Gordon Monson: What would Jesus NOT do? Tear down pride flags or condemn LGBTQ individuals and their allies.

Heed Christ’s example or at least the advice of Ted Lasso: Be curious, not judgmental.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A pride flag is raised at Washington Square by Salt Lake City and LGBTQ+ leaders, marking the beginning of Pride Month on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

There have been reports in Utah neighborhoods of sorry vigilant souls who have torn down and stolen pride flags for reasons that mystify, that can be attributed to one of two causes, causes that often swirl together into one.

Indignation and hate.

Some aggressors apparently believe that being LGBTQ is an affront to God and that showing support for LGBTQ individuals is as well.

That, it seems, is their interpretation of scripture or preachings coming from the same deity who lists as one of his most important commandments to “love thy neighbor.”

Nothing says love like “correcting” neighbors who are wired differently than certain self-appointed defenders of the faith, or quieting those who support the marginalized — as these same defenders stand against the “sinners” and stand up for the twisted righteousness that runs counter to one of the Almighty’s two most significant commandments.

A number of these faith defenders supposedly consider themselves devout Christians, staunch believers who are insistent that others adhere to their personal view of Christ’s gospel.

But a wise person once said: “If God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn it, I doubt he sent you.”

Strong point.

The ‘Lasso’ way

(Business Wire) The main character in “Ted Lasso” warns against being too judgmental.

In an episode of the popular television show “Ted Lasso,” the title character, a warm, positive, caring coach, warns another less-caring person about the perils of being too judgmental. He quotes a message he once saw written on a wall, misattributed to Walt Whitman: “Be curious, not judgmental.” It’s a great scene, one worth viewing on the internet.

Not enough of those who choose to rise up against the LGBTQ community, who refuse to find it within themselves to extend an open palm instead of a clenched fist toward those who are different from them, are curious. They don’t seek to understand, they don’t ask questions; they condemn, as though they are appointed by some power in heaven to do so.

In so doing, they paradoxically violate one of God’s scripturally stated most important commandments.

I’m curious about that. Why? It makes no sense. It creates ill will within a community. It builds nothing positive. It only divides.

The other aforementioned cause, so often blended with the first, is hate. Not much of a Christian justification for protesting, for lashing out against fellow humans.

If hateful Christians won’t listen to Christ, maybe they’ll listen to the sage “Star Wars” character, the master Jedi Yoda, who said: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Why be fearful? Why be angry? Why be hateful?

What would Jesus do?

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) "The Sermon on the Mount," by Harry Anderson.

Can those who want an entire segment of the earth’s population, a segment that has every right to exist, that does so much good in the world, to suffer call themselves Christian?

It seems a collision of thought, a confused bit of hypocrisy.

Why? Why? Why?

Better it would be to seek and find understanding here in Utah, and in the world as a whole, to see people and accept them.

That’s preferable to shouting down or protesting the LGBTQ community and those — individuals, neighbors, stores, beer manufacturers, television shows, teams — who show support for that group, a group that far too often is marginalized by the self-proclaimed valiant in ways that would trouble Jesus himself.

How about a different approach? Be curious, not judgmental. Love, don’t hate. All Christians, people of every kind, should be able and willing to accept and embrace that notion.

What would Jesus do?

Here’s what he wouldn’t do: hate his neighbors, or steal or tear down pride flags, or threaten those who want to make space for individuals to whom they extend decency. If he followed his own commandment, he would seek love and understanding and leave the act of condemning to the truly damned.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gordon Monson.