While I continue to collect stories of accomplished, amazing women who are proud of what they have done, I’m going to write about other things. (And if you haven’t read yesterday’s post or the comments, please do. Good stuff is happening there.)
Today, I finally had the chance to catch up with some blogs that I’ve been neglecting. Over at Registered Runaway’s blog, I read this post (and the ones preceding it; be sure to read all 4 parts). It made me sad. Then it made me angry. I still don’t understand why the way Aibird, the writer, was treated is allowed to continue.
I’ve had Christian friends try to tell me that no one still acts that way–or at least, Christians don’t. I’ve heard the arguments that anyone threatening “curative rape” isn’t a real Christian anyway. And yet, here is a woman telling her story, including receiving death threats from people professing to be Christians.
We can’t ignore the parts of the Church (worldwide) that hold hateful attitudes. They are as much a part of us as any other Christian. But that’s not actually the thing that bothers me most. It’s the fact that we’ve chosen–as the rest of the Body–not to fight them. I can’t help thinking that it’s because deep down, many Christians agree with the underlying beliefs, even if they don’t agree that picketing and threatening and even attempts at curing are the right answer.
It’s not enough anymore. I have never been of the mind that it’s okay to live somewhere halfway between being an ally and being an enemy. I’m not entirely a black-and-white thinker. I’m open to having lots of grey and wrestling with that tension. I’m willing to talk about what it means to have a healthy sexual ethic or whether it’s okay for Christians to watch violent movies or if tattoos and swearing are acceptable. We may never agree on any of those things, and that’s okay.
What I’m not okay with is fence-sitting when it comes to personhood and equality.
Too many people have come to the conclusion that they can rest comfortably with the belief that they may not “agree with the homosexual lifestyle” though they would never insist on anyone trying to be “cured.” There are far too many places where we’ve done what we seem to think is a kinder, gentler version of non-acceptance. The thing is, though, it’s still exactly that: non-acceptance. No more “But I have gay friends, and they know where I stand, and they are okay with that!” Are you sure? Because when I read stories like the one above, I get the impression that an awful lot of people aren’t actually okay with you disapproving of them, they just hide it well or have learned that it’s an off-limits topic if they don’t want to hear again about their sin. You personally may not be holding up a “God hates fags” sign, and you may not have threatened anyone with rape or death. You may not even have given anyone the phone number to a place where they can be “changed.” But if underneath it you still think they’re in sin, you hold the same beliefs as the people of ex-gay organizations and Westboro Baptist.
If you do call yourself both a Christian and an ally, then why not directly speak up against people who are doing active harm? I honestly can’t remember where I read it (or I’d link to it; maybe someone else can help me out here), but I recall reading about someone meeting with some people from Westboro Baptist and talking about how “nice” they were. Not that I want to paint anyone as evil and remove that person’s humanity, but I fail to see how “But they’re so nice!” is in any way helpful. I also don’t believe for a millisecond that there’s any use in simply leaving people to their own devices because everyone knows how hateful they are. If you really think these things are wrong, why not speak up about it? Not merely to your LGBTQ friends–who probably already know–but to the rest of the Christian community.
Things aren’t going to change. LGBTQ people are not going away, and they’re not going back into their closets. People who are Christians–whole denominations, in fact–have already become not just accepting but affirming. Laws are changing. Meanwhile, people are still being pressured and harmed. There’s no way to be somewhere in the middle anymore. That might have worked at one time, but that time has long since passed.
I already cast my vote. I know that to some people, I’m irredeemable. I’ve already been told–more than once–that I can’t call myself a Christian. I’ve been informed that I’m leading people in the wrong direction. Well, so what? I don’t consider that a big deal, and I think it’s worth it. (And let’s be honest, there are people I’m happy are out of my life because they can’t handle the fact that I’m an ally. Think of all the wonderful LGBTQ friends I’m sparing from having any interaction with them.)
I think I understand being genuinely unsure. I know there’s a transition between what we might have learned growing up or in some churches and a place of being an ally. I get that. But don’t sit there forever, and certainly don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. Don’t fake being in agreement with either side (or both). It isn’t fair to anyone, even yourselves. Take time, but make a choice–then do something about it.
If you want to know why I feel this sense of urgency (besides the immediate concern for individuals such as the woman whose story I linked above), then read this post. It’s not just about us, about our nation, anymore. And, like Registered Runaway says at the end of the post (though I disagree that no one is fighting here anymore),
And I’m beginning to think that instead of having a conversation, a culture war truce, with Fundamentalists and right wing Evangelicals, our work would be better focused on protecting the world from the wrath of these people. Despite the lament from many progressive evangelicals, the right wing is hardly fighting here anymore. They’ve moved on. They’re going after the rest of the world.
How do we stop this?