Monday, December 28, 2009

Bad Apples

Just a week or so ago, I sent out a request from a pink community related religious organization to the supporters of another pink advocacy group, asking for support in speaking out against the pending Genocide Bill in Uganda. Surprisingly, I got a barrage of outrage from one of the recipients on the mailing list, letting me have both barrels because I dared to associate Christianity with the pink community! Most confusing of all, this was from a gay man!

It seems, from the lengthy and somewhat disjointed rant, (including a little gem about some pastor who threw him out of church for his sexuality and that he had now embraced Wicca) that this person hates everything to do with Christianity and sees it as an implacable enemy to gay and human rights and cannot in any way comprehend how any gay person could have anything to do with Christianity - even going so far as to label those brave and outstanding GLBTIQ folks who are also clerics, ministers and pastors preaching moderation from a religious perspective, as "traitors" and "enemies"!


Dear Mr "P".

I understand your anger. First let me tell you that I am not a preacher or a clergyman, I am a human rights activist. I too have my issues with religion, specifically Christianity. The other two representatives of [the group] are both reverends, and both gay themselves, and connected to gay inclusive churches which support the community in every way possible.

There are GLBTIQ people in the ministry too, and straight people who really care about us, and they put themselves at risk standing up for our rights and humanity, and I think they should at least enjoy our support instead of us just grouping them with those who hate them as much as us. I don't think that is fair, or helps our common cause, do you?

Next, let me tell you that there are Christians and then there are also "Christians". I am sure you know that not everybody is the same, or feels the same and you will always find those who would rather persecute us instead of thinking and feeling first. This doesn't make all Christians bad, just as it doesn't make all GLBTIQ people bad - or good.

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People like the pastor you mentioned are the ones who have issues and have a lot to learn about their own faith, and it is they who need to take a long hard look at themselves.

In the end, while there are those people who call themselves Christians who persecute us, we have to ask ourselves if we care about them and the horrible un-Christian things they say, or about who we believe God to be - the monster they worship, or the loving creator who made us as well.

We all have scars and bad experiences, and we all had to run through the mill with folks who think they are better than us.

Just like there are good and bad Christians, there are good and bad Muslims and also good and bad gay and trans people. No social group is all good or all bad just by being part of that group.

Generalizing as you are doing here is exactly what those people you speak about do with all of us. It doesn't make either them or you right in this case. It is the same as condemning ALL German people because of what the Nazis did during WW2. Is that fair?

I have had much trouble with Christians - but fundamentalist Christians (they are the ones who, funnily enough, agree with you by saying that Christian and gay are mutually exclusive), while I have many friends who are loving Christians who do not condemn or judge me in any way for being who I am and who I know I can count on as friends. They do the same even for the two Muslim gents and the Pagan lady that are their colleagues. These are the people we need to befriend and support in order to build a tolerant society.

Indiscriminately blasting everybody just for being Christian (regardless of their feelings on GLBTIQ people) will alienate even those who support us. Of course, the other question you need to ask is whether they are attacking you for your sexuality or your religion - neither of which is adequate reason for any actual Christian to attack you. Or do they also find themselves facing your rather obvious and alarmingly direct aggression?

About your point on democrats and non democrats (IE a democratic system allowing the participation of anti-democratic groups in the democratic process, while the anti-democratic system would not reciprocate) that is what defines democratic politics and the opposite of it, and I hope, the benefits of democracy. I just don't understand what your point is here by comparing this to religion and the pink community?

Religious right and conservative religious groups are the ones trying to rob us of our rights, and they certainly do not have a monopoly or a majority on religion or authority. The aggressive conservative voices are by far outweighed by the moderates. The defense of our equality and human rights is what the civil rights movement - including the groups you are attacking - is all about."

That is just my personal take on the matter. Use it, don't use it - but I hope you will come to see the difference between people who only talk the talk and those who really walk it.

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