Tuesday, August 30, 2005

12. Venting, Part II

I picked up the book What’s Wrong with Same-Sex Marriage tonight, and now I’m angry.  I actually don’t know if I’m even going to bother finishing it.  It is so much worse than that chapter in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ that I wrote about before.  The first 2 chapters are about this “Gay Agenda” bullshit that I keep hearing about…the “Homosexual Menace” that is threatening the very fabric of society.  Ugh.  I’ve already sworn once, I’m going to try not to do it again.

I grew up inside this mentality… my mom has been a massive force behind getting gay-friendly curriculums out of schools and campaigning against gay marriage.  She has organized letter-writing campaigns, marches, and anything else she can think of for years.  And before you ask – yes, she knows I’m gay… she prefaces any conversation we have about this with the phrase “I know you have had your struggles, but…”  The reason I mention this is because I want it to be clear that I understand the fear behind all this crap that the “Religious Right” is pumping out… there was a time when I even believed it… probably more vehemently than most people.  I think it was probably an attempt to push what I knew about myself further and further down where no one, including myself, could see it.

I just wish that these people would stop their ranting and raving just for a moment and just try to see things from another perspective… try to understand a few things.

1.  Most gay people, Christian or non, have tried to be straight at one point or another in their lives.  The desire to be accepted by society comes after a long struggle to accept themselves.  The insistence that gay people can change “through the power of Christ” has led many gay Christians to abandon the church, or even to commit suicide, because Christ, for some reason, wouldn’t change them.  I obviously cannot speak for every gay person, but I know that most people that come out of groups like Exodus are not “successful” in changing their orientation… and to be perfectly honest, even some of those who claim to have succeeded I question, simply based on some of the things I’ve heard them say.  The first “ex-gay” man I ever met could not stop pointing out hot guys he saw as we walked down the street, saying things like “Oh man, if I was still gay I’d be all over that guy.”  Once I would have let slip by, but it happened over and over again.  I will point out again that I do believe in an omnipotent God, and so if He chooses, I believe He can make a gay person straight… but for some reason, He doesn’t seem to do this very often.

2.  The supporters of same-sex marriage are not trying to destroy marriage.  They do not believe that homosexuality is immoral, so in their minds trying to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples is no different than when marriage had to be redefined to allow people of different races to marry, or to disallow people of certain ages to marry.   “Redefinitions” of marriage do not, by default, undermine the institution of marriage.  I realize that some have a moral objection to homosexuality… but they need to realize that not everyone has this objection, so their perspective will be different.  This might at least open the way for some civil dialogue… something that has been severely lacking during this debate.

3.  Quoting extremists from the gay-rights movement is no different than when the “liberal media” focuses on extreme and ridiculous comments from Christian media figures – like Pat Robertson calling for the murder of another human being.  Christians everywhere are annoyed by things like this, and yet they do the same thing – like when some obscure, radical, gay theorist says something ridiculous, like that marriage is archaic and outdated, they rush to put it in print.  And I will add this – more insane and ignorant things come out of the mouths of prominent Christians than from gay figures.  For example, Sponge Bob Square Pants?  Not gay!  He is a cartoon sponge that lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea!  James Dobson is well respected in the Christian community, but when he goes around saying that cartoon sponges are a part of a ‘homosexual conspiracy’, I am embarrassed to carry the same label as him.

4.  Sentences like “Nobody is entitled to respect for behavior of which we don’t approve” are blatantly ridiculous.  I do not approve of the fact that certain Muslim women are forced (or choose) to wear those long black robes, with black veils over their faces, no matter what the temperature (and it can get pretty hot in Ottawa); but they, and their husbands and their clergy are entitled to my respect.  I don’t approve of this behavior at all, and yet I respect their right to engage in it, and, incidentally, I respect them for holding to their convictions, especially in the face of the discrimination that many Muslims today are victims of.

5.  The push to have gay people represented in school curriculums is not some covert attempt to “recruit” children into a “deviant lifestyle”.  It is merely an attempt to achieve representation.  I think a lot of white people might not understand this, but growing up as a black girl in western Canada, I never once saw myself in any of the things we read at school.  As an adult who works with children a lot, I can’t help but smile whenever I’m reading a book to some children that has people of different races represented… I just wish they’d been around when I was a kid.   I realize that no six year old child is going to hear a story in which a gay person is represented and think “Hey, that’s me!”, but then I doubt that there are any minorities in many of the schools in rural Manitoba… but I still think there should be minorities in their books so that when they encounter one they don’t react with shock and hate.  I realize that sounds extreme, but I was often the only black person – or one of only two or three – at school, or at church… and I got all kinds of reactions, ranging from mild curiosity to unreasoned hate.

6.  Inciting panic with statements like “…their agenda is to adopt all of the unwanted children of America to bring them up with their lifestyle with their way of thinking” do nothing but fuel the hate that is behind much of the violence that gay people are often the victims of.  Most Christians would not condone gay-bashings (at least I hope not) and yet they happily make statements like this that have no foundation in fact and do nothing but make people feel threatened and justified in lashing out at the first gay person they see.

7.  This last one is not that big a deal, I suppose, but it annoyed me.  In What’s Wrong with Same-Sex Marriage they quoted some gay activists as having said that they should “…portray gays as victims of circumstances and oppression, not as aggressive challengers.  In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will not be inclined to refuse to adopt the role of protector…we must forego the temptation to strut our gay pride publicly to such an extent that we will undermine our victim image.”  

This does sound pretty calculated and, well… devious, But I have been to Christian seminars, and seen books on “Friendship evangelism” that sound just as bad, if not worse… seminars on “how to become friends with non-Christians in order to convert them”… how manipulative is that?  They teach how to become a trusted confidant, and how to introduce Christ into any conversation.  I am a big believer in being authentic… all of my non-Christian friends know that I’m a Christian, and how important my faith is to me… and if they ask, I am more than willing to talk about it.  But I am not merely friends with them “in order to convert them”; I don’t have an ulterior motive.  I like them.  I’d like them to come to Christ, but I’ll be friends with them regardless.  This is just one example, and I’m sure if I thought for a little while I could think of other things that I have heard in the church that would sound awful to anyone outside of the church.  This is just a classic case of speck versus log.

Okay, I’m done my rant now… it’s out of my system.  I think I can sleep.                              

1 Comment:

Amanda A. said...

Amen girl! I am bisexual and was brought up in the Southern Baptist church, additionally, I was Home schooled! My mom helped with getting "Heather Has Two Mommies" out of the library and thinks that all gay people are child molesters.

I believe wholeheartedly in Jesus. I think that she preaches love and afterall there are so many scientific facts pointing to sexuality as a biological factor.

Keep your chin up and take care!