I’m sorry Julie. I know we agreed to stay away from political stuff on this blog, but I just can’t let this go any longer.
I am a man, but I am not defined by my gender.
I am a Christian, but I am not defined by my faith.
I am homosexual, but I am not defined by my orientation.
I can quote almost every line Marvin the Robot uttered in any incarnation of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but that doesn’t define me either.
I take pride in the fact that my friends are from a wide array of backgrounds and beliefs. If my friends list was limited to openly gay Christian men who love cheesy British SciFi (Hmmm… wait… let me think about that a minute…) ANYWAY it would a much shorter list. I have friends who are Atheists, spiritual, religious, non-religious, straight, gay, undecided and uncaring.
In my day to day life, most of my person-to-person contact takes place within the Christian community. Not just any community, but an Open and Affirming church with several, not many, but several, homosexual or bisexual members. We disagree on second amendment rights, premarital sex, and just how closely we should follow the Lectionary, but really, we’re on the same page for most of what life throws at us. And when we’re not, we’re nice to each other. We respect each other. We don’t call each other names.
The world wide web, however, is a completely different story. Not only do I have thousands of contacts, but they’re far more diverse. Sometimes, I jump into the fray when I read something that irritates me, but often I just look the other way.
On August 1, I was doing a lot of looking the other way.
The fast-food chicken restaurant whom shall not be named experienced a surge of support from Christians and conservatives in response to the GLBT community’s (true) assertion that the chain supports anti-GLBT groups. As in, the founder donates a lot of money to make sure that GLBT citizens will continue to be denied the human rights they deserve.
Why did I not jump into the fray?
Because I love these people.
Mrs. S. whose life is spent caring for her aging mother, two kids with physical handicaps as well as two other very energetic kids. She’s an inspiration in many ways, such a loving and caring person. But there it was on her facebook wall… her grinning son (whom I know just got out of the hospital for one procedure and will soon go in for something else) proudly holding up bags from the afore-un-mentioned restaurant.
19yo P. who has always upheld a strong sense of morality in the face of some pretty harsh stuff that’s been thrown at him. He’s put himself out there time and time again to support the oppressed and forgotten. I’ve never heard him speak out against gay rights, but there it was. His status simply stated where he was eating that night. He never mentioned why he was eating there, but as he’s not the type to idly mention his dinner plans, so it was clear what his stance was.
Sgt. A. who proudly served our country in the U.S. Navy for fifteen years. He lost 90% of his hearing during his last tour, so he relies heavily on social media for human interaction. He always has a kind word for every single person who posts about pain or loss, even those people who are pathetically vague and repetitive about their emotional distress, he always has a comforting or encouraging comment. He posted a picture of himself and his wife in line for their local packed-to-capacity restaurant.
Mrs. R. who, as far as I know, has lived for more than eighty years without even knowing what the term “homosexual” means. She’s the sweetest lady, really, very active in her church and community in spite of at least two hip surgeries and the loss of not just one, but two husbands. Actually, after seeing her tagged in another friend’s photo, I’m still not sure she really knew what was going on. I think she simply believed it was “The Christian Thing To Do.”
But was this “The Christian Thing To Do?” (insert facepalm here) No. Matthew Paul Turner sums it up nicely in yesterday’s blog post Five Reasons the Church Failed Yesterday In case you have trouble loading it (several friends have mentioned that they couldn’t get to the site because it went viral so fast it crashed) I’ll summarize his five points:
- Yesterday’s campaign, while I don’t think it should be considered or called “hate,” neither can it be called love.
- People felt hate and we ignored that.
- By rallying behind CFA, Christians put an issue above people.
- Once again, the mass actions of Christians built another wall of distrust between the Church and the GLBTQ communities.
- Yesterday’s hoopla surrounding CFA did nothing to prove that Christians don’t hate gay people. Oh I know that most Christians will say, “I don’t hate gay people!!”…
Really, I hope you’ll click the link and read his post. It’s all about loving people. Even when they’re being hard to love.
Of course, the backlash from these posts of perfectly nice, lovable (although tragically flawed) people was harsh. Some of the counter-posts merely “tsk-tsk’d” the restaurant’s patrons. Others were far more inflammatory and cruel. It’s the kind of thing that just escalates, as each side exaggerates the other’s shortcomings, and misquotes with the sole purpose of inflaming the opposition.