In the last week, a couple of writers have taken to the interwebs to proclaim that my support of GLBT persons is, well, sub-par. At Religion Dispatches, Elizabeth Drescher takes offense to the closing salvo in my post, “Homoerotic Churches,” in which I imply that some evangelicals’ taste for the man-on-man grappling in mixed martial arts may mask their own longings. Drescher writes,
Jones has apparently missed the homoeroticism of the quarterback snap in football and the rampant ass-slapping across all sports, gender notwithstanding. In any case, the gays-are-rubber-Mark-Driscoll-is-glue approach to confronting Driscoll’s thug-like homophobia is hardly the same as a clear condemnation. And, I might add, while I personally find MMA, boxing, and wrestling in all its forms distasteful, I’m sure there’s little pastoral grace for either LBGTQ or straight kids who do enjoy these sports in highlighting them as ironically effeminate—even for the sake of pointing out that Mark Driscoll is a jerk. Even the Apostle Paul, disciplinarian of the Early Church, attempted to model the practice of admonishment for bad behavior without resorting to shaming. Just sayin’…
There have been several comments along those same lines regarding my original post. Was it a cheap shot for me to write, “we preach most fervently against the very sin that we are struggling with“? Maybe. But there were also many commenters who agreed with that sentiment.
While I believe that there’s ample evidence to make a claim like that, it was not meant to be universal. Someone who preaches against a sin is not necessarily under the sway of that very sin. Nor, of course, do I consider it an insult to imply that some conservative evangelical leaders may be harboring various sexual predilections. In fact, I, like Dan Savage, would encourage them to honestly confront those.Over at ShipOfFools, my long-time critic, Becky Garrison, who often attempts to disguise bitterness as satire, lists me as an almost-good-enough ally of GLBT persons. Why do Jay Bakker and I make it only into the penultimate group?
But despite their claims of being inclusive, they continue to operate in a milieu that largely consists of white male postevangelicals who self-identify as straight.
What is Garrison’s remedy? That Jay and I “join those in the US Episcopal, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist churches” who are working for bi- and trans- inclusion. Well, when it comes to whiteness, Becky, it’s tough to beat the Episcopal Church:
Try as I might, I cannot find the gay-straight demographics for the Episcopal Church, but let me venture a guess that it’s a pretty straight crowd.
In the end, I’m not averse to from friendly criticism. In fact, I welcome it. But as a “self-identified straight, white male,” I do occasionally wonder if my support will ever be good enough for some…