In the long quest toward reconciliation between LGBT Christians and the Church at large, we must be clear about reality. This is no easy task. Quite frankly, there are plenty of people who are convinced that it’s not even remotely possible. If I weren’t a man of faith, I might even agree with that assessment. This crazy idea might just be impossible.
However difficult or even impossible the task might be, I’m reminded of several things. First, I am a man of faith. My faith isn’t in myself, or even my abilities. It certainly isn’t in my fellow man or in the Church. The object and focus of my faith is in Jesus Christ Himself — who was very clear about what we considered to be impossible. After all, He said all things are possible.
Who then can be saved? Anyone. Who then can be healed? Anyone. Who then can be restored? Anyone. Who then can be brought together? Any one.
No exceptions. No disclaimers. No asterisks.
Paul, despite his quirks and inconsistencies, wrote with great passion and wisdom when he admonished the Roman church to treat each other well.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)
These days, it’s quite obvious that there are a great many kinds of evil that are present within the Church. Yes, I use the word “evil.” The kinds of horrors that are preached and acted out in the name of Christianity can be nothing but evil. Sadly, it’s at its most wretched when twisted by politics.
North Carolina is in the final days of a campaign of whether or not to add discrimination into its state constitution by “defining” marriage as only between a man and a woman. The amendment would also prevent civil unions or heterosexual domestic partnerships. But that’s not the problem (well, it’s one of the problems).
What’s truly horrific is the way the Church has responded to this campaign. The bile, the lies, and the outright bitterness that has been poured out in the name of “protecting marriage” has been some of the worst we’ve ever heard since the concept of marriage equality was first introduced decades ago.
It’s not even all that rare. There’s Patrick “Gay Men Have to Wear a Diaper” Wooden. Then there’s this kid who thinks it’s all shits and giggles when he shoots a pro-marriage equality sign with his rifle and posts on YouTube. Well, it was funny until “dozens of deputies” showed up.
Pastor Sean Harris’ little sermon rant has been making the rounds lately, where he encourages dads to “punch” their boys if they “drop their wrist.”
So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.
And when your daughter starts acting to Butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.”
Go ahead. Tell me this isn’t evil. Oh Wait. It was a joke. Or something. We’ll see if the kids who get “punched” think it’s a joke.
Tell me it’s not pure evil when you have Bryan Fischer, a “Christian” radio show host and spokesman (spokesbigot?) for the American Family Association declare that it’s “perfectly appropriate” to discriminate against LGBT people.
Citing King’s line that he dreamed that one day his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” Fischer argued that discrimination based on behavior is justified and absolutely appropriate … and, as such, “you begin to see the implications when it comes to homosexuality because you’re dealing there with issues of content of character and you are dealing with issues of behavior and conduct and it’s perfectly appropriate to discriminate against immoral conduct.
And since when is it evil to point out that the Bible has some serious, glaring problems? When Dan Savage did exactly that, calling the Biblical defense of slavery “bullshit” (which it is), the “Christian” right got up in arms. He made the very sensible argument that if the Bible got something wrong about slavery, which is so morally clear — human beings do not own other human beings — then it’s a fair chance that the Bible is 100% wrong about something as complex as human sexuality. Savage later wrote an apology for calling those who walked out “pansy assed,” but not for the “bullshit” remarks. After all, he said, he wasn’t attacking Christianity or the Bible. He was attacking hypocrisy.
Oh, wait. He said “bullshit.” I see. Maybe if he said “bullpoopie” it would have been okay?
How is it anything but evil to complain that our government is calling on other countries to stop imprisoning, torturing, or executing people for being gay? Oh. Wait. That’s “pushing” other countries to “promote homosexuality,” as hate group leader Peter Labarbera says.
Nowadays, I think the big threat we see now – it’s just incredible, Mike – the Obama administration has turned the United States into a huge gay-rights government. We are using our resources to force every government across the world, pushing them to promote homosexuality. And there’s lots of government and states, whether they’re Muslim or like ardently Christian nations like Uganda that don’t want, they don’t share the caviler attitude of the West toward homosexuality, they certainly don’t want to promote it. And all of a sudden Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have turned the United States into a pro-homosexual regime and it’s just despicable.
A pro-homosexual regime. Yeah. And Uganda, a country that wants to pass a law to criminalize and execute people for “homosexuality” is “Christian.”
And for some reason, these people think that their “religious rights” are infringed when they get called out on their vile wickedness. I’m not even going to call these people “Religious Right” or the “Christian Right.” From now on, you’re going to be called what you are: The Bigoted WRONG.
No, dear Bigoted Wrong, your religious rights are not “infringed” when you are told you can’t discriminate against people. Your religious rights aren’t “infringed” when the law says you must sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Just like your religious rights aren’t infringed when the law says you must sell a wedding cake to an interracial couple. It really isn’t rocket science. Finally, the religious rights of other countries aren’t “infringed” when we tell them we’ll withhold aid if they don’t stop killing their gay citizens.
For the rest of us, I should point out a few observations. Since support for marriage equality is at an all-time high, reaching a clear majority for the first time ever last year, the voices of the opposition are dwindling. This is true even amongst conservatives, long considered the most vocal in their opposition against LGBT rights. The law is on the side of equality as well, because it’s getting more and more difficult to prove that LGBT people don’t deserve basic human rights.
- An overwhelming majority of people believe that LGBT people should be able to serve in the military. When the repeal act was passed, it enjoyed the support of two-thirds of those polled by Gallup.
- 64% of those polled said that there should be some form of legal recognition for LGBT couples.
- 53% of Americans believe that marriage equality should be the standard in our country.
It’s certainly not a stretch of the imagination to figure out that when the general public no longer opposes a certain thing, the “voices of the masses” begins to dwindle. When that happens, all that’s left is the fringes — the extremes.
This is clearly the case today, with LGBT equality — and even marriage equality — becoming a matter of basic common sense, and of fairness. At a time when pro-gay supporters in Maine placed a marriage law on the ballot because of widespread support for equality in that state, it’s clear that the tide has turned.
The voices of the moderate opposition have silenced because of fairness and the fact that they get it now. As more people educate themselves on the importance of LGBT equality, the only voices that remain — are those of the rabid right. And they are really frothing at the mouth. They know they’re losing, so they have to scream louder. And nastier.
Even as the rhetoric of this rabidly anti-gay reich wing gets more and more volatile and even violent, we can take some comfort in the fact that this is little more than the behavior of a toddler who’s smack-dab in the middle of a tantrum because he’s not getting his way. America, like moms in supermarkets across the country, is realizing that the only way to deal with a tantrum is to let the little brat scream its head off and ignore it.
Our task in the effort to promote reconciliation between LGBT Christians and the Church has never been more clear. The good news is that it’s getting a lot easier to find people who have a common goal — and common ground.
Just ignore the tantrums. They’ll grow up eventually.
After all, didn’t Jesus say that all things are possible with God?