I should be working on homework, but I’m giving myself an hour to do this first. I just have one question I’d like to ask my Christian friends:
What are you fighting for?
In the past week, I’ve seen a number of posts on various social media and traditional media outlets that I’ve found deeply disturbing. There are times in life where there is a great amount of convergence, and the past week has been one of them. People have been posting about gay rights. NPR did a story on trans and gender-queer representations on TV that raised some flags for some people- I had a few queer friends who were like, “oh, hey, an honest conversation about the media!” and of course, inevitably, this raised a backlash of other people commenting about the inevitable decline of a moral society.
‘Cause you know, folks, we can take it for granted that the character of Roscoe on House of Lies is representative of the downfall of society, but the cutthroat capitalist landscape the show is based in is totally cool.
Then I was showed this article from the Christian Science Monitor, about the inevitable decline of the evangelical church. While I find it deeply resonating and many aspects of the opinion there are undeniably true, I still felt a great sadness. So many people believe so deeply in something which, for better or worse, society is tired of. And it is hard, when I see well-meaning people berating queers for being happy that their lives are represented in the media. I just want to say, “do you know society is tired? Society is tired of this fight, lay down your sword and love somebody.”
WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?
I know what people say, “The Bible says.” Sure, okay, the Bible says. The Bible says a lot of things, folks, and what you choose to focus on really shows your opinion of God. The Bible says not to be bound by the law. The Bible says freedom in Christ. The Bible says that we are not judged by works alone. The Bible says to balance grace and mercy with adherence to the law.
And where is the grace, the mercy, the love, in constantly choosing reiterating judgment over an honest conversation with your friends?
Oh, and Dan Haseltine (lead singer for Jars of Clay) tried to start a conversation with his fans about gay marriage, and was of course roundly condemned for it. He really just asked, “what are the real arguments about?” and was lashed out at for even asking that question.
But, hey, I’d like to know the answer: What are we really fighting for?
There’s something deeply disturbing about a world in which Christians will leap on any opportunity to berate and bludgeon their friends for having the temerity to be gay or want their gay friends to be married, while in the meantime we live in a society that is wholly based off of principles that contradict even greater messages in society. If you want to think about a secular society that could lead to the downfall of mankind, think about what the American economy would look like if we had another housing collapse, another international banking disaster, another Fortune 500 bankruptcy. Then come back, and tell me that gay people are the real problem.
I will ask again: What are we really fighting for?
I don’t believe it’s about gay people. I believe it’s about living in a world where we lack control. Living in a society where the messages that blare at us from the billboards and radio and flyers up in stores, the TV channels and magazines and jacket covers of books, the clothing in the store windows, the cars on the street, and the flyers nailed to telephone poles all tear at our insides. Living in a world where we feel assaulted and unsafe, where we are left with more questions than answers and reduced to tears when we consider the implications of truly following our conscience.
Cause when I read the Bible, I feel a weight of conviction that shakes me from the tips of my hair to the soft spot under my toenails. And I don’t feel convicted about my gay friends or my own sexuality. I feel convicted about the way I spend money, the career I have chosen, the way I raise my kids, the coldness I feel about international politics, where my shoes come from.
I feel convicted about myself, and I want to ask myself why I don’t try harder but that hurts. I feel like there isn’t that much that I can honestly control, as if no matter how hard I tried I would never actually come close to approaching the ideal I feel God has imagined for me.
So I get why it would be tempting to take all of that anger and regret and make gay people the proverbial scapegoat, sent out into the desert to die.
But it’s wrong to do that. So wrong.
So what are we fighting for?