Love fail

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I want to begin this post with an apology. I know that, along the way, I must have said or done things that were hurtful to people in my life who are gay or have gay loved ones. If you happen to read this, I want you to know how deeply sorry I am. I may have been ignorant and never intended any harm, but I know that doesn’t erase that pain I caused. And if I continue to say or do things that offend, please tell me. The last thing I want to do is cause even more pain than I’ve already caused.

Did you know that being gay is a choice? At least, that’s what I was taught for years. Within the evangelical community, gay people were deviants choosing to live in sin. Or they had some kind of trauma as a child, like sexual abuse or an absent parent of the same sex. As a coping mechanism, they chose to be within a same-sex relationship. Did you also know that lesbian relationships are extremely abusive? We received all of this information from groups like Exodus Ministries, the Family Research Council, and Dr. James Dobson, so we knew it was credible.

Clearly, I don’t believe any of this garbage anymore. But for a long time, I truly believed that gay people were simply mentally ill and just needed help, just like those with depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. I don’t know that I ever felt what I would call hatred, but I was definitely homophobic. They were different. The thought of gay sex grossed me out. I didn’t understand what I believed to be the gay lifestyle which, to me, was exemplified in gay pride parades where mostly naked men with washboard abs gyrated in Speedos atop parade floats or stout women with short, spiky haircuts wearing plaid shirts and clunky shoes.

So what changed? How did I go from a brainwashed homophobe to someone who believes that gay marriage should be legal and simply called marriage. Or someone who is still filled with rage and sorrow over what happened this past week with World Vision?
I changed. It took time, and I’m sure there are still plenty of rough edges that need to be rounded out. My heart and mind opened up as I met people along the way who cast out my fear and prejudices. People like a guy in high school who didn’t know me, but took the time to help me with my choir audition. People like my friend, A, who came out to me and it changed nothing. She was still my friend, who called me on my shit when I did something homophobic. People like former co-workers, who were told they were going to burn in hell by their “friends” because of who they were attracted to. People like Justin Lee, whose story and work revealed to me just how deeply entrenched the lies about the LGBT community are. People I have known, dated, worked with, or just met in passing who have the same hopes, dreams, lives, and love that I, and everyone else, have. These people and these stories showed me just how wrong I had been and just how insidious the lies I had been fed were.

But you know what? Even if the lies I was told growing up were 100% true, it still wouldn’t give evangelicals or anyone else the right to treat the LGBT community the way they have been treated. It doesn’t give The Family Research Council cause to equate a gay person with a terrorist or a pedophile. It doesn’t give churches the authority to say who is and isn’t allowed to worship God. It doesn’t make it okay to treat people as second class citizens. It doesn’t give a country, nor its citizens, the right to rape, imprison, or execute its gay citizens, (nor to help craft such laws and attitudes.) It doesn’t give you leave to feel superior as you say idiotic things like, I love the sinner, but hate the sin or Gay lifestyle. (And a side note: everyone knows that “gay lifestyle” is simply evangelical for sex. If someone can clearly define for me what a “straight lifestyle” is, without the use of any terms that relate to sex, gender, and genatalia, then you’re clearly full of shit. And I have no fucking clue why evangelicals are so fucking obsessed with, well….fucking.)

The LGBT community has been a casualty of the culture wars for so long. I’m proud to say that I have defected, and will do what I can to stand up for the rights and lives of my fellow human beings. I beg the evangelical community to dispense with the lies and let go of your bigotry. I know thems fightin’ words, but it’s the truth. I refuse to dance around it and try to make what is happening more palatable. And I can say for certain that that is what is happening because I’ve been there. And no matter how you try to phrase it or hide behind what you interpret the Bible to say, you do not come across as loving. Because it isn’t loving. Love doesn’t hold selfishness and fear. (And when it comes down to it, this is about you and your comfort and understanding.) Love casts those things out. It lays down ones own rights for those of another. And while you and I may continue to fail, love never will.

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When evangelicals take hostages

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Now if you are unwilling to serve The Lord, choose this day whom you will serve….
….but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

This is Spandana. We consider her to be the newest member of our family. Mike and I made the choice to sponsor her yesterday as World Vision sponsorships were dropped by the thousands because World Vision had announced that they would no longer discriminate against married gay couples for employment. Many joined the call to stand by these children and care for them as evangelicals took them as hostages in a culture war. So vitriolic is the hatred for the LGBTQ community, they would rather let children, families, and communities starve and die before treating a gay person or couple as human beings.

Just a few hours ago, my heart sank once again as World Vision made another announcement. They have reversed their position on discriminating against gay individuals. In what I am sure is an attempt to slow or stop the bleeding, World Vision caved to hostage-takers. As much as it pains me to say it, I get it. They don’t want any more children to suffer because of bigotry in the name of God.

But… GODDAMMIT, EVANGELICALS! WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK. What is wrong with you people? What is it about the LGBTQ community that scares you so much and stirs up so much vile hatred? I can only assume it’s ignorance, as ignorance breeds fear and hatred. Stop hiding behind what you think scripture says. (And seriously, it’s the Gospel of Jesus, not the gospel of Paul.) Start loving people. People! Not an “issue”. Not a “political platform”. People. People who are created in God’s image. People who have just as much right as you do to love and serve God. People who shouldn’t be prevented from caring for the poor and showing God’s love to others simply because who they are attracted to and love makes you go “eww”.
And if our God is really a God who would call what you have done righteous and holy, then I want nothing to do with that God. But I don’t think that is so. Jesus said that if we have seen Him, then we have seen the Father. In Jesus, this active hatred did (does) not live. So, as you call yourselves followers of Christ, why do you let it live in you?

I have to admit, like so many others, I felt betrayed when I heard news of World Vision’s reversal. The thing that gives me hope, though, are the number of people who have pledged to stand by their child(ren). As disheartened as Mike and I are by everything that has happened in the past two days, we would never dream of letting go of Spandana. She is not a pawn to be sacrificed. She is now a part of our family. We can’t wait to interact with her and watch her grow.

All of this brought to Mike’s mind the words for the service of Holy Baptism within the Lutheran church. I too, feel they are appropriate.

In Holy Baptism our gracious heavenly Father liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity; in the waters of Baptism we are reborn children of God and inheritors of eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church which is the body of Christ. As we live with him and with his people, we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.

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