The obvious blood on the hands of American religious leaders is that of LGBT youngsters driven to despair by exclusion from salvation, from the consolation of the earthly flock, and from a place at the table of God in the afterlife. This ongoing tragedy may eventually be stopped by new laws that will repair the damage done by the feverishly botched parenting and teaching fueled by almost all the denominations of American religion.
There is another murder in process. An unnoticed one. Like the slow poisoning of a Newport heiress. Like the degradation of a venerable clothing brand in the hands of careless managers. Like the ruin of a food franchise or a chain of coffee shops when lust for profits overcomes quality. Like a Detroit automobile manufacturer stumbling over an assembly line of misfits. The day comes when you stop going there because you're no longer getting what you once enjoyed. The inferior shirt cannot speak. The tasteless hamburger cannot speak. The weak coffee cannot speak. The stalled Ford cannot speak, and God, made comatose by the rabid marketing and blue light specialing of his attendants and custodians cannot speak in his own defense. God cannot fire these Pharisees as they colorize his immobile face with their make-up. God cannot protest because they have preserved him in Lucite.
We are left to wonder how and why American religion twisted the visage of God into the distorted Caliban of hatred, suspicion and fear. If ever there was a time for thunder and lightning to strike down the righteous, surely it is now, but the sun shines daily upon these murderers, and so we doubt their guilt, and rather than incarcerate them, we treat them politely and occasionally share their hymns. Meanwhile, God dies.
God dies because American religious leaders crossed all the wires. They turned churches into clubs for those who find comfort in similarity. They turned churches into escape hatches from the necessary personal work of thinking about life and love. They turned churches into failsafe cookbooks that guarantee the delivery of decent but unsavory family meals. They turned churches into facile explanations for mysteries that can never be known. Mysteries like "Why am I gay?" or "Why did she get cancer?" or "Why am I unemployed?" or "Why doesn't he love me?" or "Why can't I stay on a diet?" or "Why did that baby die?" or "Why should I go on living if it only means more suffering?" These religious leaders explain to us that it is the will of God, and assure us that they would know, because they speak for him.
American religion has eviscerated God, scooping the compassionate heart out of him and that is essence of the murder that they daily commit.
I do not want God to die. Unfortunately, like Annette de la Renta arriving too late at the bedside of the mistreated Brooke Astor, I fear there is little I can do to stop the murderers. The youngest among us now see little difference between God and Santa Claus. Gaytheism is the product of American religion. The next generations will wrestle with the eternal questions as have we, but without the persona of God who will become frozen in bygone times. Our present God will be a museum specimen for future LGBT generations who with their friends and families will have cast off the oppression of American religion made quaint rather than menacing by the safe distance of decades.
I doubt they will invent new religions. Instead, they will use their own new tools to fearlessly face the mysterious and often painful business of living. Meanwhile, although you can't hear his comatose murmur, and although you get no response when you squeeze his hand on the hospital sheets, God is well aware of the ugly battle waged in his name and if he could regain consciousness, his final valiant gesture on behalf of the people he has always loved would be to ask us to pull the plug.
This is, afterall, not the life he had in mind. Can we who keep vigil talk him out of it?