Voices: Three personal testimonies

Three people sharing their stories. These are all worth reading in full.

Anderson Cooper:

While as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.

I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.

Kimberly Knight:

I want them to know that I deeply love Jesus, fully human and fully divine and I believe the way he lived, with whom he created community and the words he spoke are as important as the death he died and his ultimate triumph over death. None of this is negated by the fact that I also happen to love a woman and that my love might look a lot more like their own than they think. With all of a love’s ups and downs I still love it when her eyes meet mine from across a crowded room. I still I love it when she puts her arm around me in church. But unlike theirs, I am sad and tired of the reality that she is often unwilling to kiss me goodbye on our own front doorstep, just in case it’s not safe. It’s love and I am so thankful that God has given me the capacity and challenge to love in this way in this time and place.

Prolanbrothu (via Alise):

I’m sorry. I feel absolutely terrible about this. But I don’t want to do dialogue anymore. I don’t want to journey together or live life with you or work out some difficult answers. I’m tired of having to pray that God will soften my heart so that I can tolerate your bigotry more easily. Because every time I do any of those things at church, I end up getting hurt. And then when I say anything about it, it’s like, “Oh, we disagree, you just have to accept we disagree.” which is code for, “We know we’re hurting you, but there’s nothing we’re willing to do about it, so you’ll just have to put up with us.” Meanwhile, I’m trying not to cry my eyes out when I’m alone because I feel like I have no church I can go to like a normal person while everyone else is like, “Whoa, we’re on a cool journey together.” I’m not your fucking sherpa you can dump your veiled homophobia on while you feel good about yourself for attempting to climb up LGBT Mountain in some kind of fantastic journey. There’s a point in time where I have to say, no, I will not subject myself to this anymore. I mean … that point has to exist, doesn’t it?

 

  • Tonio

    As much as I admire Cooper’s courage, I’m always a little disappointed when a celebrity long rumored to be gay publicly confirms it. Why? Simply because I want to punish homophobes for making assumptions about orientation. These are the people who say they possess gaydar but in reality are wrongly treating homosexuality and nonconformance to gender expectations as the same thing. When Ellen DeGeneres and Clay Aiken came out, there were plenty of jerks who claimed to know it all the time. They’re the ones who make the fight for inclusion and acceptance necessary at all.

  • Lori

    I’m not your fucking sherpa you can dump your veiled homophobia on while
    you feel good about yourself for attempting to climb up LGBT Mountain
    in some kind of fantastic journey. 

    I’m horrible sad for the pain that inspired it, but this is a fabulous line.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You know, a lot of people have said, about Cooper, that it came as no surprise and that it was “pretty obvious”. But my feelings are slightly different. 

    I wasn’t surprised when Anderson Cooper made his sexual orientation public. But neither was I “unsurprised”. As it turns out, I had absolutely no preconceived idea as to Anderson Cooper’s sexual orientation. It would have been no more surprising if he were to announce that he was getting married to a woman. I had just never bothered to tag my mental image of Cooper as having one sexuality or another. 

    Which I think is pretty cool in itself.

  • Lori

    I’ve know for years that Anderson Cooper is gay, not because of “gaydar” but because I have gay friends and keep up with news from the GLBT community and he’s been openly talked about in “the family” for a long time. As he said, he was never closeted in his personal life. I even know one person who is casually antiquated with Cooper and his SO. (AFAIK they’re still together.)

    The same thing is true with some other not really closeted, but not officially out celebrities. Queen Latifah comes to mind.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Lori: TBQH I kind of caught a bit of a “he’s gay” vibe off him for a long time. Not sure exactly why, but I think QUILTBAG people, even when ‘passing’ as straight tend to show a bit more of a sensitivity to people who aren’t in the halls of power of privilege, and it comes across in ways big and small. I couldn’t point to any specific examples unfortunately, but I’m sure if I went back and dug through I could find things he said or did that made me twig to it.

    I’m tired of having to pray that God will soften my heart so that I can tolerate your bigotry more easily.

    This atheist’s response?

    Then don’t.

    Stop asking your God to make you bear the burdens of someone else’s bigotry. Being your brother’s (sister’s) keeper stops being an obligation the moment that obligation requires you to tolerate bad behavior. You’re not required to hold yourself to account for a being whose hypothetical existence makes you feel lousy about yourself.

    Being on the side of the powerless does not mean excusing those who would claim themselves to be such while showing their true colors elsewhere.

  • Lori

     

    I couldn’t point to any specific examples unfortunately, but I’m sure if
    I went back and dug through I could find things he said or did that
    made me twig to it.  

    I think his Katrina coverage probably qualifies.

    There was also at least one time that he basically let it slip on air.  He was interviewing some Right wing bigot about restricting GLBTQ rights and in frustration said, “We pay taxes too”.

    As he said, he wasn’t really all the “in”, which is why relatively few people are surprised by him coming out.

  • SisterCoyote

     No offense, but as an atheist, it seems off for you to be telling someone else how to pray. Especially: You’re not required to hold yourself to account for a being whose hypothetical existence makes you feel lousy about yourself.

    Come on, dude. A little respect, please?

    Asking for God’s strength to help us bear burdens of the day – such as, for example, bigotry and hurt and hate – is sorta, for me, somewhere between “Give us this day our daily bread” and “…as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

    Praying for the strength of spirit and heart to not hate someone for their ignorant bigotry is not… wrong. And, as someone who has to make that prayer on a regular basis, your “Why can’t you just let go of all that?” comes off as really aggressive, and kinda sorta attacking.

    I have a Catholic friend who wrote, a while back, that sometimes responses to her complaints about the church were starting to drive her up the wall – every time she went “Argh, why are they still doing this hurtful/stupid/bigoted thing?” the response was “Why not just stop believing/going?” She compared it to a relationship, in which every time you voice a complaint about your partner, the response is “Just leave them! Come ON!”

    It gets tiresome.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve weirded out, and sometimes insulted, by making it clear that I had no preconceived idea as to their sexual orientation.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > It gets tiresome.

    Yah, I can appreciate that.

    An only vaguely related anecdote.

    About 15 years ago or so, a very dear friend of mine began a relationship with a man of whom I did not approve. I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to put her in the position your friend describes. When I socialized with her I invited him, despite not enjoying his company; when she would complain about him, I was careful to avoid expressing my own beliefs and simply ask her questions so she could clarify her. After a couple of years of this, she asked me what I thought of him, and I told her that I didn’t like him and didn’t think he was good for her, and she looked surprised and thanked me for my honesty. They continued to date for years after that, and I continued to treat him decently for her sake.

    After they’d been together for ten years, they broke up in a spectacularly unpleasant fashion, and I helped her deal with that. And at one point, the opportunity arose where I could tell her that I thought she was better off without him, and I’d always thought she’d be better off without him, and I had told her as much years earlier. And she looked surprised and allowed that yes, I had. The impression I got was that she hadn’t realized I’d continued to feel that way.

    I’m still not sure if there was a better way for me to handle that.

    I know a lot of people who have relationships with God of which I do not approve, who worship a God I do not like and whom I don’t think is good for them.

    I handle it roughly the same way.

    I’m not sure if there’s a better way for me to handle that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Praying for the strength of spirit and heart to not hate someone for
    their ignorant bigotry is not… wrong. And, as someone who has to make
    that prayer on a regular basis, your “Why can’t you just let go of all
    that?” comes off as really aggressive, and kinda sorta attacking.

    People in the guise of the same faith as you who use the same doctrinal source material as you who use it, and their position of power within your faith or its close analogs, to dump a load of crap all over minorities and QUILTBAG people are somehow less “aggressive” and “attacking” than me, one person who’s not even in the same faith?

    Why do you seem to believe that questioning the requirement to endure indignities and trials is more wrong than the fact that people want to inflict them on you in the first place?

  • Emcee, cubed

    Praying for the strength of spirit and heart to not hate someone for their ignorant bigotry is not… wrong.

    No, it isn’t wrong, but it certainly isn’t required, either. There tends to be a belief held by both oppressor and the oppressed, that the oppressed are supposed to take the high road, and forgive the people who have (and are continuing to) hurt them. And if they don’t, they are Bad People. This is untrue, and often leads to a continuation or repetition of abuse. The truth is that the abusers are the bad people, and there is no reason to forgive them unless they show actual atonement – not just empty platitudes like “You just have to accept that we disagree.” (and even then, forgiving them is a choice, not a requirement.) And keeping that silverware in the drawer doesn’t mean one has to give up one’s faith.

  • Dan Audy

    I have to admit that I was a little thrilled at one point when I met some of my wife’s co-workers and they were all SHOCKED to discover I was a man.  My wife always referred to me as ‘her partner’ and pronounced my name, Daniel, in the french style (since I’m french-canadian) which most people associate with being a female name.  They had assumed from this that she was a lesbian and until this occured she hadn’t realised that it could be interpreted that way.  In the end they decided that I was still a ‘very nice girl’ for her even if I had the flaw of being a man.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     I’d leave my partner if I’d found they had either sexually abused a child or helped cover such an incident up.

  • LMM22

    Simply because I want to punish homophobes for making assumptions about orientation. These are the people who say they possess gaydar but in reality are wrongly treating homosexuality and nonconformance to gender expectations as the same thing. 

    Didn’t Fred just link to “Jackie at the Crossroads”? Being disappointed at the truth because you want to punish someone is just beyond me.

    (For the record, has anyone *actually* done a study about whether or not gaydar works better than chance? I mean, in some ways, it sounds implausible — but there’s *massive* evidence that Victorian men were essentially incapable of determining biological sex from a person’s facial structure. (*))

    (*) This, FWIW, is why a lot of women were able to enlist in army regiments without getting caught. A book I read on it includes — among other photos — a plate with the caption: “An unknown regiment. The person in the middle looks like a woman.” Okay, you think — but, sure enough, that person in the middle is almost *certainly* female.

  • friendly reader

    I really liked Anderson Cooper’s thoughtgul “coming out” email for a number of reasons, but I also found this response as equally interesting and thoughtful.

    Anyway, the reason why everyone “knew” Anderson Cooper was gay is because, no, he hasn’t exactly hid it, at least in terms of socializing. And I do think he has taken a stand on the issue on his show. He heavily covered bullying of gay teens, goes after bigots in interviews, ran the “Sissy Boy Experiment” special, and even corrected that one guy on twitter just a week ago.

    And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with taking a stand when people are bullying others and spreading lies about them? Didn’t Edward R. Murrow do the same thing with McCarthy? It’s not an “agenda,” it’s just principles.

  • LMM22

    That being said, I’m not thinking of the kind of people who would fall under “men who have sex with men” or “women who have sex with women” who proceed to then viciously attack QUILTBAG people in order to toady up to those who revel in that sort of hatred.

    I’m calling “no true Scottsman” and upping it by pointing out that James Buchanan, the US President who essentially started the Civil War, was gay. He didn’t even try to hide his relationship. His partner was a slave owner.

    Also, saying “gay individuals (*) tend to show a bit more of a sensitivity to people who aren’t in the halls of power of privilege” is insulting to everyone, gay and straight. (I am absolutely positive that the LGBT community is not as good at intersectionality as that might imply — I’ve heard lesbians complain about it, for one thing — nor that everyone else is as bad at it.) In Anderson’s case, you’re essentially implying that everyone who is even marginally left-of-center has to be actively non-heterosexual. (Is Michael Moore a QUILTBAG? Is Ed Schultz or Keith Olbermann or most of the other left-wing figures?)

    (*) QUILTBAGs here taken literally is inappropriate: if it were true, one might as well assume Anderson were asexual or bi.

  • LMM22

    I think his Katrina coverage probably qualifies.

    Did you *watch* the news coverage during Katrina? The FOX newscasters they sent down to cover the disaster got into fights on air with anchors at the stations who wanted to pretend that the problem was the lack of law enforcement.

    Pretending that gay people — by virtue of being gay — are more sensitive towards other people who aren’t in power is just a way of trying to glorify a particular kind of identity politics.

  • friendly reader

    Also, for what it’s worth, the “we pay taxes” clip wasn’t the clip but the transcript. People who went back and listened to it (even people who rather wanted to out Cooper) had to admit he said “you.” CNN’s transcriber committed a bit of a Freudian slip, apparently. If anyone can find the clip to see for oneself, please link me because it’s not on Youtube as near as I can tell.

  • Tonio

    Here’s the Jackie column: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2010/09/19/jackie-at-the-crossroads/

    I’m not sure what relevance it has to my point. I don’t want people like Cooper to be straight, I just want what might be called a rhetorical weapon against homophobes to shame them. Or some way to make them realize how hateful they are. While true gaydar may exist, the people I’m talking about are simply operating from cruel assumptions about gender norms, different versions of “if you don’t have a brewski in your hand, you might as well be wearing a dress.” They’re mocking anyone who doesn’t conform to those norms, and I hate seeing anyone being laughed at when he or she doesn’t wish to be.

  • friendly reader

    I agree with you about stereotypes and gaydar, but with Cooper it isn’t gaydar; it’s the fact that he has repeatedly appeared at gay social events in New York with his boyfriend. It’s that everyone who knows him personally knew he was gay. It’s that he’s been in what’s called a “glass closet,” i.e. out with everyone you actually care about but not in the public arena. It’s a privilege a lot of celebrities get.

    All that has changed is that now, in interviews, he will talk about it. He’s (finally) been persuaded it’s important to “stand up and be counted,” even if he feels it bears no relevance to his work as a reporter and if it might hurt his career – as in, there are countries where being openly gay can get you and the people around you into a lot of trouble, not that CNN will fire him. I hope this doesn’t change anyone’s opinions about him. I’ve always liked Cooper, even if his show can get a bit silly at times… maybe even because it can get a bit silly at times.

  • Tonio

     

    it’s the fact that he has repeatedly appeared at gay social events in New York with his boyfriend. It’s that everyone who knows him personally knew he was gay.

    While you’re right, I doubt that the homophobes I’m talking about knew all that.

  • LMM22

    I just want what might be called a rhetorical weapon against homophobes to shame them.

    Yes. Wanting other people to be your personal rhetorical weapons just so that you can prove a point is Kantian evil: it’s wanting to use a (unwilling) person purely as an object to beat your enemies with.

    On a practical note, Anderson never came across as particularly effeminine — most of the rumors about him being gay, AFAIK, came from the fact that it seems to have been a rather open secret. Even if he had been effeminine *and* he had turned out not to be gay, (*) in our society, it is impossible to prove that you are heterosexual. Because heterosexuality is the norm, and because gays have been known to “come out of the closet” at all ages, ll one can say about someone is that they are not in a (public) gay relationship. There are plenty of LGBT people who have been in straight relationships; in the 1950s, (**) it was the norm. Thus, you will *never* have that.

    (*) And I have known people who … probably fell in that category. My baby brother was the most flamboyant preschooler you will *ever* meet: he cross dressed, he identified primarily with (bitchy) girls — he even had the lisp down. As a teenager, he’s apparently interested in women, though he very well could still be bi.
    (**) Which, although we often imagine otherwise, is about as far back as any of our assumptions about “traditional” Western culture goes. I’ve heard that, during the Depression, sleeping together before marriage was virtually the norm — just because no one could afford their own household. The sexual revolution, such as it was, started in the 1920s, not the 1960s. Victorians officially saw “pure” women as asexual — which, in practice, led to a culture that reads to us as one that accepted if not encouraged lesbian relationships prior to marriage and openly accepted adult lesbian couples. (Emphasis on the “reads to us”: it’s an open question as to whether most such relationships *were* physically sexual, let alone whether those involved — even if they were physically involved — would have seen them as such.) And *those* are just some of the more blatant changes over the past hundred years.

  • Tonio

    Yes. Wanting other people to be your personal rhetorical weapons
    just so that you can prove a point is Kantian evil: it’s wanting to use
    a (unwilling) person purely as an object to beat your enemies with.

    While I don’t know anything about Immanuel Kant, you have an excellent point. Any other suggestions for ways that homophobes can be “brought to justice” in the metaphorical sense? They are causing cruelty to a group of people who never did them wrong, and if they don’t experience shame for this, it’s like they’re getting away with it.

     

    Anderson never came across as particularly effeminine — most of the
    rumors about him being gay, AFAIK, came from the fact that it seems to
    have been a rather open secret.

    He never seemed that way to me either, but then, I never thought Ellen DeGeneris or Rosie O’Donnell seemed particularly masculine. So I was allowing for the possibility that some men were perceiving Cooper as effeminate. Or they might have heard a few women gushing over him and labeled him as gay out of jealousy, a common phenomenon for decades. In any case, the question is  whether his bashers were picking up on the rumors or assumed that he was gay for reasons of their own.

  • Lori

     

    She compared it to a relationship, in which every time you voice a
    complaint about your partner, the response is “Just leave them! Come
    ON!”  

    This stretches the analogy, possibly past the breaking point, but we’re not talking about leaving the cap off the milk carton or forgetting to call when he’s going to be late or having an annoying mother. If you’re in a relationship with an abusive child rapist, serial harasser of women and gay basher people are going to ask why you stay with him, even if he isn’t abusing you. They’re going to ask even if he is, in all ways, an excellent partner to you. People are especially going to ask when you indicate that you don’t approve of the way he treats other people and wish he would stop.

  • Lori

    For the record, has anyone *actually* done a study about whether or not gaydar works better than chance? 

    Yes. Results are mixed but there is some evidence that it exists.

  • Lori

     

    Pretending that gay people — by virtue of being gay — are more
    sensitive towards other people who aren’t in power is just a way of
    trying to glorify a particular kind of identity politics.  

    That isn’t really what I meant*, but I apologize for not being clear.

    *This same issue come up from time to time when folks talk about women’s equality. The whole thing with “women are just more nurturing than men, and think more about the future because BABIES and if women ran the world there would be no wars” just gets on my very last good nerve because it’s neither true nor actually helpful.

  • SisterCoyote

    I think I may have confused things by using her analogy along with my issue – she was talking about the Christian church, and the body of believers, not the hierarchy. And I’m not talking about that hierarchy either, but someone’s core beliefs and religion.

    Look, I’m not trying to shame anyone into turning the other cheek, or even saying he should cling to that. It’s just upsetting that to a stranger on the internet, baring his soul about the way he has been praying for the heart to go on being a part of the Christian community, your first response is “Well, just stop doing that.” I understand that you, personally, feel like if something about his beliefs is making him feel shitty, he should just leave. But he doesn’t say it’s God that  makes him feel that way – it’s the people there, and he is trying to get away from them, but it’s an endless struggle. That struggle isn’t so much made easier when people respond to “God, give me strength” is “You don’t need it, you should just stop trying.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

     @LMM22:disqus : Fair point, it was poorly worded. I meant to say how people who are concious of what oppression is would (one hopes) be less likely in their turn, to continue that oppression.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That struggle isn’t so much made easier when people respond to “God,
    give me strength” is “You don’t need it, you should just stop trying.”

    That wasn’t what I meant, and you know it.

    What I meant was along the lines of the following:

    - People of the same faith as the original writer get to make said person miserable by using the same doctrine to try and make said person unwelcome.
    - Said person is responding not by calling for their removal and disapprobation, but instead for an inward “personal strength”, backed up by pleas to God, to endure their slings and arrows.

    That seems, to me, to be a bit self-defeating.

  • LMM22

    Any other suggestions for ways that homophobes can be “brought to justice” in the metaphorical sense? … if they don’t experience shame for this, it’s like they’re getting away with it.

    Well, the reverse situation (someone they like coming out as gay) seems to work well.

    And deciding that homophobes should be somehow punished makes me really uncomfortable. What you should be aiming for here (and I’m sure Fred would agree with me) is a *conversion* experience — for people to genuinely change their beliefs about LGBT people. Shame makes conversion far less likely. People who are shamed are likely to double down on their beliefs; *groups* whose beliefs are shamed are likely to just become more insular and defensive. What we’re seeing right now with gay marriage is conversion: one by one, prominent figures who were once opposed to gay marriage are publicly changing their opinions. The groups that don’t believe in gay marriage are losing younger members — Fred’s pointed this out before.

    And, really, people cause cruelty all the time — and they almost always get away with it. The men who were in the KKK and enacted Jim Crow laws after the Civil War undoubtably died without repenting their crimes. People who blame rape victims are likely to live their lives without changing their opinion. People who sent death threats to Muslims, people who won’t vote for atheists or who stigmatize women who have abortions — most of those people are never going to get ‘punished’ for the harm they do. That’s life. At best, you can hope that those people will change their minds eventually.

  • LMM22

    I meant to say how people who are concious of what oppression is would (one hopes) be less likely in their turn, to continue that oppression.

    Yeah, that doesn’t tend to happen. See how much mutual affection black and LGBT communities have for each other, for example.

    Oppression is always personal. Other people’s oppression is almost always secondary to your own, and quite often it doesn’t even exist.

  • Twig

    I just hope Anderson Cooper continues to be as happy as I felt when he lost it on air and started giggling.  He has  the greatest giggle of all time.

  • Tonio

    What you should be aiming for here (and I’m sure Fred would agree with
    me) is a *conversion* experience — for people to genuinely change their
    beliefs about LGBT people. Shame makes conversion far less likely.

    In truth, that’s my goal as well. If you’re talking about externally imposed shame, I agree that such a route to conversion is unlikely. I would think that conversion would result in them feeling shame on their own at their old homophobia, without others making them feel that way. Remorse might be a better word for this concept.

    And “punished” requires some explanation. I guess I was hoping for a social stigma for homophobia, like what happened to Doug Tracht after his infamous joke about James Byrd. But doing that for any type of bigotry simply drives it underground.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     

    That struggle isn’t so much made easier when people respond to “God, give me strength” is “You don’t need it, you should just stop trying.”

    That wasn’t what I meant, and you know it.

    I thought you meant that, for the record.

  • Tricksterson

    To that I would say, Well if the relationship is ausive, why would you stay>”

  • MadGastronomer

     If you actually said that to someone in an abusive relationship, then you would both be very very ignorant about abusive relationships and be contributing to victim blaming of abused partners, because victim-blaming of abused partners often starts with, “Well, why didn’t you just leave, then?” Even if you don’t continue on to, “If you don’t leave, then it’s your own fault if you keep getting abused,” you’re still reinforcing the first part. So, y’know, not actually a good or useful thing to say. In either situation, actually. So maybe you should just not say it.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Wait–this may be off topic, but I find this facianting!  So, for the Victorian man it was all about clothing and hairstyles?  FE, take a burly man, but him in a dress and put an elaborate braided wig on his head and a Victorain man would say, “Yes, that’s a woman.”? And a delicate-featured woman in a suit was a man? Why Victorains?  Did it happen in earlier ears as well?  When did this start to change?  Offhand I’d guess it was in the 1920′s onward – as woman began to wear clothing formerly considered “masculine”.  How was it that this topic even came up as a something that was researchable?  I’d love to have the title of the book you read on this, if you happen to remember it. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    OK. The testimony of the person who says “I’m tired of having to pray that God will soften my heart so that I can tolerate your bigotry more easily.” …

    It carries – to me – uncomfortable reminders of how some people believe in an inherent nobility to enduring pain or suffering, instead of it being an avoidable and preventable thing.

    If you don’t want to do something that’s wearisome or burdensome, then why keep doing it? Especially if no reward attaches for enduring it?

    Prolanbrothu seems to believe that it is Prolanbrothu’s responsibility to bear the indignities brought on by other members of the same faith – akin to how people who don’t want to do the legwork on privilege insist that they be “taught” by the people who are affected every day by the assertion of privilege.

    Instead of asking God to assist in a thankless task, why not ask God to change the minds of the people making the task thankless in the first place?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     Instead of asking God to assist in a thankless task, why not ask God to
    change the minds of the people making the task thankless in the first
    place?

    Why not do both?

    A big part of being a Christian is supposed to be loving one’s enemies. I find this difficult – and often ask God for help in doing so. I also ask God to stop my enemies being so dreadfully easy to hate…

  • MadGastronomer

     Prolanbrothu seems to believe that it is Prolanbrothu’s responsibility
    to bear the indignities brought on by other members of the same faith

    I keep wondering if other people read the same piece I did. I saw a young gay Christian man who desperately wants a community of Christians to belong to and worship with, and can’t find one. His desire for that community is strong enough to sometimes override his need to be accepted as he is, for a while, and then, after a while, his need to be accepted overwhelms it in turn. It sounds, actually, like he’s gone through it a few times. And the only affirming church he can find is one he doesn’t feel at home in, either. But he has chosen, multiple time, not to “bear the indignities,” and he’s reaffirming that refusal in this piece.

    Yes, he apologizes for his anger. But that’s not actually the same thing as thinking suffering is noble. Many Christians are taught to think that it isn’t acceptable to get angry — much like many women of any religion are taught that. But he chose to leave his previous church — twice — before it became an active problem, rather than waiting until it did. He isn’t putting up with it. He’s standing up for himself.

    And I think the victim-blaming I’m seeing here — he should just leave Christianity! that’s really the problem! — is very disrespectful of his pain, and of his choice to leave the church (or churches, he talks about it as “a church I used to go to,” not “the church I used to go to,” which implies to me that he’s tried a few, at least) that was the problem.

    It is not his God that’s the problem, and it is not all Christian churches. There are many affirming and welcoming congregations out there. That he can’t find one that meets his needs near him is very sad. That he is choosing not to attend one that is bigoted is a good thing, though, and should be acknowledged. I haven’t seen much acknowledgement of that here, but I have seen lots of denial that that’s what he’s doing.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Why do you seem to believe that questioning the requirement to endure indignities and trials is more wrong than the fact that people want to inflict them on you in the first place?

    Where on earth did she say anything was “more wrong” than anything else? She said you came off as aggressive and kind of attacking. There was no “in comparison to” about it.

  • LMM22

    So, for the Victorian man it was all about clothing and hairstyles?

    Quite clearly, yes. There are *multiple* cases of people posing as the opposite (physical) sex for years or decades and getting away with it. (Were they trans*? Were they doing it — in some cases — because they were gay or lesbian? Were they just doing it because it gave them more options? And, again, would they have recognized some of those possibilities? It’s incredibly unclear.) I think it’s _Lies Across America_ that cites a case of a person who was physically male who moved West, passed as a woman, and was married multiple times (to men) — they were only discovered after they died.

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the Victorians, btw, but I can’t give you a citation on that.

    The book, IIRC, was _They Fought Like Demons_ — and, interestingly, women seem to have recognized other women, even if men did not.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    MadGastronomer has pointed out that I was being dismissive; she is correct, and for that I do apologize, although I have no idea if the original poster, Prolanbrothu, is reading this.