By Tyler Bauer
It’s Sunday, so I figure there’s no better day to talk religion in a blog post. A sign at Remnant Fellowship Church in Auburn, Indiana says, “LGBTQ is a hate crime against God. Repent.” Naturally, this sign has gone viral (or at least as viral as something from Auburn can go) since it was first discovered. Some people are supportive of the sign, believing that LGBTQ lifestyles are unchristian. On the other hand, there are many that find the sign distasteful and offensive. One Twitter user even took matters into their own hands by changing the message on the sign, an action that was positively received by many Twitter users but criticized by supporters of the sign.
Both sides – Remnant Fellowship Church and Kristin Russell – are in the wrong. Here’s why:
Remnant Fellowship Church
I’m a Christian, but I’m by no means a theologian, so take my interpretation of the Bible with a grain of salt. Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) says, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 20:13 (NIV) says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Clearly, the Bible does not approve of homosexuality.
However, I think there is a far more important piece of scripture worth quoting. Matthew 22:36-40 says, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” To paraphrase, Christians are called to love God and love each other.
Though Remnant Fellowship Church’s sign is based upon legitimate religious teachings, they are missing the point. Matthew 22:36-40 didn’t put any qualifiers on which neighbors we should or should not love. We, as Christians, are called to love God and love those around us, regardless of their sexuality, gender, religion (or lack thereof), skin color, or any other arbitrary characteristic.
In my eyes, Kristin Russell is also at fault in this situation. In the above tweet, she brags about changing the message on the sign. While I generally agree that everyone should have an open mind, it is not her right to rearrange Remnant Fellowship Church’s sign. Rearranging the sign violates the church’s property rights and is technically vandalism.
One of the biggest problems I see nowadays is the violation of property rights because someone’s feelings are hurt. For example, the 2016 election was full of people stealing Trump yard signs. Regardless of how noble your cause is, you do not have the right to mess with someone else’s property. Your feelings do not take precedence over anyone’s property rights.
If you disagree with me, answer this question: Do I have the right to take a bumper sticker off your car? Or repaint your car because its current color upsets me? Or even worse, paint an opposing viewpoint onto your car?
The Big Picture
In the grand scheme of things, Remnant Fellowship Church’s sign and Kristin Russell’s rearrangement of that sign are wrong but aren’t that important of an issue. However, I believe that property rights are always worth defending, even if those property rights allow a group to do something you find hurtful. If you don’t approve of LGBTQ lifestyles, nobody is forcing you to be around LGBTQ individuals or live their lifestyles. If you don’t agree with a church’s teachings, nobody is forcing you to go to that church or follow a religion. Just live and let live.