A number of you have sent me this article as a wonderful example of a Christian getting it right when it comes to homosexuality, adding that we ought to give credit where it’s due.
My friend [Jacob] hesitated. “Dan, you are the only friend I have that knows I’m gay. The only freaking one,” he said.
“What do you mean? I know you’ve told other friends.”
That’s when his voice cracked. He began crying.
“Every single person I’ve told has ditched me. They just disappear. They stop calling. They remove me on Facebook. They’re just gone,” he said. “They can’t handle knowing and being friends with a gay person.”
I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t say anything.
“You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”
How do you respond to that?
I wanted to tell him it was all in his head. I knew it wasn’t. I wanted to tell him it would get better and easier. The words would have been hollow and without conviction, and I knew it.
You see, I live in this community too. And I’ve heard the hate. I’ve heard the disgust. I’ve heard the disdain. I’ve heard the gossip. I’ve heard the distrust. I’ve heard the anger. I’ve heard it all, and I’ve heard it tucked and disguised neatly beneath a wrapper of self-righteousness and a blanket of “caring” or “religious” words. I’ve heard it more times than I care to number.
Hell, in the past (and to some degree in the present) I participated in it. I propagated it. I smugly took part in it. I’ll admit that.
And I did so under the blanketing term “Christian.” I did so believing that my actions were somehow justified because of my beliefs at the time. I did so, actually believing that such appointments were done out of… love.
It sounds pretty powerful so far… As you read on, you get the feeling that Dan gets it. He gets how Christians, despite their best intentions, have only managed to make things worse for gay people.
At least that’s what I gather from the thousands of comments left on that post.
As much as I want to, though, I’m not captivated by this guy.
Maybe it’s his writing style.
Maybe it’s the fact that I have to click on three separate pages to read one post.
Maybe it’s because Dan falls into a trap so many well-intentioned Christians have stumbled upon before him.
Even though he talks about how we all need to sing Kumbaya and hold hands and love each other, he never gets to the heart of the biggest issues.
Most mainstream Christians have no problem “loving” gay people. They oppose physical or verbal abuse against gay people. They don’t mind protection against discrimination for gay people in the workplace.
But all too often, these same people refuse to say gay people have a right to get married. They refuse to say that homosexuality isn’t a sin. They won’t admit being gay isn’t a choice. They think you can be gay… as long as you’re forever abstinent. They think you can be cured of your homosexuality, as if it’s some sort of disease.
The Christians who are more savvy about it never wade into those issues at all. They avoid discussing them altogether. That’s what Dan does. He toes the party line to keep everyone happy and ends up not saying anything at all.
I’m not here to say homosexuality is a sin or isn’t a sin. To be honest, I don’t give a rip. I don’t care. I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s natural or genetic. Again, I… don’t… care. Those debates hold no encumbrance for me.
You don’t care, but the rest of us do. Christians treat homosexuality as a sin worse than many others, and because of that, they vote against marriage equality and elect representatives who stop same-sex couples from being able to adopt children.
Jacob is a dear friend. He’s my brother. He’s a damn good human being. He’s absolutely incredible.
He’s also gay.
But why does that make any difference at all?
It doesn’t. Not to me.
That’s nice. But don’t pretend that it’s a big deal when it’s not. It’s only a decent start.
Dan also thinks religion isn’t part of the problem:
In truth, having a religion doesn’t make a person love or not love others. It doesn’t make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn’t make a person befriend or not befriend others.
No, but it’ll make a person think an ancient book with sloppy moral teachings has more wisdom in it than anyone who speaks to common sense and human dignity. Why do Christians have such a hard time accepting homosexuality? Because some incompetent pastor told them the Bible doesn’t approve of it.
Look: It’s easy to say we should all love each other. Of course we should.
It’s easy to apologize “on behalf of the Christian community” for the way it has treated gay people.
But it takes courage to tell fellow Christians that they’re wrong about their beliefs and they need to fix them. It takes courage to be that change.
That’s why I’m inspired by atheists and liberal theists who go out of their way to fight for equal rights. We don’t stop at being nice. We won’t be satisfied until the LGBT crowd has the same rights and privileges as straight people.
The problem with Christians when it comes to homosexuality isn’t that too many of them act like members of Westboro Baptist Church with their “God Hates Fags” signs. The problem is that too many of the “good Christians” refuse to support same-sex rights like we do.
Do I appreciate Dan’s post? Sure. I wish more Christians could act that way. But let’s not go overboard. When he actually does something to show us that he’s not just talk and he’s willing to take serious action to make up for what he and other Christians have done up till now, then we can take him more seriously. Not yet, though.