Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Matter of Faith



What is it about gay people homosexuals (because that seems to be the word of choice when we’re referenced by Christians and I think it’s because there is a desire to focus on the ‘sexual’ part of the word – and I don’t mean that snarkily) that causes Christians to spend so much of their time worrying about us? I ask this with great sincerity because I don’t understand the interest and I can’t help but see it every time I open any of my social media apps (mainly Facebook. Twitter has more of us heathens).

I mean, what is it, really, that causes entire organizations (I’m looking at you Catholic Church and Focus on the Family and politicos like the Liz Cheney Campaign) and even entire countries (Uganda) to spend so much energy and time and money on us? Why, out of all the issues in the world to be concerned about, is the focus so strongly on the issue of – duhn duhn duuuuuuuhn - the homosexual?*

When did it happen that we are the reason for everything bad in the world? To go by my Facebook timeline: We are why people don’t have free speech rights. We are completely ruining the entire institution of marriage (but not me because I live in Texas). We are rubbing people’s faces in our homosexuality ALL THE TIME because we dare to respond when people compare us to pedophiles and terrorists and zoophiles. We (not alcohol, not drugs, not your basic selfishness and greed) are more destructive than a nuclear bomb to the welfare of the family. And, maybe most despicably, we are responsible for the downfall of the entire beef industry because we cause people everywhere to EAT-MOR-CHIKIN.

I’m writing this because I saw some things on my timeline today that made me hang my head and weep. Literally.

The first was this: How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go.

And then there was this: To My Friends Who Identify Themselves as Homosexuals.

I grew up in a small town in West Texas and am Facebook friends (and family) with many people who are proud fans of Rush Limbaugh, so I am generally unfazed by the occasional such post. But this week it’s been out of control and it’s all because of this guy:

I’ve read he’s also a preacher (I don’t watch the show so I really don’t know), but there is video of him in which he is speaking to an audience, holding a Bible (and a horse bridle?), and saying more remarkable things. Interesting tidbit, he went to school with one of my uncles, who’s a fan, as are many of my friends and other family members, at least according to my Facebook timeline.

As a homosexual, the linked items above were difficult for me to read and watch. And it was annoying to continue seeing Phil Robertson’s face and the “I SUPPORT HIM” posts in my timeline. But what made me emotional, what made me actually hang my head and weep were two other items.

This: Dear Christians Defending Phil Robertson.

And, this one in particular: Why I Can’t Say Love the Sinner/Hate the Sin Anymore. As I was reading it to Melissa I unexpectedly choked up and couldn’t continue. And then she started crying, too.

I’ve written before that I am a person of faith and about my lifelong struggle with same. Raised Catholic, I stopped going to Mass for years. Experiences in my life lead me back, however. And while I continually struggle and rage and laugh and cry and argue and question, I seek and pray and, ultimately, I believe and it just is a part of who I am.

In some ways, I feel as though I can relate to what I think many Christians seem to be feeling of late because I am gay. Based on my social media timelines, Christians feel they are being persecuted for being “followers of Christ” and for being vocal about that belief. Maybe we can all relate to their apparent fear/anger because don’t we all (I mean, for the most part… we don’t all have Donald Trump’s ego) worry what others think of us at some point in our lives? It’s embarrassing to be laughed at, to be thought of as illogical, crazy, stupid, or sick.

Maybe there are similarities between the coming out experience and a person's profession of faith. Having 'come out', I know what it feels like to be fearful of being shunned and persecuted for conveying something about myself. And, I did experience some aspect of those things. I wasn’t lynched or martyred or marked with a scarlet letter, but I was compared to some pretty vile things, told I was crazy, made to feel as though I was not a good person, and otherwise estranged for a time from people I love and care for. (And every time someone speaks about gays as Robertson did in his GQ interview I am made to feel many of those things again).

I think Christians are starting to feel these things that, traditionally, they have imposed on others without a lot of thought. Understandably, they don’t like it. And they are speaking up about it. Hopefully we can have some patience with them. It’s like when I came out to my parents. Given time, their hearts and minds were changed.

I think that will happen here. I think it must be very hard for a group that’s been the majority for so long to experience what so many minorities live with every day. That doesn’t mean we excuse it; but, maybe we can use our own experiences to be patient and recognize that with time, most people do come around.

But it’s not going to happen without some personal struggle. And, sadly, we’re probably going to see a lot more Phil Robertson and Sarah Palin in camo and Governor Perry in Carhartt type moments before it’s all said and done. The first two links above are indicative of that.

And, for many Christians, it’s the questions and statements raised in those first two links that are going to dictate just how this whole ‘homosexual debate’ is going to play out in history books.

But I can’t help but wonder…is ‘the homosexual debate’ and how we line up on either side really going to be the defining factor of what it means to be a Christian in 2014 (and beyond)? Really?

To me, Ruthie Dean’s post is very much like the argument I have with my parents and with myself on a pretty regular basis…if Christians are the light of the world, why are things so dark? If people are "supposed to want what we have because of our love" and Christians believe “people outside the church will know Jesus because of our love for one another,” then where is this love and why - especially in the face of so-called preachers like Robertson - is anyone surprised that more people are not clamoring to "want what we have" or to know this Jesus?

These are the things I think of as a person trying to make it in this world. A person who happens to be gay, but who is also many other things, including: a mother, a daughter, a partner, and a person of faith. And it's why, in moments of reflection (yes, usually after I've unloaded on social media or an argument with Melissa or an unsuccessful teachable moment with my daughter), I have to ask myself - what does my life say about who I am and what I believe? And does it really match up with what I’m saying? And if it doesn’t, why doesn't it?

And maybe that's it...instead of such an exaggerated concern about the supposed sin of my neighbor, I'm better served - as are those immediately around me - focusing on the very real problems I bring to the table and what I can do about them.*** 

If nothing else, it's a good place to start. Maybe it's the only place to start.

***

* Um. Where are all the gym teaching lesbians? 

** Can anybody tell me why we aren’t more up in arms over this guy’s comments about "the blacks" in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana? Are you kidding me? COME ON!!! I. Can’t. Even.

*** I think there's even a verse about that somewhere...




2 comments:

  1. Peace, tolerance and love are the only real answers to this and many other problems. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You said it, right here, so well: "I think Christians are starting to feel these things that, traditionally, they have imposed on others without a lot of thought. Understandably, they don’t like it."

    Yup. Idiots gonna idiot. This requires patience but sometimes I lack patience. That is why this post is what should be going viral on Facebook instead of more idiots idioting.

    ReplyDelete

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