Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Gays and Religion
todays discussion is brought to you via a recent Youtube video of our Yosemite camping trip in which Tom, aka Fruityteen09 appears onscreen wearing a cross around his neck. For which a commentor immediately picked that detail out...ignoring his shirtless dive into the icy stream behind our campground...and proceeded to berate him as ignorant for wearing it. My question is....Why? Video after the jump:
I have no wish to return an unkindness for an unkindness. I believe that what you do...or do not believe is very personal to each individual and that we have no right to look down on each other for such. The question that I wish to address is: why exactly must gay people shun religion to be considered good gays?
No one can argue that religion has done some horrible things in history. However, in looking through the lense of the past the focus remains mainly on Christianity so its to that tradition that I will refer considering it is where I come from. Christianity has given us the inquisition, the crusades, centuries of intolerance of gays and lesbians as well as those of other races and creeds. In the modern day it gives us Promise rings, abstinance only sex education, pedophilia cover ups and a multitude of other wrongs. But then again...so have many other things.
Since scientists first split the atom they came the realization that the world was forever changed. Immediately came the foreboding that this incredible energy source could be harnessed as a weapon...and sure enough it was. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as testiments to the horrible things that nuclear energy can do....and yet everyday nuclear plants continue to provide electricity to a good portion of the worlds homes. Yet no one cries out. Why is that? Is the raw force that is released when an atoms bonds are broken somehow inherently wrong? In the sense that it leaves toxic byproducts perhaps....but haven't taken the same energy and put it to two wildly different uses?
Even a common flathead screwdriver....Its use is seen in nearly every home that needs to hang a picture or pry the top off a paint can. It can also be sharpened for use as a knife. Are all screwdrivers now to be banned?
In my opinion...religion..or lack thereof can be used in the same manner. What for one is a source of comfort...for another may be a fairy tale...and another a source of torment. George Allen Rekers used his faith to justify his self-hatred and internalized homophobia. Through these internal forces he helped pass a ban on gay adoptions in the state of Florida...and then also sought out gay encounters on the side. Conversely, Mother Teresa comes from the same faith that gave us the inquistion, yet she gave up her life to helping the poor in Calcutta. The suffering she encountered affected her so deeply that it made her question her faith. After all, how could a loving GOD allow such misery to happen? Yet she persevered in her cause...perhaps because of her faith..and mayby in spite of it. How many peoples lives where positively impacted because she carried with what she believed to be the core ideals of her religion? Two different people...similar faiths...very different effects on the world.
So..returning this converstation back to the gay community...no one will argue that religion is used most often as the reason why gays are left standing outside societies doorstep. A handfull of passages labling us as "abominations" continue to be used to justify why we should never have a place at the collective table. Some of us become so hurt by this we reject it in return...others chose to see it as a relic of a byegone time...thats understandable...I can never condemn someone for coming to that conclusion given the history of gays and Christianity...but just because we read the Bible in a litteral sense and draw our conclusions from that...does that make it true? Are we so secure in our understanding that we stop there? The Bible has changed over time, does that mean it is without value as anything other than a view into an ancient culture? Not just for gay people, but for anyone?
Not from my point of view...while I acknowledge that others will have a different take on this. For me the core of the Bible wass always about an evolving relationship with GOD that did not end with its last page. If that were so, than perhaps we should includ the other "abominations" listed in Leviticus when tossing about the condemnations...yet we conveniently overlook those. We overlook the the changing morals of history that the Bible describes in our literal interperatation of it. We look on as barbarity such things as slavery, animal sacrifice, incest and a host of other actions. We have changed our attitudes about these actions partially because of our changing understanding of the bible and also because of human reason. Yet homosexuality can not be seen through the same evolving lens?
I maintain that the core of Christianity as I was taught it was "Love GOD with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself". Beyond those basic actions all of us will be at a loss to know what will happen to us at the end of our lives unless you have been their and returned to tell the tale.
In addition...I believe that what I feel for my partner is love..honest, genuine, true love. If one of the attrubutes of GOD is that he IS love then how is the love I express for my husband separate? I don't believe it is which leads me to believe that our understanding of Christianity and its scriptures is still incomplete and evolving.
To those who would say that you CANNOT be gay and have spiritual beliefs I would say..."sorry...still gay and I still believe GOD made me that way." Also... Lack of belief for whatever reason can itself be used by controlling people as a method of coercing others who don't share that same point of view to believe as they do. How is that palpably different from force-feeding people Christianity?
So Let that young man have his cross and I my spiritual beliefs and in turn you deserve the respect of your own point of view....none of that should make you a bad gay any more than being gay itself should put you outside the realm of GODs creation. We must acknowledge the fingerprints of humanity on both and dig a little deeper to find our common respect for each other as human beings making our way through the unexplainable mystery of life......Just my two cents...
until next time...