by the tribe.  Recently I read a comment by a rather bigoted social commentator, which I completely disagree with by the way, that the primary purpose of religion is to control sexual behaviour in society.  Which goes a long way towards explaining why at present some people who claim to be Christians are putting so much energy into denying human rights to another group of people who they perceive to be sinning differently to them.  I’m talking about Transgender folk by the way and it saddens me greatly that the loving message of Jesus of Nazareth is been twisted into a club to beat them with.

Just to make it completely clear I do not think for one moment that being Transgender is a sin.  The Christian message when reduced to its most basic form is, ‘Love G*d, love others.’  If I remember the Gospels correctly Jesus spent a lot of time talking with and even sharing food with folk who were considered outcasts in society.  I suppose if these so called Christians were pushing forward their ‘bathroom bills’ and ‘religious freedom bills’ on the basis that they hate and despise trans-folk at least we might be getting somewhere, but they’re not.  They are twisting the Christian faith to suit their own agenda which has not one thing to do with the teachings of Jesus the Christ whom they claim to be their Saviour.

So what’s behind their actions?  They speak of moral decline, the erosion of family values, but the answer does not lie in scapegoating trans-folk by refusing them service or denying them their basic right to pee in a safe place.  Perhaps what these Christians need to do is actually look at what it is they are preaching which just might lead them to realise that it is them who have missed the mark because what they have been preaching has nothing to do with Christianity at all.

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