Houston Pastor: Opposing Discrimination Is ‘What Jesus Calls Me to Do’

With the question of repealing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) headed to a November ballot, pro-discrimination activists on the religious right are portraying the battle as one against the “presence of evil.” Sadly but predictably, those activists seek once again to use faith as a political weapon to divide Houstonians and promote discrimination — particularly against the LGBT community (even though HERO bars discrimination based on many factors, including race, religion and gender as well as sexual orientation and gender identity).

But in a moving opinion column in the Houston Chronicle this past weekend, African-American pastor Rudy Rasmus explains why his Christian faith calls on him to support HERO and oppose discrimination. The column is behind a paywall, but here are a couple of excerpts:

As a Christian, I am taught to love my neighbor as myself. When I search my heart, I believe we are all called to treat others with dignity and respect. Protecting others from discrimination is a way for me to live my faith and lead my congregation to be open and welcoming to all.

I believe that’s what Jesus calls me to do.

He calls me to do it in this wonderfully diverse and open city, with a reputation as a place that treats people with dignity and respect. A repeal of HERO would send a very different message to the people living here and those who might consider moving here or opening a business.

Unfortunately, as the ordinance heads toward the ballot, I anticipate that an argument will develop that pits religion against nondiscrimination. As a pastor and the leader of a faith community, I know how important the freedom of religion and religious expression is. But this is not a battle between gay and transgender people and people of faith, no matter how a few people might portray it.

That’s a false choice and it’s meant to divide us.

Even though we may have different beliefs, I believe we should look for those things that we all share — love of our families, the desire to do good work, wanting to be treated with dignity and respect, and the love that God gives us all as his children.

If the coming ballot fight really does expose a “presence of evil,” such evil doesn’t reside on the side of Pastor Rasmus. He seeks to show how faith can unite communities in support of fairness and equality for all. If HERO opponents are searching for the “presence of evil,” perhaps they should look at their own vile and divisive rhetoric.

Update: The full op-ed is also available here.

4 thoughts on “Houston Pastor: Opposing Discrimination Is ‘What Jesus Calls Me to Do’

  1. Bravo for that man, he’s doing what he should. The deranged people who call themselves Christians are not Christians at all.
    Regardless of scientific proof that homosexuals and the trangendered are made the way they are because it happens while in the process of gestation, once born it is irreversible.
    Show me ONE verse in your hate-filled bibles that talks about transcended people. You’ll go blind before you find anything about it. Although Christians do not want to believe that MEN wrote the bible and some of them were downright vicious. They didn’t know any better.
    But now it is the 21st century CE. There are more things to read other than the bible. But they are happier in their ignorance thinking that God wrote every word.
    The IDIOTS do not bother to understand that he bible was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Christian books were written in Greek. Any resemblance between the Greek and English (or Hebrew and Aramaic) translated into English speakers made horrible mistakes in the translation because they were putting in their own thoughts rather than just doing their jobs.
    So, folks, you are going out of business without realizing it.

  2. Amen.

    The attitude of Dave Welch and his minions reminds me of a famous statement by one of the most evil men who ever lived, a now dead Presbyterian minister in California by the name of Dr. Rousas Rushdoony. Personally, I would not be surprised to learn that many of the members in Dave Welch’s pastor organization in Houston are subscribers, to one degree or another, of Rushdoony’s radical and heretical theology. Check out this famous quote from Rushdoony, who was a well-known and very publicly vocal hater of American democracy and freedom, as well as an avowed racist and Jewish Holocaust denier. This quote comes from his famous multi-volume set of books entitled the “The Institutes of Biblical Law”:

    “Segregation or separation is thus a basic principle of Biblical law with respect to religion and morality. Every attempt to destroy this principle is an effort to reduce society to its lowest common denominator. Toleration is the excuse under which this leveling is undertaken, but the concept of toleration conceals a radical intolerance. In the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions as though no differences existed.”

    What Rushdoony was saying is that Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals should be treated as a privileged class in a reformulated American government and society—and that all people classified as sinners against Old Testament law should be treated as badly as possible—and even executed. Rushdoony also believed in the re-enslavement of American blacks.

    Those right wing, radical, nutjob religionists who are against HERO, whether they realize it or not, are aligning themselves almost perfectly with Rushdoony’s thinking. All Christians and all Texas citizens need to be aware that the opponents of HERO are walking in Rushdoony’s footprints. Furthermore, Rushdoony was in favor of executing all Americans whose religious beliefs (or lack of them) did not line up with those of his. This means that Rushdoony wanted to execute all nonbelievers and all members of Christian denominations in conflict with his beliefs. Rushdoony made this clear in his famous writings—no hearsay or conspiracy theories here. All you have to do is look it up at a local library or on-line.

    The above is stated just to show you what a seed like the current anti-HERO movement can grow into over time. Rushdoony’s followers are still alive and well today—and working hard each day to take over American government and society so they can use it to institute his evil philosophy, which has had an enormous influence on the current Religious Right in the United States and the religious homeschooling movement.

    Regardless of whether you personally think homosexuality is or is not evil in Biblical terms, the people interested in this anti-HERO issue need to understand that the pathway Dave Welch and his followers are marching on is, in and of itself alone, a pathway that leads to extreme evil.