Wednesday, November 5, 2008

that's so gay

I thought I’d give two of my friends a voice here on my blog. My very dear friend Shane is a single parent who has adopted three foster kids. His kids and mine are best of friends and Shane is a wonderful dad. The kids came from severely abusive homes and Shane took them in and now they are thriving and it’s beautiful. So I feel emotional about Prop 8 because of our relationship with Shane’s family, and he is gay. I’m not a gay (I like to say “a gay”) so I can only imagine how they feel about this measure, and I can only imagine what is going to happen for the thousands of kids in foster care who will not be able to be placed in homes with gay parents, and will continue to be shuttled between foster homes and no sense of stability, all because of the passing of this law. My heart just hurts, physically aches for all of these children who will suffer from this. If you believe in prayer, please pray for them.

So today when Prop 8 passed Shane told me this (and said I could quote him):
Whose children are the beneficiaries of Prop 8? Not mine, that is for sure. Prop 8 makes certain that my children understand that their father is a second class citizen. This is no "moral victory" for lots of reasons. It is primarily a financial victory. I wonder if all those good Christians are going to still refer to Mormons as cultists? Prop 8 will pass because of the Mormon church's support, after all. I am also heartbroken and furious that Arkansas apparently voted to make it impossible for gay people to adopt kids (and probably then, not be able to be foster parents, too).
And here is Ryan's blog entry today. It makes me so sad that so many gay people feel like Christians hate them. I hear from both sides: I hear the Christians saying "we are pushing for Prop 8 to save families." I hear the gays saying "Why do they want to deny us this?" I can understand both sides, but I have to say that the Christians need to realize that God is bigger, if they do believe in God. (I say that because I know some agnostics/atheists are reading this.) He's bigger than a law. Love is bigger than all of this. What I take the Bible to say is don't worry about legislation nearly as much as you concern yourself with the basics. Love people. Why don't they feel loved by you? If you have love in your heart, reach out to them. They're wonderful. They're people and they were made in God's image. What if your children grow up to be gay? What will happen then? Hopefully you will not ostracize or judge them, you will be a safe haven for them! Jesus said that what you do to the least of them, you do unto him. Here's Ryan:
On the cusp of so much possibility for change, I have pause. Come Wednesday, Nov 5th I'm nervous I might greet the day with a frowny face knowing the Republicans will continue to drive us into the ground and that me and so many good people, that I love and respect, will continue to be dehumanized and treated as second-class citizens. The outcome of the next 30 hours are life-changing for many. I can't remember a time I've felt so affected by a campaign.

If you are in opposition to gay marriage I think it is important to (1) recognize where that opinion is coming from and (2) consider what living in life's margins would feel like. History shows America has not been kind or fair to women and minorities. Thankfully, those of us who realize we're being short-changed by society are mobilizing and turning the tide on social culture. And thank God, or today, women would not be able to vote, owning slaves would be commonplace and bludgeoning homosexuals would be a social norm. The right to marry, for me, is more of an issue of respect than anything else. It is easy to ostracize gays and lesbians and limit their rights if you first, disrespect and discredit them. There have been tremendous strides from 40 years ago, but we're not out of the woods yet. I, for one, think gay marriage is a necessary step to gaining national respect and ultimately allowing us to have a piece of the pie.

Stephanie put her two cents in on gay marriage, an issue I haven't had an emotional reaction to until this weekend. Her thoughts, a Christian perspective, are insightful and fair. As someone coming from a hurtful religious upbringing, I always appreciate someone who, regardless of background, if they have struggled in life's margins or have deep, emotional scars, is still able to love and think--but mostly just love.

Here's Stephanie:

I’ve been thinking about gay marriage lately because the California vote on it is going to take place soon. I think that if we live in a democracy, it should be legal. It’s not going to hurt straight marriages or God’s design of marriage. If God exists, his design can’t be thwarted by a law. What can man do to me? said the psalmist. Christians talk about anti-gay stuff and are very adverse to it, but I think they/we are missing the fact that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah not because of the gayness and sodomy festivals and homo-olympics, it was because they didn't listen to him. And how often do Christians who have a major problem with gayness also not listen to God? How many of them run from relationship and being humble and being open and how many of us build this self-protective shell and fail to reach out and do good when it's in our power to do so? I feel so sad about all the energy being spent in the wrong place. I hate that I spent so many years doing that myself and I want so much to head towards truth and not keep going towards being self-righteous and defensive.

My comment to Stephanie's Blog:

I'm touched by your comments on gay marriage and a Christian perspective. Gays, in general, hate religion and the religious because they (we) think it hates us. I don't think anything is black and white and like knowing that there are Christians who have brains and recognize what is a social condition and what is a religious one (in terms of their feelings one way or another toward gay marriage). May I repost?

Stephanie's response to my comment:

Yes Rye you absolutely may repost! I'm so happy that you're touched by it because you're one of the most wonderful people I know and I hate that gays (whom I love) think religion hates them...because it basically does.God and religion are separate. Religion sucks. God is love and love conquers all. xoxoxo

14 comments:

Rye said...

I'm very sad today, but a little happy for Obama. Thank you for seeing the bigger picture.

Kate said...

So much to say, Steph, but so tired from working my ass off for the man.

How does a gay like me get to be such a friggin' workaholic? Aren't we all supposed to be alcoholics.

Oh, right, I am probably there to corrupt the youth.

One thing that jumped out at me from your blog was the hypothetical question (to supposed Christians): what would you do if your kids turned out to be gay?

Well, dear and lovely honey girl, I'll tell you what they do.

They ostracize you (at best). You are "an abomination"; you are "the one who broke my heart and there is nothing you can do to mend that"; you are "the one who broke our circle -- now EVEN HEAVEN is ruined for our whole family".

You are on your own; you are NON-FAMILY. You are bad, you are wicked -- and not in the "good" (cool) way.

You are shame.

You are pain.

You are hearache.

You are nothing.

The suicide rate for gay teens is astronomically high. Thank god I had no idea what I thought or felt (too deeply brainwashed by the church to allow any feelings through) until I was through my teens.

And with that, I am going to turn in so that I am less than mere mush tomorrow, when I have another 14-, 15-, 16- (who can tell?) -hour day to climb.

Thank you for being a dear who cares.

stephy said...

Oh Kate. You are just too dear.
You're the OPPOSITE of ALL THOSE HORRID LIES that you were told about
who you are. You are one of the most wonderful people on this planet,
and Ginger is too. The opposite of an abomination and heaven-ruiner.
(I mean, that is digging pretty hard to hit pretty far below the
belt!)
I'm turning in too. Or trying.
lots of love to you both.
stephy

PS - and Ryan...it'll get overturned. We'll have to wait a bit, but it'll happen, just like we elected a black president...hang in there.

rachel said...

great post and thanks for sharing. i wish more christians would recognize that with judgement, there cannot possibly be love, and TO LOVE is the number one commandment: to love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Mike Edwards said...

Stephie

Do you think that homosexual behavior is wrong in the eyes of God?

minor tough said...

I'm so sad for rye. If I lived in california i can say that would have be against prop 8.

However, Stephy I'm so glad that you are being a voice for christians who have brains and hearts. I could not have expressed my thoughts on gay marriage as articulately nor as succinctly as you did. I just want to stand up this is very small corner of the worldwide web and say I completely agree with Stephy.

I've got to say as a christian one of the most convincing perspectives is the one Kate highlighted. I watched Morgan Spurlock's show "30 Days" religiously (this is the only use of this horrible word) and this exact issue was dealt with sometime in season 1. A christian basically had to go live in SF, with a gay roomate, for 30 days to see how his stance changes. Anyhow, this close minded dude is resistant the entire show until he talks to father of a daughter who is lesbian. And his father points out that as a parent you want your kids to be on level footing with everyone else. The Dad cried and you could see this closed minded christian's heart literally break on screen. He changed his stance in that moment.

Anyhow, I'm glad to know you Stephy and I'm glad you can be the voice us less eloquent christians.

minor tough said...

Mike- I can see where you are going with this question and I'll save Stephy the effort.

I think think the Bible clearly
states that homosexuality is a sin. However, I don't see that it is the church's job to spend it's resources to impose these beliefs in the form of laws that apply to believers and non-believers alike.
What we are talking about here is equality. A gay person is told they don't have the same rights as every other person in the US. So how is this sin so much more aggresious that it removes the rights of a person to save taxes and share healthcare benefits (the primary benefits in the state's eyes of marriage)? I just don't see it.

We are talking about the government and church here. Two entirely separate entities. I don't see how the government can make that case that they deserve less rights than a heterosexual couple.

Just my two cents.

stephy said...

I like what you said, minor tough.

Mike Edwards,I'm pretty sad that after you read that entry and read Shane, Kate & Rye's stories that you would ask that question. Whether something is a sin or not, where christian culture completely misses the boat is when they try to enforce 'good behavior' upon people. Judgement is God's job. Jesus clearly said ours is to love.

Mike Edwards said...

Stephy

I asked out of genuine curiosity--I couldn't tell, reading your post and being a professing Christian, whether or not you held the position of homosexual behavior being sinful or not. I was just curios. I appreciate the notion of loving others, regardless of the sin they struggle with (greed, lying, etc. are all equally detestable in terms of righteousness). Perhaps I should have just asked on email rather than the comments. It was just an honest question, not one to bate anyone with or to take the conversation in another direction.

I don't think I would say "Christian Culture" as if only one existed. I don't think it's monolithic and doesn't deserve any more or less broad sweeping descriptions than any other sub-culture that exists in the world.

So--Minor Tough--you assumed where I was going. I wasn't trying to take this anywhere. It really was just a question. I don't believe it is my job to judge those outside my believing community.

Sorry if I stirred something up. I didn't mean to. Stephy, I can appreciate those stories and still ask an honest question. It doesn't mean I'm any less compelled to love others out of the overflow of God's love and grace to me--a person just as wretched as the next guy or gal.

stephy said...

Aww Mike, I'm sorry. I read it like it was a leading question and I assumed I knew your motives were in asking it, and that you even had motives. I can definitely appreciate an honest question. I'll be happy to email with you about it, sorry I read into it more than you meant.

gaypet said...

It seems to me that this "what Christians think about Gay Marriage" question depends on what kind of god they believe in. If god is vengeful and gets off sending people to hell then one would certainly not want to appear to approve of sin. If god is loving and generally really wants people to care about each other then it shouldn't matter who get married and the separation of church and state comes into play. One of the problems here is that both gods are in the bible. I think that the people who piss me off the most are the ones who SAY that god is love and still want to legislate morality. Of course that is all from my non-believing-on-the-way-to-hell perspective. I do have a little experience with the Christian community though. Many of the hateful kind of Christians don't believe that you peace-love-and-understanding types are going to be saved either so we are in the same boat there. :)

Oh and Kate, I am sorry for your pain. Being rejected by parents is one of the worst, most destructive things that can happen to a persons self image. Good for you for hanging in there and surviving it! Power to the wicked, I say. ;)

Chris Magnuson said...

I'm just pissed that I can't marry Johnny Depp and Kendra can't marry Angelina... but, serioously... I think the more "we" continue to spread the love of all people the better chance "we" have of ending this useless bigotry, hate and the stifling of people's rights.

the nibbling marmot said...

Dear Stephy,
I think if there were more christians of your caliber, the world would be a better place.
Love,
Beth

Snap to it! Sanp in time! said...

Stephy, you're a wonderful person (yet one who doesn't express your thoughts so that people say this kind of thing). So, when you divert yet another person suffering from pulmonary edema away from your coffee table and shout, "I'm a MESS!", then say to yourself, "no, I'm not."