Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Conservative Christian's Guide to Not Sucking: Gay Edition

Okay. Here’s the deal. We’re not talking about whether it’s right or wrong. That’s completely irrelevant to this issue, okay? Here are the rules. If homosexuality is a sin, you are allowed to disapprove of it to the exact same degree that you disapprove of divorce, premarital sex, and any other sins of that type. Would you kick a divorced man out of your church? If a woman was killed while spending the night at her boyfriend’s house, would you say she deserved it because she shouldn’t have stayed over in the first place?

If your answer is yes, please take a moment to come to terms with the fact that you are scum. If your answer is no, congratulations. You have completed step one of being a Decent Human Being.

I read a story once—Grimm Brothers—called The Three Green Twigs. In this story, a hermit sees a man being led to the gallows, and has the passing thought that the man is getting what he deserves. God sends him a message, and as penance, the hermit spends the rest of his life begging from door to door, never staying more than one night in one place, carrying a dry branch until it comes alive and sprouts green twigs. He dies the night it sprouts.

The Grimm Brothers’ version of God needs to chill, as evidenced by many, many other stories, but I’ve always found this a good illustration of the instruction “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I remember being in tenth grade humanities, watching a fight unfold between a dozen kids about whether or not all sins were equal in the eyes of God. And I think what I contributed to the conversation was that regardless of where God comes down on the issue, humans aren’t going to treat all sins as equal—obviously you can’t punish a serial killer the same way you would a kid who stole a candy bar. 

But there is absolutely no way to justify not treating all of the sexual sins as equal. (With the exception of adultery, which actually hurts other people, and rape, which I put in the same category as murder in terms of how despicable it is, except for the fact that you can kill someone in self defense, and there is never, ever any way to justify rape at all, but I’m getting off topic.)

If you wouldn’t tell your recently divorced aunt she’s going to hell, how dare you say that to a teenager holding hands with another girl? Seriously. What is wrong with you?

I once told someone very important to me what I’d read about the shooting at that Florida gay club—how the youngest victim had just finished high school the week before, how she’d gotten into such a good college, how she had so much life ahead of her, and now she was dead. The response? “She shouldn’t have been there.”

This was a few years ago, and we never talked about it again, and I don’t think about it much—I doubt she even remembers saying it. But every once in a while, those words will float through my head, and I’ll wonder. Would you love me if. Would you mourn me if I died and I was gay? Was it because she was gay that you said that? Was it because she was in a club, probably drinking underage? If I died drunk would you be sad? If I died in a club? If I died in love with someone you didn’t approve of? How much do you love me? Where do you draw the line?

Judge not, lest ye be judged by God. Judge not, lest ye be judged unworthy of your loved ones’ trust.

I don’t care if homosexuality is a sin or not. The people in my life are arguing constantly about it—my conservative family, my liberal classmates. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Your job as a Christian is to love people. Your job is to be there for them. And you don’t hurt the people you love.

I’ve seen Christians forgive rapists and murderers more easily than gay men. Is it because, if you’re interacting with the murderers and rapists, presumably they’ve repented, where the gay man hasn’t? Does it matter? No sin get treated like this. No children kill themselves over the bullying when they cheat on a test. No people are murdered in alleys for robbing a grocery store.

If you think quietly and privately that homosexuality is a sin, just like lying and skipping church and having kids out of wedlock, cool. That’s alright. But if you treat it the way—let’s be real—most conservative Christians treat it, you’re a bigot, and I bet God is ashamed of you.

Maybe you’re older, and your friends are older, and more likely to be conservative, so you don’t know. But I’m twenty four. That means I’m surrounded every day by extremely liberal peers, and they talk about this stuff. All the time. I can’t remember the last time I went an entire week without reading a news article about a teenager committing suicide over sexuality. This is the world you helped create.

So get over yourselves, treat gay people like you treat other people—hello, Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do to you—and remember. For every nasty, careless thing you say, someone you love is wondering, would you love me if?

You don’t get to judge. And if you can’t love people the way God loves people, regardless of everything, what is the point of you? Kids are dying over this. Try not to suck.

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