When I write about religion, mostly I sit in front of a blank screen with my cursor blinking back and forth.
Or I go to reference a Bible passage on the Internet, and find myself at Catholic Online, looking over at the “Most Popular” section where I see the headline, “The unrelenting ‘Gay Mafia’ has bullied A&E into suspending ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.”
Because the Gay Mafia is a thing. And it’s unrelenting. And it hates Christians.
“It’s not Robertson who is intolerant, it’s the activist gays,” it says.
“Robertson’s views are not all his own. They’re God’s. God made the rules, designed the plan for marriage – and He has not changed either. Homosexual behavior is a sin. It is abominable, just as every other form of sexual deviancy is.”
An ad from Farmers Insurance plays on the site in the background.
My brain. It short circuits. The cursor keeps blinking.
And I decide: I guess this is my coming out day.
I’m an activist gay.
Some things are easy for me because of circumstance. I’m white. I’m heterosexual. I come from a well-educated family.
And I’m Christian. As Christian as Phil Robertson or anyone else. I know it in my heart. It’s a thing between God and me. But if you want the credentials (which are unimportant, but I don’t want you to think that I’m a nonfat Christian and Phil Roberston is the whole milk version): I pray every day, we go to church on Sundays, we keep Christ in Christmas, K-Pants goes to Sunday school, I co-lead our church play group, Lent is this time before Easter that we love because it’s spiritually rigorous. We’ve been involved with God for a while.
And there are a few things I know to be true.
1. LOVE is the core. All caps, radical, boundless love. Some love is easy—our souls want it and want to give it. Some love is hard—loving our enemies, sometimes ourselves, often those who are different from us.
2. Anyone who tells you that you are going to hell has been caught in that insidious trap: hubris. We think we know the way to the Kingdom. And He has given us a road map. And we try to follow it. But here’s the thing: He’s the only one to judge. Not us, because we are all of us sinners. And we are walking this earth doing the best we can, trying to blow oxygen on the fire of goodness inside us. But boy do we love to judge others.
3. Sins are a choice. Adultery is a choice. Greed is a choice. Being gay is not a choice. Who would choose it?
I sat next to this guy in his fifties on the subway in New York City right after Ricky Martin came out. We were on our way home from work. My seatmate couldn’t believe that Ricky Martin was gay. In his mind, people were gay because their parents were Bohemian and thought it was cool to be gay.
This is not true. Bands of Bohemians do not raise future gay generations.
Random families across America do. And often these families are religious (and maybe think homosexuality is a sin) or at a minimum something they would never wish for their children. And then somehow, their child is gay.
But the world doesn’t end. In fact, most of the business of being gay is just going about your daily life, having to be more guarded than other people, finding the love of your life, growing your family, filing more complicated tax returns….
You know who else does a great job following Jesus’ examples of LOVE and radical openness? These Christian organizations:
Faithful America, working to redefine Christianity’s voice in mainstream media, and petitioning for social justice
Believe Out Loud, a network of those who believe Love is the greatest commandment
Sojourners, celebrating 40 years of faith in action for social justice
So here I am. Long-winded. Coming out.
If there is a gay mafia out there somewhere, you can count me among your ranks. I’m straight. I’m Christian. I’m standing WITH Jesus and for LOVE.
You might also like “Cascadia Scouts: Portland’s Alternative to the Boy Scouts,” another piece highlighting groups who are breaking down discriminatory barriers.