Bible class

Fred Clark over at slacktivist is writing a multi-part series on the possible reasons that evangelical Christianity has come to devote such a huge amount of its energy to the gay-hatin’, to the extent that this survey by a Christian polling group found

a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.

Fred is naturally concerned about this, as an evangelical Christian himself, of what I’d think of as the “Love thy neighbor”/”By their fruits ye shall know them” school. He’s also a good, clear, funny writer (I’m always excited to see a new installment in his page-by-page reading of Left Behind), so I recommend his posts so far on the matter of evangelicals and gay-hatin’:

By our love, by our love

Gay-Hatin’ Gospel (pt. 1) The Safe Target

Gay-Hatin’ Gospel (pt. 2) Inner Demons

I’ll confess that a big reason I wrote this post, though, was just to quote his explanation of the meaning of the word “shibboleth.”

* The condensed version of the story, from Judges 12:

“Art thou an Ephraimite?”
“Um, no?”
“Say ‘shibboleth.'”
“Aha! Die Ephraimite!”
“Oh sit.”