I had another post planned for today. It was written and scheduled. I have moved it because I feel that I need to address some things that were said to me this week.
I can take a lot. I spent many years in school being victimized by my peers; that doesn’t happen without leaving a person either heavily scarred or pretty tough or both. Don’t think I’m being thin-skinned here. I’m not against push-back on what I write, either, and I generally leave comments on my posts intact even if they’re not very nice. (I recently deleted a few for being racist, but that’s about it.) Still, every now and again, someone says something (or writes it, in this case) that hits a nerve.
Yesterday, I posted to my Facebook page several things that I was glad had happened during the election. Among them were the addition of 3 more States with marriage equality (and a fourth that prohibited a ban being added to the State Constitution); many women being elected into office, including various minorities; and the ousting of the politicians who made disturbing comments about rape.
In response, several things happened. First, I had lots of people commenting positively, both on Facebook and via private message. Second, I had a few people become curious about my views, since many Christians disagree with me. Third, I had some extremely judgmental comments left on my page. It was the last that grabbed my attention, because the negative was far more over-the-top than the positive.
My immediate reaction was to find it funny. I honestly thought it was a joke when one person suggested I must not be a Christian and offered to pray for me. I mean, who even says that? There had been enough sarcasm going around all day that I wouldn’t have been surprised. Sadly, it turned out to be genuine. I re-read the thread and decided that maybe when I responded to another person (who had thrown baby killing in there, even though I hadn’t said even one word about abortion) it had been confusing. I replied only about marriage equality, choosing to ignore the baby-killing remark; perhaps I had been misunderstood. That proved not to be the case either.
Still, I was trying to see the humor in the situation. My husband and I generated a list of the top 10 reasons why I’m probably going to burn eternally, and I suggested creating an online sign-up sheet so people could choose a time to pray for my soul. I even tweeted about it, joking about eating devil’s food cake and reading Harry Potter.
After some thought, though, I realized that calling me a non-Christian for my support of marriage equality is unwarranted. It’s not any other person’s job to determine whether I’m Christian enough. Not only that, I’m hardly alone in my beliefs. I didn’t develop my views in a vacuum.
I decided to sleep on it rather than responding with inappropriate actions or angry words. Morning brought a new perspective that I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t been considering. A little voice whispered to me, You’re not the one being hurt.
It’s true; I’m not. When it comes down to it, I can ignore the hurtful things and the judgment because in the end, I sit here in my place of privilege. It doesn’t bother me so much that one person said a hateful thing to me, because ten other people said loving things. It doesn’t bother me that one person made an accusation, because another friend send me a beautiful, gentle, and loving message (even though we don’t agree on the issue).
The people being hurt are my LGBT brothers and sisters. If I am accused of not “knowing the Lord” just for supporting marriage equality, how much more judgment does that person have on people in same-sex relationships? If I have Scripture thrown at me to show my error, how much more are my LGBT friends and family being beaten with the Bible? Someone like that is simply not a safe person.
I understand that many of my friends won’t be convinced to share my perspective on this; I will never again share theirs, either. But the unloving words don’t do anything to further relationships. It becomes all about speaking of people’s lives in the abstract and passing judgment on one another’s faith.
To my dear friends and family who replied to me via text or private message: I love and appreciate you. Your kind words meant a lot to me yesterday. I am glad that even though some of us don’t agree, we can still share together and learn from each other. For those who pray, let’s pray for each other that our friendship grows and that love grows. I think that’s something we can all agree on.
To those who called me a baby killer, made racist remarks, and suggested I’m not a Christian: I honestly don’t need you to pray for my eternal soul, thanks. I have a feeling your thoughtless and unkind words yesterday were fueled not by anything I did but by your bitterness over the election. I hope that your anger diminishes, but don’t count on having much of a relationship with me.
To my LGBT friends and family: Much love to you. You know where I stand, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m not going to back down—I will continue to stand with you. If it’s okay, I will pray for you to be surrounded by kind, generous people and to have loads more love in your lives. I’m blessed to know you.
May the coming weeks bring perspective for all of us that we might once again come to the table together, leaving all bitterness aside. Peace be with you all today.