What are we fighting for?

I should be working on homework, but I’m giving myself an hour to do this first.  I just have one question I’d like to ask my Christian friends:

What are you fighting for?

In the past week, I’ve seen a number of posts on various social media and traditional media outlets that I’ve found deeply disturbing.  There are times in life where there is a great amount of convergence, and the past week has been one of them.  People have been posting about gay rights.  NPR did a story on trans and gender-queer representations on TV that raised some flags for some people- I had a few queer friends who were like, “oh, hey, an honest conversation about the media!” and of course, inevitably, this raised a backlash of other people commenting about the inevitable decline of a moral society.

‘Cause you know, folks, we can take it for granted that the character of Roscoe on House of Lies is representative of the downfall of society, but the cutthroat capitalist landscape the show is based in is totally cool.

Then I was showed this article from the Christian Science Monitor, about the inevitable decline of the evangelical church.   While I find it deeply resonating and many aspects of the opinion there are undeniably true, I still felt a great sadness.  So many people believe so deeply in something which, for better or worse, society is tired of.  And it is hard, when I see well-meaning people berating queers for being happy that their lives are represented in the media.  I just want to say, “do you know society is tired?  Society is tired of this fight, lay down your sword and love somebody.”

WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

I know what people say, “The Bible says.”  Sure, okay, the Bible says.  The Bible says a lot of things, folks, and what you choose to focus on really shows your opinion of God.  The Bible says not to be bound by the law.  The Bible says freedom in Christ.  The Bible says that we are not judged by works alone.  The Bible says to balance grace and mercy with adherence to the law.

And where is the grace, the mercy, the love, in constantly choosing reiterating judgment over an honest conversation with your friends?

Oh, and Dan Haseltine (lead singer for Jars of Clay) tried to start a conversation with his fans about gay marriage, and was of course roundly condemned for it.  He really just asked, “what are the real arguments about?” and was lashed out at for even asking that question.

But, hey, I’d like to know the answer:  What are we really fighting for?

There’s something deeply disturbing about a world in which Christians will leap on any opportunity to berate and bludgeon their friends for having the temerity to be gay or want their gay friends to be married, while in the meantime we live in a society that is wholly based off of principles that contradict even greater messages in society.  If you want to think about a secular society that could lead to the downfall of mankind, think about what the American economy would look like if we had another housing collapse, another international banking disaster, another Fortune 500 bankruptcy.  Then come back, and tell me that gay people are the real problem.

I will ask again:  What are we really fighting for?

I don’t believe it’s about gay people.  I believe it’s about living in a world where we lack control.  Living in a society where the messages that blare at us from the billboards and radio and flyers up in stores, the TV channels and magazines and jacket covers of books, the clothing in the store windows, the cars on the street, and the flyers nailed to telephone poles all tear at our insides.  Living in a world where we feel assaulted and unsafe, where we are left with more questions than answers and reduced to tears when we consider the implications of truly following our conscience.

Cause when I read the Bible, I feel a weight of conviction that shakes me from the tips of my hair to the soft spot under my toenails.  And I don’t feel convicted about my gay friends or my own sexuality.  I feel convicted about the way I spend money, the career I have chosen, the way I raise my kids, the coldness I feel about international politics, where my shoes come from.

I feel convicted about myself, and I want to ask myself why I don’t try harder but that hurts.  I feel like there isn’t that much that I can honestly control, as if no matter how hard I tried I would never actually come close to approaching the ideal I feel God has imagined for me.

So I get why it would be tempting to take all of that anger and regret and make gay people the proverbial scapegoat, sent out into the desert to die.

But it’s wrong to do that.  So wrong.

So what are we fighting for?

 

Duck Dynasty, Exposure, and Godliness.

So, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame apparently couldn’t stop talking about how sinful being gay is while giving a reporter from GQ a tour of his home.  His subsequent suspension from appearances on A&E created a dual dust-up:  Gay people that are offended that yet another high-profile Christian has made them into a whipping boy, and Christians who scream “free speech” in response to his censure at the hands of the production company.

I had a handful of kneejerk responses to seeing the news.  The first was that I checked on all of my gay friends on Facebook, because if any of them had posted an angry, sad, or bitter retort I wanted to express my condolences for any pain they felt.  The second was to check on all my Christian friends, just in case I felt the need to offer some perspective.  The third was to hunt down the original article in question and read it carefully.  After that, I had to do some thinking.

My feelings on this issue are complex, as my feelings inevitably seem to be.

First, I am tired to my very bones of Christians feeling the need to pick at the sins of society as a whole.  We can’t ever fully understand God or his motivations, but we can look to the Bible and see what examples he gives us.  In the old Testament we see God ordering one of his prophets to marry a prostitute, as this is a metaphor for his love for his people.  The metaphor?  The man loves his wife but she leaves him to pursue her own interests time and time again, only coming back when she is beaten and bruised.  Hm.  Another example I find illuminating is, of course, Christ.  He did talk about sin, but he lived a life that was not focused on it.  His life was focused on compassion.  Then there are the letters of the apostles which of course are filled with admonitions- but they were talking to fellow Christians, and we really honestly cannot use their language as a model for how to speak with unbelievers, so what are we left with?

Looking back at the story of Hosea and the prostitute Gomer, I am continuously struck by the fact that while her sin and abandonment of her vows was an issue, the greater focus was on God’s love for his people and how Hosea’s love of her was a reflection of that.

The story of salvation may involve sin by necessity, but it isn’t the story of sin.

duck heads

Focusing on sin misses the mark, and that’s where I think that Phil Robertson’s portrayal of Christianity falls short.  You can say that his remarks about how guys ought to dig vaginas were a defense of Christian beliefs, but is that what Christianity boils down to?  Not liking anus?

Given a platform to discuss anything, or to defend the faith, what exactly needs defending?  The right to consider homosexuality a sin, or the right to demonstrate God’s love?

For me, at least, the choice is clear.

Then, when it comes to considering whether or not A&Es censure of Robertson is a condemnation of faith or simply an investment-saving move, I think the truth is equally as clear.  Robertson was given the time with the GQ reporter to further A&Es brand, which is bound up in the Robertson family’s persona.  While that persona involves their Christianity-inspired down-south values, consideration has to be given to the audience at hand.  GQs audience probably isn’t reading a spread on Duck Dynasty to hear about how being gay is bad.  It’s simply bad PR, and from A&Es point of view Robertson’s job was as a brand ambassador, not an ambassador for Christ.

He’s being censured for not doing his job.

This is the problem with mixing God and money.  If you choose God, you aren’t choosing money, and if you choose money you may have to turn on your morals.  If Robertson’s ultimate goal was furthering his version of the gospel, in the end losing his screen time should be a price he is happy to pay for having done that.  If his ultimate goal was money, well, he had the choice to keep his mouth shut.

(Although, honestly, there is a fair argument to be made that furthering God doesn’t necessitate gay-bashing.)

Now, for the issue of free speech:

If Robertson was an atheist and had said that Christianity had no place in American politics and that politicians should be censured if they admit to their personal ethics being influenced by the Bible, would the Christian community be saying his right to free speech is sacrosanct?

Food for thought.

Picture from Jamesjustin

If you’re going to be angry, do it right.

Indiana didn’t just pass a law that makes gay marriage punishable by jail time.

This didn’t just happen.  No, really. I know your gay friends (like mine) are probably linking to posts about that and everyone is angry about being dragged back into the dark ages.  And I understand being angry and feeling like recent victories are pissed on when things like this happen.  I mean, I wanted to be angry too.

Only that didn’t actually happen.

Indiana has had laws for many years that say falsifying information on a marriage application is illegal and punishable by a fine or jail time, and they’ve had a law saying that officiants who sign falsified marriage certificates can also be punished.  This seems, to me, like a perfectly rational law.

Fact number two, gay marriage isn’t legal in Indiana and never has been.

Fact three, when updating their application process Indiana made the boxes for the applicant’s names say “male” and “female” instead of “applicant one” and “applicant two”.

Is that, perhaps, rubbing a poo-covered stick in the eye of the gay rights activists who have been giving their sweat and tears to try to get gay marriage recognized in Indiana?  Absolutely, it’s a crap move.

But…  Gay marriage isn’t legal in Indiana.  So there aren’t going to be any gay couples trying to apply for licenses in the current hetero-based application system, so nobody is going to be falsifying documentation claiming they are a gender they aren’t in order to apply for a marriage license, so no officiants are going to be signing off on falsified certificates, so nobody is going to jail.

And if tomorrow gay marriage was legal in Indiana, a few lines of code could fix the whole problem.

So we shouldn’t be angry about the Indiana government’s dick move.  No, really, friends, we shouldn’t be angry about that.

We should be angry about all of the reactionist bloggers getting us to waste our venom on something that is, at the end of the day, relatively meaningless.   This is like letting the bully goad you with the poo covered stick and bum-rushing him and getting it all over yourself, when instead you should be looking at all your classmates as they sit idly by and either do nothing or point and laugh.  The problem isn’t that Indiana did a dick move, the problem isn’t that gay couples are going to be thrown in jail, the problem is that the fact that Indiana is digging it’s heels in on an archaic definition of marriage and aside from a few reactionary bloggers, nobody cares.

When the bully sticks the poo in your eye, psychology tells us that getting angry at him won’t help you.  If you are in trouble, and there are bystanders around who are doing nothing, what you are supposed to do is call them out. Hey, guy in the blue shirt, I’m in trouble!  Get help!  Hey, girl with the curly hair, can you give me a hand?  Hey, big guy over there, do something!

The same is true of if you are in a car accident, or if you suddenly feel pain, or if you see someone fall into a river and other people keep walking by.  Our natural tendency is to tune out disaster and assume someone better fit to deal with things will deal with things- or to assume that because everyone else is doing nothing that such is the appropriate course of action.  The best move for anyone is to start calling people out, in order to demonstrate that silence is not okay.

So don’t jump on the evil Indiana bandwagon.  Start a conversation. Start calling people out.  “Hey, don’t you want to see the marriage application process change?”  “Hey, look at how entrenched the language is, what are better words to use?”  “Hey, why do you think everyone got so angry so quickly?”  “You over there, why do you think people weren’t more honest about what happened?  Who started this firestorm anyway?”

Cause, hey, the tempest in a teapot doesn’t happen just because.

But let’s not waste all of our energy yelling at bully who only wants to see us angry.  (Because, honestly, isn’t that what some of the other side of the argument really is?  Doesn’t it serve their interest to keep gay couples as angry foaming-at-the-mouth activists ready to tear the jugular out of society?)

There is still a productive conversation to be had, one about the perceptions of society and how long it takes to make the language change, and with it expectations.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be angry.

They should, but they shouldn’t self destruct.

They need to be purposefully angry, pointedly angry.

Properly, productively angry.

They should show empathy to those who profit from their anger, and righteous rage at the ones who can be won by it.

Okay, so she’s gay, what about the frogs?

So today, my kids overheard something on the radio and asked me what gay marriage was and if that was different from what me and their dad have.  I knew that things like this would come up eventually, but still felt a moment of hesitation before answering them.  I told them that gay is a word for a boy who wants to kiss another boy or a girl who wants to kiss another girl, and that gay marriage is for two girls or two boys that want to live together and take care of each other.  Initially, the kids were a little nonplussed.  Alana laughed and said, “all the girls I know are married to BOYS mom, I’ve never heard of a girl marrying another girl.”  I told her that I knew girls that married other girls, and that not everyone was the same, and just because no one in our family is gay that doesn’t mean that being gay is weird.

My daughter thought about that for a minute and asked me if she knew anyone that was gay.  I had to pray about that for a minute, because unbeknownst to Princess her godmother is gay, and I didn’t want to say anything that would change the very special relationship they have.  Fighter was sitting off to the side with his arms crossed and a very serious look on his face.  Okay, I trust my kids.  They are the best people I know.  They can deal with this.  So I tell them that their godmother is gay, and I would really like for her to be able to be married and have someone to share her life with some day.  What do they think of that?

Fighter shrugs, says that he once had a dream about two boys being married and why not?  If you love someone and want to take care of them that’s good.  Princess, always one to have to think about things more, asks if two girls can have a baby if they want.  Well, they can always adopt a baby.  “Not everyone wants babies I guess,” Princess continues.  Her eyes light up, “OH, I wanted to talk about frogs.  Can I have the computer?”

“Sure,” I say, wondering if this conversation is actually over.

“ME TOO,” says Fighter.

“Hold on one second,” I say, “because you should know that sometimes people say really hurtful things to people who are gay, or ask them questions that are really hard to answer like why don’t they just act like other people.  I want you to know that you can talk to me about that kind of stuff.  But be careful who you talk to, and if you hear people saying mean things don’t be afraid to just walk away.  You need to be careful, and understand that it can be painful for some people to talk about.”

“I get it,” Fighter says, and Princess is still talking about this one time she saw a video of a squeaking frog.  Apparently this conversation really, truly was over.

And then a few minutes later I get a text message.  The kids have been on Facebook, letting their godmother know that it’s cool if she marries a girl.  But, more importantly, what superheros is she into?  And does she know about the frogs that don’t say ribbit?  Because, when it was all said and done, they could pick up the relationship where they left it with nothing changed.

Nothing changed, except wanting their godmother to know that her life was cool with them.

And I think, I wish that it was always that easy to love and accept someone.  And it could be, couldn’t it?  If we, like kids, pushed all of the other questions out of the way and just worked at preserving the relationship.  Like kids, realizing without even thinking that what really matters is the connections we make with each other.  I asked my daughter if it bothered her that her godmother wasn’t the same as her.  Princess shrugged and said, “I already knew she was different because she doesn’t do hair.”  Well, that’s true.

“If it bothered you, you could tell me.”

“People are different from each other,” Princess says in her straightforward, life-is-a-constant-lesson way, “what matters is if you’re loving.  If you want to be friends.  If you want to learn about each other’s things.”

I’ve heard people say, “what will we say to the Children?” as if there is simply no explanation for the existence of gays that can be made.  Maybe we shouldn’t be worried about what to say to the kids.  Maybe we should be worried about our own capacity to understand what they say in return.  In this case, the lesson couldn’t be clearer.  Their love for their godmother wasn’t based off of their idea of who she was, it was based off of what they shared with each other.  Why should her sexuality change that?

It didn’t.

My Time as Two Pink Rectangles

If you’re on Facebook, you know there are happenings in the Supreme court this week.  You know it because chances are at least a handful of your friends have replaced their smiling faces with little equals signs, and you may feel that there’s an invasion of the Borg and you’re about to be assimilated.  (Or the Daleks, or the Vampires, depending on what fandom you’re familiar with.)  I have to say I’ve taken it all in with mixed emotions.  Like many of my friends, right now I’m also a pink equal sign.  I did it to show my friends that I support them, because while their sexuality leaves them inextricably marked I myself have happily been able to be “normal”.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that for one week I be as marked as many of my friends feel, and for one week I’m open to judgment and “what the heck is that profile photo about” and whatever, as a simple expression of love.   I love my gay friends, and I know how much it means for them to see their Facebook pages painted pink and red.  No matter how alone they may feel when they and their partners get sideways glances in shopping markets and face blasts of hate from the evening news, for this one week they don’t feel so alone.

But even in the happy solidarity of equal signs flying back and forth on Facebook, and for one blissful minute feeling the togetherness of all of our names sharing the same face, there is something in it all that turns my stomach.  Not the love, not the togetherness, but the fact that it’s contrived by a unique set of circumstances.  Some day, maybe tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, we’ll all go back to being ourselves.

This tenuous feeling of togetherness, of shared love and shared rejection, of spreading the hurt across a thousand faces that for one moment choose to share the same mask; this tenuous thread will break, and I’ll go back to being just another face in the crowd. But my friends?  They’ll still be holding hands with their lovers in the grocery store.

Let me tell you a story.  Last night, I was commenting on a friend’s page, and one of his friends asked me if we could private message.  I (willingly) subjected myself to a protracted conversation where I was interrogated while this very well-meaning soul tried to catch me in a logic trap to teach me the error of my theology.  I can’t judge the guy, because I’ve been that kind of person myself and I’m sure that people who think that gays are a threat feel the same queasiness that I felt while being subjected to my own Biblical exegesis.  But it made me wonder, what did I do?  What did I do to convince this guy that I needed him to explain salvation to me?  Why does he think that I need to be drilled on faith and works?  Why does he think that I haven’t heard this argument a thousand times before?

Oh, I get it. I’m a pink equality symbol, so I must be broken.  I must need somebody’s help to understand scripture.  But tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that, I won’t be a threat anymore.  I’ll just be a smiling strawberry blonde who disagrees.  I won’t be marked.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this.  That’s okay, I wonder where I’m going with it too.  Here’s the thing:  It’s easy to forget, in the love and solidarity, what it’s all about.  It’s about a world in which people are told, tacitly and constantly, that they are flawed.  Where people who are subjected to judgement and criticism, where well-meaning people feel it’s their moral obligation to offer correction and condemnation at every turn.  A world in which it must at times be hard as Hell to accept the fact that there is a Creator out there who loves and needs you, and wants you to experience His love and blessing.  A world that straight people may or may not be assimilated into.  But we must never, ever, ever forget:  for some people, that world is just life.  I don’t believe at the end of the day that I have a choice in whether or not I choose to align myself with my gay friends, my single mom friends, my pot smoking friends, my Buddhist an Atheist and Agnostic and Just Plain Confused friends.  I don’t feel that it’s optional that when one of them asks me to show solidarity I do it immediately and without thinking.  Why?  Because how can I minister any love to them if I am not willing to be a part of their world.  How could I ever in good conscience ask them to enter MY world, MY faith, MY belief if I am not willing to bring it into theirs?

So, yeah, on Facebook I’m a pink equality sign.  All I can do is hope that in the real world the compassion I feel for the people I rub shoulders worth marks me as clearly as that avatar does.  And for my friends, my dear friends for whom I mark myself:  you are loved.  I don’t want to leave your world.  It’s rocky and engulfed in flames from time to time as the random hateful visitor passes through, but by God you are here.  You are here, and you make it worth every second.

Fear our Love.

Christians are not the parents of this world.  I say that because at times we act as if we are.  We want to dole out punishment and appropriate discipline to all those whom we see as disobeying.  “Hey. single mom, your current struggles are the natural consequence of your actions!  If you’d followed God’s plan your life wouldn’t be so hard!”  Or, “hey, gay person, you’ve got to get straight to get to God or you’ll burn in hell, m’kay?”  Or, “Hey, society, just going to change a few laws over here to keep your Judeo-Christian values right or God is gonna judge us all, don’t want that happening!”

Missing the point, missing the point, missing the point.

We aren’t society’s parents.  There’s a difference between being God’s ministering hands and feet to express the Gospel to this world and being God’s spank paddle.  One, we are called to be.  The other?  We aren’t.  See, the thing is, all of humanity is called to be God’s sons and daughters.  We’re all siblings.  When I tell my son if he throws his toys his toys are going in my closet and he’s getting a time out, his sister is right there to let me know that her brother is stressed and angry and he can’t help it and he needs a hug and if I give him a time out I’m Mean Mommy.  When I tell her that if she doesn’t respond to me because she’s watching a video I’m going to turn off the TV, her brother is right there to defend her.  They’ve got each other’s backs.  And when I dole out the discipline and go into the other room, guess who is sneaking in to hug and kiss and talk their sibling through it?  That’s the way of things.  I, as my gay Christian friends sister in Christ, see my first and foremost job as being their advocate, not being their jury.  I also don’t need to be their voice of conviction because that is why Christ sent us the Holy Spirit.  What they do need is me as their sister, the one who will stay up late to whisper to them.  The one who will argue for them in the face of judgment.  The one who will conspire with them to wreak havoc when necessary.  Their partner in humanity.

Sometimes, when I read Christian magazines and articles online, I start to picture the Bride of Christ as a nagging wife, saying “didn’t I tell you last week if you didn’t stop that you’d burn in Hell?  How many times must I remind you?”  It saddens me deeply.  Our example is supposed to be Christ, the one who came to Earth to advocate for our healing.  The one who gave us freedom from beneath the law.  The one who acted as the supreme advocate, standing between us and our judgment at the expense of his body, his dignity, and his life.  Yet in his name we enforce the law at the expense of faith, bullying, belittling, and threatening our fellow humans, our fellow brothers and sisters, until they turn from the Church with a resigned sigh, throw up their hands, and disavow God.

And why shouldn’t they?  When I punish my children unfairly, without any sympathy, grace or mercy, because I myself am scared and frustrated, they turn from me.  Our words must be selfless.  They must be motivated by love.  They must be tempered with knowledge of God’s grace and mercy and kindness.  They must be modeled after Christ.  They must never be motivated by our own fears.  Let’s be honest with ourselves- a lot of the condemnation the church heaps out is fear-centered.  No gay marriage?  We’re afraid of the consequences to society.  Discipline the single mother?  We’re afraid of the reputation that embracing her would give our church, and afraid she’s going to keep sleeping around, and afraid that she’s going to expect us to help her out and take her responsibilities on ourselves.  Rebuke the tattooed punk?  Let’s be honest, we don’t understand him.  We find his attitude offensive.  We’re afraid of what he’ll act like if he sticks around.  And that gay sixteen year old boy?  If we don’t rebuke him, he might be gay forever.  And we’re terrified of what that might mean.

It’s not God, it’s fear.  And when we reprimand our fellow man in God’s name, claiming that it is love, all we ultimately do is teach them to fear and reject God.  Are we supposed to hold each other accountable in love?  Absolutely.  Just like how my son will whisper to his sister that Mommy said something and she’d better say “yes mom”.  Just like my daughter will tell my son, “If mom sees you doing that she will be SO MAD.”  But that is something done out of charity, something done out of love, something done out of sympathy and a common goal.  It’s done to improve a life, not to condemn actions.  When we intercede with each other we have to do it out of God’s spirit and heart, and with knowledge of the consequences of our actions.

When I see the multitude of people who love God but are ashamed of Christianity, all I can think is that if we truly were doing things God’s way the result of our actions wouldn’t be fruits of bitterness, doubt, and loss of faith.

Somewhere, something has gone horribly wrong.

heard hearts, oppression, violence, love…

I linked to an old post of mine on Facebook a few days ago (this one) and ended up getting into a fight so bad I deleted my own link.  I had, until then, never done such a thing.  I’ve also never found myself so incapable of expressing and communicating my own point of view.

What is it about the past few week’s issues that have made honest conversation so impossible?  I’ve been contemplating this, and praying about it, and meditating on it, and generally beating my head against it, and I think I’ve finally realized what is going on here.

Everyone is backed into their own corner licking their wounds, and they don’t care two figs about what the other side is thinking or feeling.  We’re on 24/7 attack and defend mode.  The Christians don’t care why the gay community is upset.  It feels safe, right, and supported to assume that any reason the gay community would be upset is an invalid one since it’s gays doing the complaining.  And does the gay community care about the church’s defensiveness?  Why should they?  Why would the oppressed care why the oppressor oppresses?  It has to be wrong, so why bother listening?  Why have a conversation?

We’re nearing a full on war, where buglers on both sides are signalling out an attack and the language and rhetoric has grown so expansive even the innocent are caught in the crossfire, with the end goal being battering the other side into submission with no regard for righteousness.  I find this far easier to forgive in my gay friends than I do in my fellow Christians.

But, for the sake of both sides, let me explain some things:

Christians, I don’t care what Tony Perkins said last week.  The Family Research Council has a track record going back almost thirty years in which they have routinely blocked moves to overturn legislation that bans sodomy and homosexual acts.  Tony Perkins can grandstand and say, “we don’t try to make new laws”, but actions speak louder than words.  If two hundred years ago a man spent millions lobbying to keep wife beating legal, could he really turn around and say “I’m not trying to make new laws to beat my wife” and have anyone defend him as someone who doesn’t want to impugn women’s rights?  The Family Research Council does think that homosexual “behaviors” should be illegal.  Period.  This is not something that can be argued, it is true, and their own website makes that very clear.  They believe being gay is dangerous, and threatening to society, and they say so.  Routinely.  They fought against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  They lobbied to change a resolution that would challenge a Ugandan law that made the death penalty for homosexuality legal.  They state that it was a matter of semantics and they don’t support killing gays, but guess what?  They held up a resolution that condemned killing gays.  What matters is how that looks to gay people, and it certainly doesn’t look good.

Now, my dear gay friends, I love you.  But you need to understand some things.  All of the hateful, painful, offensive things that Tony Perkins and the FRC say?  They believe them.  I know that this is not comfortable for you to hear, but you need to hear it.  They do believe that being gay is dangerous.  They believe that it weakens society.  They sincerely believe that gay people are more likely to be diseased, mentally ill, and harm children.  They believe that homosexuals have a dangerous agenda.  It may seem completely incredible to you to accept that people may think those things.  It may seem even more incredible to believe, for even a second, that someone could think those things and be a genuinely good person.  Here is the thing:  They don’t hate you.  They are worried about you, and they are worried for your sake.  They don’t want you to be gay because they think it’s bad for you, and they think that if they curb your rights you might give up and go straight, and they think that the loving thing to do is protect you from your fleshly desires.  They are, to put it simply, trying to save your soul.  They just aren’t going about it the way that Christ would.

I know, because I’ve been there.  This is the mindset I grew up with.  I know that when I believed those horrid things, I was becoming the person that I am now.  I believe that other people could make the same journey.

So for the love of God and all that is holy, try to understand the other side.  Try to listen to what they are saying and argue rationally.  Stop pointing fingers and throwing stones and trying to gag each other, it helps no one.  Hatred begets violence.  Oppression begets violence.  Hard hearts unwilling to listen to the other side breed violence faster than bunnies on speed.  It needs to stop, and the only solution is to love the other side to little itty bitty bits and try to rebuild this whole mess in a better image.

I think we can do it.  I think we have to.