One More Note on Modern Civil Rights

January 11, 2009

What follows is a cleaned-up version of a response I gave to another persons blog.  It will be the last note on this subject I will post for awhile.
*I feel it the gay rights struggle is the civil rights struggle of our time. I know there are some minorities who don’t like to equate it as such, but groups that have been persecuted do sometimes pass that persecution on to another denigrated group once their group is a bit more accepted. Not all of them, and many of the ones that do don’t always do it consciously, but it does happen. Spike Lee’s excellent “Do the Right Thing” explored how minorities fall back on the ignorance that is prejudice just like the majorities do. But the fact remains–people are born colors other than white. Somewhere in the vicinity of 10 percent of the populations is born gay. Neither those of various skin colors nor those with homosexual orientation are less, bad, wrong, sick, sinful or damaged due to their “differences.”

*Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. He did disparage heterosexual divorce and he did always speak up for the outsiders, the downtrodden and the “minorities.” Now, admittedly just because he didn’t mention the issue doesn’t mean he necessarily approved of it. But it is safe to say that homosexuality didn’t reach the top of the sins Christ considered the worst. As for Christianity’s founder, Paul, many scholars claim his message to be one of equality and progress, and those same scholars claim later letters attributed to Paul were really written by people trying to subvert the subversive back into traditionalism. Most of us have heard the debates regarding the particular Bible verses that concern homosexuality so I won’t rehash those here, but I will say that the Bible was written at a time and in a place that did not understand the cause of homosexuality. Today every medical, sociological and psychological expert will tell you homosexuality is natural, at least somewhat heavily influenced by biology, and dangerous to try and “cure.” The people in Biblical times generally only saw/heard of homosexuality in regards to a power issue (soldiers raping the conquered as a sign of superiority), lewd orgies, and temple prostitution. Real, monogamous, faithful “out of the closet” relationships weren’t the norm, were not common and even where they were in the spotlight they were part of a “lax” sexual philosophy.

*In progressive evangelical’s somewhat spokesperson Tony Campalo’s chapter on homosexuality in “Adventures in Missing the Point,” he recounts a childhood incident in which he didn’t help a gay classmate when that classmate was beaten and urinated on. That boy later committed suicide and Compalo says he is still devastated to this day that he did not speak up or help the boy. He goes on to say it is Christian’s jobs to love and help gays, to be nice and work for their safety and care. He says he believes homosexuality is not a choice. He goes on to say that since orientation is not a choice, acting on such urges is and suggests that evangelical gays practice celibacy. He even suggests partnerships in which gays live together and share in relationships minus the sex and physicality, or in groups that strengthen to fight each others urges. Now, up to that he had me. But is it fair to insist all Christian gays fight their natural sexual desires their entire adult lives and never have a committed monogamous relationship? Why can’t homosexual relationships be judged by the same standards that heterosexual relationships are judged by?

*To sum it up:
What kind of God would create ten percent of the population to be by their very nature something that is sinful? What kind of God would add that much baggage to a person, so that for the rest of their lives if they want to be holy they have to strip themselves of all of their biological urges? The answer: a somewhat sadistic God. I believe in a loving, compassionate, life affirming and transcendent God who views us all with equality and compassion, who seeks to instill in us a desire to transform the darkness into light and to bring about justice and usher in the kingdom of God in our lives and in others. I do not think homosexuality can be fairly or accurately compared to bestiality, child molestation or drug addiction (all things that people can be predisposed to). Those activities are far rarer and far more dangerous. Those activities involve hurt, harm and denigration (of animals, children, etc). Those activities have much more an element of choice in them (whether to initially start using drugs, etc.). Homosexuality is NOT the same. By continuing to view homosexuality as a “lifestyle of sin,” many churches effectively close their doors to an entire group of people, many of whom want a relationship with God, want to work in positive service, want the fellowship church has to offer. By saying they must change who they are in their very essence excludes them and Christ and the Kingdom of God is all about inclusion. Furthermore, by barring Gay marriage we deny a group of people access to one of the highest and holiest sacraments the church has to offer as well as the best way to bind a loving couple in monogamy.
As discussed when I was speaking with a Priest friend of mine, he pointed out that my generation doesn’t have the same hang-ups and double feelings on this issue as previous one. I feel the change will come about when my and the following few generations stand up and do something about it and the older generations phase out. We’ve all grown up knowing openly gay people, and we know they’re just like the rest of us–some good, some not so nice. Some faithful and sexually conservative, some promiscuous. Change will come, someday.
My two cents.

*Coming up:  An article on Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” as part of “10 Great Examples of Comic Literature” and an article about Stephen King‘s new “Just After Sunset” collection as well as his entire career.

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One Response to “One More Note on Modern Civil Rights”

  1. David Gilkey said

    I agree with you on the ideas of rights, and most everything. Although I do think it is hard to exclude the notion of how strong a relationship is between a man and a woman. Not to say that a relationship between two men or two women cannot be strong also, but there is something almost mystic about the connection between men and women; Something deeply natural. I think that sex is a big part of how people view the topic. Because sex is, at it’s origins, one of the most holy, and deeply binding act that humans have. The male and the female fit together. I believe many people find it hard to accept homosexual SEX as part of that holiness because it is based more on pleasure itself, than coming together. I think it depends on the couple. Many heterosexual couples view sex as not much more than pleasure. And many homosexual couples see it as coming together. So it realy depends on the coulpe, and not the gender.

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