Teachings of Jesus can be undermined by church

I recently viewed the PBS “Independent Lens” documentary on the trials and tribulations suffered by Eugene Robinson as the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop.

His courage and resilience in the face of ostracism from his church leadership and bearing the brunt of harsh criticism and death threats from others is truly admirable. He is a beacon of hope for the entire LBGT community.

Being the son of a hardworking but poorly paid immigrant father and a high school dropout mother, I naturally grew up respecting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to help the poor. But I had no exposure to people of a nontraditional sexual orientation. So I did not challenge the accepted view that homosexuality was deviant behavior not accepted by church and state.

But my church upbringing also taught me that God is love and everyone is a child of God. I did not confront the conflict between those opposing views until a good friend living with my family more than 40 years ago asked a few questions which caused me to explore this conflict and led me down the road to tolerance.

The church as an institution provides comfort and moral leadership for its believers, but the church can also suffer from the self-serving interests of those at the top, which can undermine the teachings of love by which we all should live.

For Christians, the life of Jesus Christ showed the way to live. His arms were open to everyone.

Keith Echeverri