Intolerance is Alive and Well – Huzzah!

It all started, I suppose, with the above poster, which I posted on my facebook wall. A friend of mine, who I don’t know very well, reposted it onto his wall, with the comment “It made me very happy you put this up”. I’ve known this lad since he was born… a family friend, though we lost touch when his father died and his family life got a little complicated. As it goes, he’s gay and surrounded by other family friends who are evangelical Christians. So, when he posted it on his wall, he didn’t get the same positive reaction as I did.
I’m quite used to the argument that all gays will all burn in Hell. It’s difficult to be brought up in a Christian community without coming across that opinion occasionally. I assumed, for a long time in my teens, that this was the opinion of my parents. Homosexuality wasn’t talked about in my house, and usually that meant it was something that was too distasteful to stomach. Years later, my vicar father made the very brave and awe-inspiring decision to be open about his acceptance of homosexuality – using Biblical justification…  in a small village… in print – and for that I am forever grateful. I have a very wise and beautiful father.

Unfortunately, there are still so many religious people out there who fail to grasp the most basic of Jesus’ teachings: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’. For me, there isn’t an option to love homosexuals but still stop them from being allowed to have a loving sexual relationship, or commit to one another in marriage, or have a family together, or work where they please and talk about what they want. That isn’t loving someone as you love yourself. It’s as simple as that.

So I got involved in an argument that I’m not particularly proud of, because I know it hurt some of the people I count as family.

But the comments went a little like this:
“Well… honestly… Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, made by a public declaration, for the procreation of children, and for the building up of a stable society. Marriage between two men or two women just is not possible – it could never lead to the creation of children, and it could never build a stable society.” [As a ‘straight’ married woman, without children, I find the idea that marriage is solely for the aim of procreating a little alien – I also worry for heterosexual marriages where sex is only about having babies… let alone the huge number of marriages that totally fail to build a stable society through spousal abuse, or other issues].

“Come on… look at the biological logic and the sociological and psychological perspective – men with men cannot be the right way can it? You can be what you want to be, but what you want might not be the best for you – an alcoholic wants a drink but it may not be the best thing for him. Common sense surely must prevail – its just a clearly observable fact. Nothing personal, just a fact.” [A fact from where?? And when did it become ‘common sense’ to compare a homosexual to an alcoholic (someone with a medically recognised illness?). And – as another facebook user pointed out – how can telling a gay man that the way he lives is wrong, NOT be ‘personal’??]

When I offered this commentator a link to my father’s website, where he once wrote on the subject of homosexuality, he replied:
-There are some people in the church (such as [Sunshriek’s] dad it would seem, although I do not know him) who reject the Bible – that is their decision. I believe that I do not have the right or the ability to decide that God didn’t mean what he said in the pages of Scripture.

Reject the Bible?? My daddy?? That made me mad. ‘Bring it’, I said. ‘Ask me anything! Tell me your reasons for thinking homosexuality is so wrong. I have a degree in Theology! You want a biblical argument, I’m your girl!’.
His answer? He doesn’t much care for degrees and thinks my Theology BA only proves I have a degree, not that I have actually read any of the Bible.

At no point did this commentator proffer any actual biblical evidence. In fact, the best piece of evidence he could find to persuade this ‘poor’, ‘gay’, friend of mine to stop his ‘sinful ways’ was this: “I know a young man in [insert Northern town here] who has engaged in so much anal sex with so many men his back passage has collapsed and he now is fitted with a bag to take his poo away”. Brilliant. Gay men have a lot of promiscuous sex because they are filthy and disgusting. I thought we’d moved on from this.

I left the Church a while ago. I fell out with God. One of the main reasons was that His people seem so intent on making the world a horrible and intolerant place. One which I don’t want to live in. I can’t believe that a God who “Is Love” would approve of such utter thoughtlessness and cruelty. Until the Church sorts itself out, I’ll find my own way to God, thanks very much.

Postscript: I left out the most upsetting and disgusting of the comments because I couldn’t bear to deal with the thought of it, but it was this: “its wrong and yr dad would have disowned you if he was alive’. It’s comments like this that are why gay teens are twice as likely to commit suicide as their heterosexual peers.

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