Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Change Of Heart

Christianity - the lifestyle choice that elevates one to a position from where you can look down on everyone else, and point out their mistakes - and everyone who disagrees is automatically "evil", "anti-God" and a "heretic", a "deviant" - or a threat to "the family", and somehow less of a human being for it.

This is how a friend of mine put it: "Very true - even of "good" Christians who claim to hate the sin but love the "sinner". "No, you're not evil, but your acts are evil." Evil. Good. Evil. Good. When will people just be able to accept reality as it truly is?"

When people stop fearing the dark as some representation of evil and see it as a shadow, an absence of light, and also a consequence of it.

Religion again! Yes, yes - I know... Many gay and trans people don't want to hear about God because they have been rejected by family or friends - or work or churches in the name of that God because of who they are. Others have tried to change them through religion and so they are skeptical whenever they hear people speak of God. They think God hates them and they wonder why they feel - they know - they were born like this - made so by God only to seemingly be cursed by him.

When I hear people talking about religion I am probably the first to start rolling my eyes. When people start claiming "God hates..." or "God wants..." or "...make God vomit!" I start looking for signs of hidden communications devices. How do they know? Do they read a book that has been manipulated and revised by other PEOPLE for centuries? Or does God speak to them and tell them his wants and hates? "Listen George, I have a bone to pick with THOSE people - I HATE them! They make me want to lose my divine lunch!" How do they know?

They cannot possibly, can they?

Do they hear voices? (They have a description for people like that somewhere in the psychiatric manual.) It is questions like this that make me an agnostic, because even if I get a warm fuzzy feeling in church I don't hear anyone whispering clear concise instructions into my ears - or see any mysterious visions, or anything else which might prompt me to inspect the label of whatever beverage I am currently consuming. But then, these gay-hating "true" Christians will also claim that if I say I was once a Christian and now call myself an agnostic then I never was a Christian to begin with. Some have. And they are quite wrong - I went through the whole trip, Sunday school, born again, warm fuzzy feelings included. What happened? I find it surprising indeed that people who claim the same heritage can be so full of hatred and venom and I want nothing more to do with it. It sickens me. And there you have your answer.

There are so many groups out there consisting of people claiming to be "true" Christians, attacking the pink community - and it seems the entire charismatic and mainstream church is a ball of hatred disguised beneath a thin coating of honey and cinnamon-sugar and beatific "Jesus-loves-you's". I realize now that the only way to change this house of hatred is from the inside, not from without.

People attacking a group from outside will simply cause that group to close ranks and unify and become even stronger - which in case they haven't noticed, is exactly what has happened with the pink community.

In essence they have been operating on the same principle by using the mere existence of the pink community as an imagined threat - and making it look like an external threat - to rally and unify their own groups. If we are ever to co-exist peacefully with mutual dignity and respect, this simply has to change. If there is to be change in the way a group operates - or thinks, such change has to come from within the ranks of that group.

Quite literally, this requires a change of heart.

This of course, is where the bigots have employed the "ex-gay" movement - by getting some gay people to side with them and in effect to hate themselves and what they are, and to try to change the rest of the pink community from within by making false claims to speak for all gay people - and to sow doubt in their minds. To immobilize and neutralize them by taking them out of the fight for civil rights one way or another - to make them innert. "Combat ineffective" is the military term. And this is how they make their play to change - or to destroy the civil rights movement from within.

Working on the same principle, but with a completely opposite motive, there are people in church groups all round the world who are trying to make changes to the global mindset of staid and mired religious movements. There are loving people in the churches around the world - pastors, priests, ministers, rabbis and imams who are slowly taking ground back from the fundamentalists in a growing move to show love and tolerance to those who have become the favorite target of people who consider themselves "righteous" and "superior". Regardless of their religous persuasions, they are agents of good - making a positive difference to the lives of others. The fundamentalists like to speak of "the Great Commission" and of "transformation" - well, these champions of human rights and God's love for all his children are spear-heading another transformation, but as a force for good and not evil.

The difference? One group seeks to destroy the other and the people who make it up - while the other seeks to set people free and to create an atmosphere of love for all - and tolerance. Clearly the one is harmful - while the other is the polar opposite, and would benefit all of mankind, and not just one little group.

Ministers and clergy play an important part in this front of the "War" religion seems to have declared on the pink community. And that is where compassionate people come in - people who will show others the light and love of the one some call "the living God" - and not try to snatch it away from them.

Whether you believe in such a God or not, you cannot deny the power the Christian Church still has in the world today - whether it is unified or not, whether it acts as a unified body or as individuals, it is still the greatest stumbling block to human rights, mercy, tolerance and equality. If you cannot see the irony in this, then you are obviously one of them.

Regardless of one's personal faith, if the pink community is to find peace in society, then something has to change. If one looks at this logically, it is a simple equation of love versus hate or tolerance versus intolerance. And since being gay or transgender in itself is both natural and harmless - and cannot change, and hatred is arguably one of the most dangerous things in the world today - that can, it seems fairly obvious to me which of these must go in order for there to be peace at last. The bigots need to have control of the hijacked Christian faith wrested from them so that it can live up to its original mandate to be the body of Christ - and Christ never acted out of hatred toward anybody - nor excluded anyone.

All that is required from these haters, bigots and misogynists - is a change of heart.


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