Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates a brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
I John 2:9-11
Today is Epiphany, the first day of the season of light. We celebrate the light of the world, which we see in Jesus. And we remind ourselves that we believe in light rather than darkness.
It is a powerful image, which speaks to the heart of our spiritual journey. We are always seeking more light; always doing our best to choose light over darkness; reminding ourselves that we can trust the light.
It is a struggle, because we are tempted by the darkness. Often the world seems to love darkness more than light. And there are some who will try to make us believe that darkness is light, and light is darkness.
Sometimes the campaign against the light is led by people who call themselves Christian.
One such campaign is led by a group which goes by the ironic acronym, “FACT.” The Family Action Council of Tennessee is promoting a bill to amend the state’s anti-bullying law to provide an exemption for expressions of religious belief.
The amendment would do two critical things. First, it allows an exemption for religious and philosophical statements of belief, as long as no physical harm is threatened. Students would be permitted to say that God hates gay people, or that gay people are going to hell, as long as they didn’t threaten physical violence. And second, it forbids teachers and administrators from naming protected groups. In other words, a teacher could not tell the class that bullying a gay student was wrong, only that bullying was wrong.
It only takes a nanosecond to realize that both ideas are designed to take away any protection for LGBT students. The amendment is darkness rather than light. It is also mean and stupid.
Epiphany is a good time to remind ourselves that Christians are always called to walk in the light, and choose light over darkness. Bigotry is always wrong. But Christians have a special responsibility to reject bigotry in the name of God. It is blasphemy.
whoever hates a brother or sister is in the darkness,
walks in the darkness,
and does not know the way to go,
because the darkness has brought on blindness.You can read the proposed bill at this link: