Okay, this is awkward. I’ve found myself in a rather peculiar situation of being very critical of anti-gay evangelical bullies, yet embracing the same faith of those bullies. You know the type — they have a wide range of ways to be either condescending or outright hostile toward those of us who happen to be gay. And it’s all because “The Bible Says So” or something.
My awkwardness revolves around a simple, impossible-to-get-around fact. I am Christian. I worship the same Jesus Christ that they (claim to) worship. We share the same creed: Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, because of the fact that I am openly gay, I’m a pariah in the Christian community, a complete outcast. Not that I’m complaining, really. I don’t mind being unwelcome to a bunch of people who judge me based on nothing other than the fact that I happen to be in a committed, monogamous, stable, loving, long-term relationship with another man.
I can write volumes of why the claims and shrills of “The Bible Says So” is just flat wrong. Wait. I already have. But that’s not my point. The very fact that so many bullies and bigots “hide” behind their doctrines and dogmas is already well known. We don’t have to explain that any more. No one has to point at Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer, Joseph Farah, or Scott Lively and their ilk and say, “They’re using their religion as an excuse for their bigotry.” The reason for this is that we already know.
It’s a little like that scene in Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum’s character deadpans, “That is one big pile of shit,” as he (and the audience) looks at the largest pile of dookie ever depicted on screen. Some things are obvious. Sure, we laugh, but it’s the kind of laugh because we expect Jeff Goldblum to say something witty.
The sad thing is that we also expect the Robertsons, Fischers, Farahs, and Livelys to say stupid, bigoted, bullied things. What’s encouraging is that no one laughs at them. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that Christian brethren are starting to step up and speak out against their bigotry.
Although he’s not a Christian, gay activist Dan Savage made a very profound point once, a point worth sharing. Savage has long been a thorn in the side of the Christian bully world. Ever since he Google bombed Rick Santorum for his “gay marriage is the same as man-on-dog sex” stupidity, Savage has held a special place of contempt in the stone hearts and flaccid minds of right wing bigots. Savage said something during a talk recently that stuck with me.
“People come up to me all the time and say, ‘not all of us Christians are like that,'” Savage said. “That’s great. But don’t tell me. Tell Tony Perkins. Tell Pat Robertson. Tell THEM.” In short, the silence of the fair minded speaks far louder in complicit agreement than in their sheepish attempts to convince Savage (or anyone else) that they’re not like the rest of the bigots out there.
It’s Christians like John Shore who have really begun to get the message of equality and fairness into the public in a way that I never could. Shore is straight, married, and a profoundly gifted writer. Even Dan Savage agrees. “John Shore is America’s leading non-douchey Christian,” Savage said.
Shore is very outspoken about his conviction that God’s love for people has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, and equally outspoken that God’s love for gays is unwavering, and does not require them to become straight. He wrote publicly to a letter he received once:
“Christ is more than fine with you coming to him exactly as you are: no other modality of presentation really interests him. And your letter shows that’s exactly what you’re being about: you’re just being there. That’s all you have to do. Just show up for Christ. Just signal to him that you’re there. He’ll know how to take it from there.”
Unfortunately, Shore is but one of the very few emerging class of Christians that is beginning to take on leadership roles. The concept that “gays can be Christian” is still very much as controversial as “gays can be decent human beings” in some circles. In an age where bigotry is still very popular and widely accepted, there comes a point where we must consider the sad fact that some folks will never get it.
But Dan Savage is right… if you’re not a bigot, stop whispering it to my ear and shout it from the rooftops. It’s time. Really. So get a backbone and a loudspeaker and let the world know. We need your voice.