I linked to an old post of mine on Facebook a few days ago (this one) and ended up getting into a fight so bad I deleted my own link. I had, until then, never done such a thing. I’ve also never found myself so incapable of expressing and communicating my own point of view.
What is it about the past few week’s issues that have made honest conversation so impossible? I’ve been contemplating this, and praying about it, and meditating on it, and generally beating my head against it, and I think I’ve finally realized what is going on here.
Everyone is backed into their own corner licking their wounds, and they don’t care two figs about what the other side is thinking or feeling. We’re on 24/7 attack and defend mode. The Christians don’t care why the gay community is upset. It feels safe, right, and supported to assume that any reason the gay community would be upset is an invalid one since it’s gays doing the complaining. And does the gay community care about the church’s defensiveness? Why should they? Why would the oppressed care why the oppressor oppresses? It has to be wrong, so why bother listening? Why have a conversation?
We’re nearing a full on war, where buglers on both sides are signalling out an attack and the language and rhetoric has grown so expansive even the innocent are caught in the crossfire, with the end goal being battering the other side into submission with no regard for righteousness. I find this far easier to forgive in my gay friends than I do in my fellow Christians.
But, for the sake of both sides, let me explain some things:
Christians, I don’t care what Tony Perkins said last week. The Family Research Council has a track record going back almost thirty years in which they have routinely blocked moves to overturn legislation that bans sodomy and homosexual acts. Tony Perkins can grandstand and say, “we don’t try to make new laws”, but actions speak louder than words. If two hundred years ago a man spent millions lobbying to keep wife beating legal, could he really turn around and say “I’m not trying to make new laws to beat my wife” and have anyone defend him as someone who doesn’t want to impugn women’s rights? The Family Research Council does think that homosexual “behaviors” should be illegal. Period. This is not something that can be argued, it is true, and their own website makes that very clear. They believe being gay is dangerous, and threatening to society, and they say so. Routinely. They fought against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. They lobbied to change a resolution that would challenge a Ugandan law that made the death penalty for homosexuality legal. They state that it was a matter of semantics and they don’t support killing gays, but guess what? They held up a resolution that condemned killing gays. What matters is how that looks to gay people, and it certainly doesn’t look good.
Now, my dear gay friends, I love you. But you need to understand some things. All of the hateful, painful, offensive things that Tony Perkins and the FRC say? They believe them. I know that this is not comfortable for you to hear, but you need to hear it. They do believe that being gay is dangerous. They believe that it weakens society. They sincerely believe that gay people are more likely to be diseased, mentally ill, and harm children. They believe that homosexuals have a dangerous agenda. It may seem completely incredible to you to accept that people may think those things. It may seem even more incredible to believe, for even a second, that someone could think those things and be a genuinely good person. Here is the thing: They don’t hate you. They are worried about you, and they are worried for your sake. They don’t want you to be gay because they think it’s bad for you, and they think that if they curb your rights you might give up and go straight, and they think that the loving thing to do is protect you from your fleshly desires. They are, to put it simply, trying to save your soul. They just aren’t going about it the way that Christ would.
I know, because I’ve been there. This is the mindset I grew up with. I know that when I believed those horrid things, I was becoming the person that I am now. I believe that other people could make the same journey.
So for the love of God and all that is holy, try to understand the other side. Try to listen to what they are saying and argue rationally. Stop pointing fingers and throwing stones and trying to gag each other, it helps no one. Hatred begets violence. Oppression begets violence. Hard hearts unwilling to listen to the other side breed violence faster than bunnies on speed. It needs to stop, and the only solution is to love the other side to little itty bitty bits and try to rebuild this whole mess in a better image.
I think we can do it. I think we have to.