On the whole, I have been so incredibly encouraged by the outpouring of love that I have seen on Facebook. Like most gay men and women, I struggled with depression as I came to terms with my sexuality and as I came out. At the time, being true to myself also meant realizing that I would never have anything more than a temporary “partnership” with someone, never have kids, and would spend my life in the marginalized, discriminated-upon edges of society. This was compounded when I was sent to an Exodus International conference in California by my parents to justify their attempts to save me not from eternal damnation, but from society itself.
Yet here I am, years later, celebrating the previously unfathomable: nationwide marriage equality with the vast majority of my facebook friends. Yet I know that my Facebook feed is being filtered through my own selection bias: I am primarily only friends with people whom I know support something as integral to my personhood as my sexuality.
Now, that does not mean that my Facebook wall is without panicking Christians. I have seen many posts and heard many high-profile lawmakers and Republicans post things along the lines of “The Supreme Court made a mistake… they’re forcing me to accept something my religion tells me is wrong… I wonder how God feels about this… the only person we don’t care if we offend now is God… I love the sinner but not the sin… etc”
The best response I have seen to these people came from a straight, African-American friend of mine. It was along the lines of:
“I would NEVER say I love somebody, laugh with them, call them my friend, then say “but you don’t deserve the same rights as me!” Similar to “Oh I love my black friend but these Jim Crow laws are for her benefit. I love her as a person, but THEY aren’t equal”
But, I want to take that one step further with the warning that what follows may be a little uncomfortable to those not used to thinking critically about their place in America.
When you say “I love the sinner but I can’t support this sin” let me tell you what you are really saying behind that euphemism. You are saying, “Your relationship is not valid, and beyond that, your sexuality—something as important to me as the ring I wear daily on my finger— is not valid. What you call “homosexuality” is merely an excuse to indulge in an illegitimate temptation. I may love our friendship and your potential to be a Christian, but, you—as someone who is gay— are no better than a drunkard, a cheater, a prostitute, a liar, a murderer.”
And when you, my main-stream Christian friend, publically despair that the government is forcing you to accept gay marriage against your religious beliefs and that you are now a minority, I want you to realize something very important: you can’t use that argument without sounding like an immature child whose toy has been taken away. For centuries, Hindus on American soil have been forced to accept the slaughter of beef. Atheists have been forced to accept that Chick-Fil-A will not be open on Sunday, and Atheists who work for the government have been forced to observe Christmas and Easter. Jews have been forced to accept that they may have to work Saturday (the Shabbat). Jehovah Witnesses have been forced to accept birthday parties in public schools. Peace-Activists have been forced to accept that their tax dollars go to warfare. This list of the government “forcing acceptance” can go on, and on, and on, and on.
Let me tell you this, with all the Atheist compassion that I wish you felt in your religion… you’re on the wrong side of history, and in twenty years you will look as foolish as the Christians who used biblical arguments to prevent abolishing slavery, interracial marriage and women voters. You will be looked upon in the same light as the Christian lawmakers who raised the confederate flags on the state capitals in the South during the civil rights movement. Don’t let that be your legacy.
The ruling yesterday was not about the victory of the “anti-christian flag” over the church, but about granting equal legal rights between same-sex marriages and different-sex marriages. It was NOT about making churches consider them sacred—that is a fear that holds no water.
You don’t have to celebrate with us in the following days, but please don’t rain on our parade. We have had to deal with a pain and isolation that is unfathomable to the Christian majority; now is NOT the time to illegitimatize our sexuality or relationships. Rather, recognize that you can be a Christian and love your gay brethren enough that you can take joy in our joy in regards to this important milestone for the nation.
On a final note, if you are so disturbed that you cannot come to terms with the ruling yesterday, I think you need to spend less time examining the nation’s walk with Christ, and more time working on your own.