Monday, November 22, 2004

and you call yourself a Christian...

A forethought: This post is dedicated to my friend Sharla's boyfriend Will and the conservative Christian coalition.

"And they'll know we are Christians by our love..."

So many of us are familiar with this popular Christian hymn that I quoted above. I am extremely familiar with this song and the things that it professes and stands for. I was raised in the Catholic faith and attended a Catholic grade school (St. Vincent's) and a Catholic high school as well (St. Francis Borgia). In fact, I know attend a Jesuit college in Kansas City called Rockhurst University(which is a lot more conservative than I would like it to be). I was raised in a liberal family with parents who preached acceptance of all people despite age, sex, race, or sexual preference. They also taught me to stand up for what I believe in despite who I may be fighting or arguing against. So, I suppose because of them, I am extremely opinionated when it comes to tolerance of all people. So much of your upbringing and your parent's beliefs influence what you believe in turn and I consider myself to be very lucky that I have the parents that I do. I feel as if I am very open-minded as well as opinionated (most of the time--I will admit that there are many things that I just don't understand though) Anyways...

I was spending some time at my grandparents' house this past week/weekend (explains the non-posting week) when, on Friday morning, I picked up their copy of the Washington Times. I flipped through it until I came across an article about Bush and his plan for his next amendment that would make sure that a marriage would be defined as between a man and a woman. Blah...having many friends who are gay, this drives me crazy. They are citizens just as we are citizens and taking away their right to marry whomever they choose seems to me as unconstitutional. So, I finished the article and was overwhelmed by a sense of nausea and my stomach beginning to ache. I continue to flip through the paper, hoping, that by some chance, a happy article could get rid of this ache. I flip the page again and see the headline "St. Gay" that goes along with a picture of man with a halo around his head. I read on and discovered that this is an advertisment put out by a weekly Catholic review/newspaper. It takes the shape of a fake newspaper article (essentially, a faketicle). The faketicle talked about how the gay community is attempting to canonize a man named Gaylord who was living happily with his partner until he was murdered (hate crime). These "people" are perpetuating bad moral values and causing the value of marriage to decline. The faketicle continued to say (subliminally of course) that if you bought a subscription to this magazine/review, that you would be supporting the good moral values that the Catholic religion provides for you to believe in.

Are you kidding me? Once being a part of the Catholic church, I read this and was ashamed. To not only proclaim the Church's opinion on gay marriages but to make fun of the gay community outright! I was extremely offended and began to cry. Cry. I finished the faketicle and then got up and went to the bathroom to try and gather myself. I got back out and my grandma was there waiting. She asked if I was okay and I told her that something in the paper had upset me. She kind of laughed until she realized that I was serious. She told me that God would take care of it. I said nothing.

My question is...how in the hell does God take care of things that these religious groups say that She doesn't agree with? Hmm...

So why is this post also dedicated to Will? Well...I was "babysitting" Will the other night when Sharla was busy at a response for the play that she was involved in. I was supposed to entertain Will for about an hour and so we went to the Broadway Café, a great little coffee shop in a liberal area of KC called Westport. (Side note: BC was completely packed while the Starbucks that was built down the street was virtually empty...yay small business owners! BOO corporations!) Anyways...we got a table after sitting outside in the cold for a while and started chatting about our political views (which are fairly similar) and about our virtually opposite upbringings. His mother was/is an extremely religious person and Will was very sheltered growing up. He was taught the whole way through his religious-based school about how God and Jesus are lords over all, homosexuality is caused by the devil, and that any views other than the ones his religion teaches are wrong. Will told me that the first time he realized that it was okay to say the word "sex" wasn't until he was 14 when he went to a school dance. On top of that, when he was 16 at youth group, he stuck up for gays during a discussion on how to defend your religion if someone brought up the "sin of homosexuality." Because he stuck up for the other side, he began to be accused of being gay, something that he totally laughed off. But, he did mention that he got mailings all of the time from these places that were camps for "degayification" (NOT JOKING!). The best thing he says he got was a big poster that said "Jesus loves you no matter who they are" with a big smiley face on it. He told me that he always wanted to add "as long as you love a member of the opposite sex..." The rumors finally stopped after 4 months, but not until the church had completely shunned him. He never went back. When he met Sharla and starting dating her at 16 and started falling in love, he began to shift to the other side even more. Will's mom hates Sharla because she "took Will away from God"....or something like that. (For the record: Sharla is an amazing girl who believes whole-heartedly in God...BUT, oh shit...she's liberal!) It amazed me that although he has such a different upbringing, that we can still arrive at the same conclusions about life and people in general. Will's mom is part of a group that is completely and totally opposed to homosexuality called the Christian Coalition. They support many anti-gay publications, including, "The Gay Agenda" by Paul Volle of the CC of Maine. I encourage you to check this group out and ask yourself how they can exclude groups and still call themselves Christians, people who accept and love all people.

So what's my view on the whole thing? How can people call themselves Christians if they exlude groups that they feel are wrong and therefore don't have to love? Or, what's worse, think that they can change? Or that they have the RIGHT to change them? Ignorance, ladies and gentlemen...ignorance. What's more...am I a bad Christian because I feel as if they have the right to do what they want, instead of wanting a group of white, upper class Christians to decide every law for this country?

It is not my right to decide whether they can or can not marry the person they choose. Gay marriages will never be a true issue for me because I like people of the opposite sex. ALL that I can say is love is NOT a threat to marriage. I am apalled that despite the current situation of marriage in this country (i.e. highest rate of divorce), that we can say that the sanctity of marriage is threatened by allowing two women or two men that are in love to marry each other.

Sadly, I know that nothing will be done in the near future to push for the rights of gays and lesbians but I have some very good friends who are trying to do just that. Best of luck....

Much love to everyone and please continue to stand up and be heard...have a good day!



3 Comments:

At 8:56 AM, Blogger _1_ said...

I think it's funny no one has commented yet. So by taking on the duty as your best friend, I will.

When I was young, I thought homosexuality came out of the counter-culture of the '60s (rather, that's what my mom told me - this is the same person that told me babies come from praying too hard). The truth is, homosexuality has been around since the dawn of time. So... why haven't we tolerated it yet? In my anthropology class, we learned that some tribes practice homosexuality as a "rites of passage" for boys. In other cases, homosexuality demonstrated male dominance in a society because a man would rather be with a man instead of a woman. So little is known about female homosexuality because women are often neglected in history. The point is, GET USED TO IT! What have gay men and women ever done to you? They're the victims, not the enemy. I can't ask gay men and women what have heterosexuals ever done to them because we have done PLENTY! Why can't our society allow everyone to get married? As long as love is there, laws should not be passed discriminating people from practicing their rights. Now, for the sake of humanity, tolerance, and world peace.. just accept people for who they are and stop oppressing them as "delinquents of the norm." Everyone deserves respect and human rights.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger _1_ said...

As far as that Christian point of view, organized religion is just asking for attention, like a 4-year-old having a tantrum on the floor of a Wal-Mart. Christianity wants to set the example for the entire world, and the case with homosexuality is one controversial subject Christianity would love to control. I think, since humans feel this strong urge to judge everyone else, accepting homosexuality is up to the individual, not some old men who wear draperies. Personally, I think a person who can accept/love anyone is truly the most spiritual person. Organized religion needs to grow up and get with the times.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger straatja said...

Very interesting reading. Hmmm... Let me clarify one thing. I think it's very, very important to realize that the Church is rooted in Biblical tradition when it comes to something of this nature. Personally, I love the sinner and I hate the sin.

While I agree with your analysis in regards to divorce and marriage, I don't think "marriage" should be changed just for a select few.

More on a later date! :) Have a great day, blessed Advent and Christmas season, and God Bless!

NOTE: I don't use Blogspot as a way for me to blog, rather my real Blog is at http://seminarian.motime.com.

 

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