Stop Saying “Faggot”

Adam McLane has a guest post by a friend of his who, as a Christian, has struggled with his sexuality, and with the way that Christian groups have demeaned him:

I managed to keep in secret until about 18 when I told my high school counselor. He sympathized and explain that there were other people out there like me. Once I got to college, my life would change.

It did. My first week at college I became a Christian.

And I was still gay.

In the college Christian group I was a part of, there were great people, but a large majority of them used the words homo, queer, and faggot. I was in some deep trouble.

I had to hide the fact that I was gay. I mean, who could I tell? And the pressure to date was nearly insurmountable.

I managed coming out to some friends, but the loneliness, the isolation was great. No one got it.

That was about 20 years ago.

Since then I’ve tried counseling for 7 years; it was helpful to unpack a lot of the abuse I took, but I still wasn’t attracted to women.

I had a girlfriend in seminary for a year and a half. I thought I could change and make it work.

I didn’t. I broke her heart.

READ THE REST: The F Word, Part 2.

  • Charles

    A very sad, frustrating commentary on “the church.”

    But not all congregations are cut from the same cloth. Our small church is made up of about 10-15% LGBTQ individuals. Some traveled to states that allow them to legally wed, many are in committed partnerships, many have children, some are single. All are out and are fully embraced by everyone in our congregation – really! Those in the congregation who couldn’t quite find enough love and acceptance for LGBTQ congregants have left our community. We’re about 100 “Christians” who wholeheartedly embrace our gay brothers and sisters; willingly and openly. I’m sorry we’re that unique in Christendom.

    • Frank

      Validating sin and allowing people to settle for something outside of God’s will is not loving them. I do hope that this is so unique that it ceases to exist.

      • Charles

        Frank, you live in an upside down world. I want no part of it. You do not speak for God.

        (I know, I’m just feeding the troll…)

        • Frank

          Yes it’s much harder and more uncomfortable to live in God’s will than not. No wonder you want to stay where you are.

      • Basil

        Frank,

        Your closed mind tells us all we need to know. You are judgemental, without justification, because you are a Pharisee and a charlatan, but not a person of faith. I hope some day God’s grace will find you.

    • Scot Miller

      I’m part of a church that is open and affirming, too. I’m not sure we can match 10-15%, but the church has just confirmed a same-sex couple in the lay leadership of the church, which makes me very happy. Since most young people toady aren’t particularly worried about LGBTQ individuals, I predict that within 10-20 years a significant number of churches will welcome same-sex couples. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that divorced individuals and interracial couples were excluded from many congregations. Oh, there will still be the few remaining religious bigots who will hide their bigotry behind condemning loving relationships as “sin,” but within 100 years, they will be an embarassing memory of the church, just as the slave holding “Christians” are an embarassment today. Reinforcing one’s bigotry in the name of “the will of God” is really pathetic.

      • Frank

        Scripture says it’s a sin not me or churches.

  • Lock

    The last time I heard someone call someone a faggot was a gay couple I know. One would say to the other, “He’s such a fag.”

    Last I checked human nature doesn’t change when someone incorporates a church, or becomes a member, or converts.

  • Basil

    I read this felt deep sympathy, but kind of conflicted. I understand just how crippling being closeted can be, having spent too many years in one myself. My upbringing was culturally conservative (immigrant family), though not religious per se. Still, I get the idea of being afraid, of feeling like you have to choose between being honest and having friends. But I felt like the writer is letting his fear cripple him — which I really understand — but he really shouldn’t. You only live once, do you want to live a lie?

    “Coming Out” is so misnamed because it is not an outward directed at all, it is coming to terms with yourself as God created you and living in an open and honest way. Think for the moment about the alternatives: Is it honest or right to let friends love some “straight” guy who doesn’t really exist? More importantly, should you, as a gay man, internalize other people’s irrational disapproval of homosexuality? The answer to both of those questions is no.

    Some (probably a lot) of his friends already know he is gay, and don’t care, but they are afraid to tell him. It’s ironic – he’s put a wall up, but that is what closets do. Some of his friends don’t know, but won’t care, and will appreciate his honesty. And some friends will disapprove – but then are they really your friends? They like a mythical straight guy who doesn’t exist, and having a gay friend will challenge their prejudices. People use religion as an excuse for their bigotry, but it’s just that – an excuse. Do you really want to be friends with people like that? Even if you are straight, why would you want to be friends with people who use the term “faggot” or “nigger” or any other slur?

    I felt like the writer is torturing himself in this half-in/half-out limbo, and he just needs to let go and come out. There are a whole world of people out there who will love and accept you just as you are, but you cannot know and understand that until you allow yourself to be that person. Yes, some people will be homophobic jerks, but they are not worth being friends with.

    As for his church, well religion, unlike sexual orientation, is a choice. We all have our own path to God, and there are a growing number gay-affirming congregations who value and all of God’s creation, without exceptions for homophobia.

    • Charles

      Beautifully stated, Basil.
      I especially like the phrase: “People use religion as an excuse for their bigotry, but it’s just that – an excuse.”

    • Frank

      Basil you finally have said something very meaningful and very telling: “We all have our own path to God…”

      Funny Jesus says there is only one path to God. No wonder you are lost!

  • Pastor Billy

    It is amazing to me how many well meaning religous folk are confirming sinners in their lost state. A short trip thru the scriptures will quickly reveal all one needs to know and answer the question of gay and lesbian behavior. “God loves the sinner and died for them however hates the sinfull behavior” is more than a cliche. He accepts us where we are but then the real work begins He saves us to conform us to the image of His own Son. Can one live for Christ and continue in a sinfull pattern of life? Absolutely not! I know, then comes the question of “what is sin and all that” Again read the scriptures it is and always will be Gods revealed will to us. I know it is much easier to ignore passages in Romans and other clear instruction then curl up with a thought which brings you warmth like “im ok your ok” or they are just judgeing me cause they are homophobes. But let me challenge you when you are alone with that warm fuzzy of a thought God’s still small and gentle voice is there too and He says come out from amoung them and pick up your cross and “FOLLOW ME”
    ThinkWithMe

    • Charles

      Pastor Billy (really?),
      I labored in your vineyard for 35+ years. You can posture your view of what a Christian is supposed to look like from now until kingdom come. You’ll not convince me to return to that box, sorry. The God of all creation is so much bigger than that box… words fail me. I simply suggest you lift the lid of the box that confines you and breath some life giving fresh air.

    • Basil

      Pastor Billy

      I want to be clear to you, at the risk of being blunt, but I do so in a spirit of love and hope:

      You do not get to judge me, nor tell me who is a “sinner” and who is “lost”. I don’t accept your reading of scripture, your interpretation of the Bible for a whole myriad of reasons, which we debate until we are blue in the face (but we can save that for later). I think it is pure hubris to judge others so easily, to castigate and throw people into categories of sinners needing to be “fixed”, to heap shame and scorn and try and drive people into the closet. I think it is hubris because you are arrogating for yourself the role of judge that belongs only to God. Forgive me for being obvious, but I don’t accept your judgement as a substitute for God’s. I have my own congregation, my own spiritual home and to be honest, my faith is much stronger and more important in my life since I came out. Most Sundays (unless I have family obligations), you will find me with them, and we labor together to listen together and discern “God’s still small and gentle voice”. That voice not echoing your words, at all.

      I believe that God made the heavens and earth and all that is in it. His power and his creation are much larger and more powerful than what we can fully comprehend. And yet, Pastor Billy, this all powerful God keeps bringing forth gay people. He has for all of human history. In fact, he brings forth hundreds of different creatures, great and small, that are gay, bisexual or transgendered. It is fairly common in nature. It defies logic, and shows a profound lack of faith in God, to somehow conclude that gay people are somehow a “mistake”, that they are not part of God’s creation just as they are.

      I don’t know about your congregation, but if you have more than 10 people in it, then statistically, odds are that at least one of them is gay. They probably will never let you know. You think you know them — as they sit in pews while you preach about the mythical sinfulness of homosexuality — and they nod their heads in agreement like the people near them. For you, they are just another straight member of your congregation. It’s sad really — because they would not dare to let you know who they really are, because they do not want to be scorned or shamed or labelled (sinner or worse, like say “faggot”). There are two walls between you and them, one is a wall of dishonesty and fear which they put up — they present themselves as a mythical straight person. The other wall is a wall of hate — that’s the wall that you put up. Maybe you tell them how “sinful” and “unChristian” it is to be homosexual, or you use that stupid term “homosexual lifestyle”. Maybe you tell them that it is “choice”, which is just untrue (and which is a strong signal of hatred to the gay members of your congregation). Or maybe you just are silent if someone in your congregation speaks disparagingly
      of gays, uses the term “faggot” or is otherwise hostile.

      Isn’t it sad that the some of the people who you are supposed to be closest too don’t actually exist? I hope for you that some day that those two walls will come down. I think you will be richly rewarded in this life, and the next, if you work to make that happen.

      • Frank

        Basil you know, if you read scripture that God didn’t make anyone gay, transgendered, or gender confused, sin made those things. Sin distorted Gods perfect creation. You know this yet refuse to accept it. I guess that’s part of making your own path to God.

  • Scot Miller

    So, Frank, even if God thinks homosexuality is a sin (…and God only knows why God would consider homosexuality a sin, given the absence of any rational, intelligible reason for thinking that…), do you think God would be in favor of Christians calling such sinners “faggots”? Wouldn’t it be a bad idea not to recognize that even sinners are created in the image of God, that even sinners are loved by God, that God offers redemption and salvation to all sinners? Wouldn’t God rather us pray for sinners? After all, I don’t find Jesus calling prostitutes “whores.” But I do find Jesus hanging out with sinners and tax collectors and the outcast in society. And I do remember Jesus saying something about “He who is without sin cast the first stone” when some Pharisees brought a prostitute brought before him. Hmmmm… just wonder why you and the Pharisees seem so quick to cast stones….

  • Frank

    Scot thanks for bring up an important point that sometimes gets lost. Yes to everything you said except the Pharisees comment. It’s a tired catch all insult that is rarely used appropriately and often just used as a cop out argument.

    What would you say to the person who claims without any scriptural or theological support, that homosexuality is not a sin? Treatment of sinners is not at question here.

    • Scot Miller

      “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” — Jesus Christ

      • Frank

        Nice dodge! The difference is I admit my sins are sins.

    • Scot Miller

      So, Frank, is is wrong to call someone a “faggot”?

      • Frank

        Yes of course it’s wrong. It’s hateful, derogatory, mean and insensitive.

        But calling a sinner a sinner is absolutely right!

    • Scot Miller

      Frank, I think the Bible can be used to condemn homosexuality, defend slavery, and promote infanticide. I know it’s possible to find explicit verses in the Bible which condemn homosexuality, defend slavery, and promote infanticide. You like to quote the passages condemning homosexuality; conveniently, you seem to ignore the “unsavory” scriptures which have been used to defend the practice of slavery.

      On the other hand, I think the Bible can also be read in such a way to accept homosexuals (LGBTQ), condemn slavery, and reject infanticide. But reading the Bible in this way requires careful interpretation, recognizing that some very explicit scriptures condemning slavery, etc., are not really God’s timeless truths but cultural and historically conditioned expressions that don’t stand rational scrutiny and are actually at odds with the revelation of God in Jesus. “In Christ there is no male or female, slave or free, straight or gay…”

      It is painfully obvious that you and I disagree about how best to read scripture. (Good grief, you can’t even admit that you are only offering one possible interpretation of scripture.) It’s also obvious that we are not going to convince each other to change our interpretations. I was just hoping that you and I could agree that Tony was right, and that it’s wrong to call someone a “faggot.” I think it’s wrong. Don’t you?

      • Frank

        Scot I answered and I think we can agree on the answer.

        When you say there are biblical passages that show homosexuality is a sin, you are correct. So when in a discussion about homosexuality those verses get quoted. When there is a disagreement about whether the bible says slavery is ok or not then the passage on slavery will get quoted. It’s quite a simple process actually and trying to confuse it is disingenuousness at best as you have an agenda in bringing that up. An unsupported agenda but an agenda none the less.

        I have yet to see any passages that God supports, condones and/or blesses homosexual unions. It should be simple to show if it were true but no one can because it’s false.

        • Scot Miller

          Frank, you do realize that Southern Baptists and other Christian slave holders used the same kind of argument in defense of slavery. Since the Bible is abundantly clear that slavery is an acceptable social practice (and there are rules in both Old and New Testaments which govern slavery), slave holders challenged the abolitionists to show one verse where God condemns slavery. Guess what? The Bible nowhere condemns slavery. Does that mean that slavery is OK? Does that mean that Christian abolitionists didn’t find their inspiration in scripture? The abolitionists argued that God is love, and it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves and hold our neighbor as slaves. It doesn’t care how many verses tolerate slavery, slavery is wrong.

          Furthermore, it doesn’t matter that the Bible quotes God as commanding his people to kill babies (Deut 3:3-6, 1 Sam. 15:1-3; cf. Ps.137:9), it is immoral to intentionally kill babies in war, even if God commands it. The scriptures saying that God calls for infanticide and tolerates slavery appear to be historically conditioned expressions of a group that sought to justify it’s immoral behavior by blaming it on God’s command. In the same way, the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is just as historically conditioned.

          I doubt that you would embrace the practice of slavery, and I doubt that you really think that infanticide must be right, even if I can quote the passages where God urges infanticide. But if do you condemn slavery and infanticide, then you are inconsistent with your appeal to scripture, since you don’t really believe that it’s enough just to quote some scripture about slavery and infanticide and that “settles” everything. The only way you could condemn slavery and infanticide, given their explicit defense in the Bible, is to offer some kind of interpretation which goes beyond the plain words of the text. But if you allow interpretation of slavery and infanticide, you must allow interpretation of homosexuality if you have a consistent approach to scripture.

          I am glad that you recognize that calling people names isn’t a good idea, however!

          • Frank

            Scot your argument is a logical fallacy, not too mention the red herrings and straw men peppered throughout.

            Instead of participating in the above I will just say this:

            You cannot compare infanticide and slavery with homosexuality. There are other passages that clearly show us that God is pro-freedom and pro-life.

            You have none of that scriptural support for God condoning homosexuality.

          • Todd

            Weak Frank, very weak. Scot engaged in a very charitable and nuanced argument with you, and you totally refuse to engage with him. Instead you merely restate your original position. Are you shocked that people call you a troll?

            Also, there are passages suggesting that God is pro-love, in addition to being pro-freedom and pro-life.

          • Frank

            Todd I am happy to hear your scriptural support that God condones homosexual unions.

            Whats truly weak is when Scot and others ignore what they don’t like or pitifully try to explain away the text or introduce straw men or red herrings. As I said I understand why they need to do this as they have no real supported position.

            So I assume you will back up your words with your scriptural proof?

            BTW I love the term “nuanced” but I didn’t realize some people believe it means obfuscation.

  • Basil

    Frank ,we have had this argument before about passages which support and/or condemn homosexuality, and your answer is always the same. You dodge any alternate view and just say “there is no scriptural support”, no matter who else offers you just that — scriptural support. You’re just being dishonest, which by the way, is a sin.

    • Scot Miller

      Yes, Frank is quite dishonest, but I think it’s rooted in dishonesty with himself and his own arguments. If he were honest, he would just admit that his interpretation of the Bible is logically inconsistent (i.e., “The Bible always means what it clearly says [e.g., about homosexuality], but sometimes it doesn’t really mean what it clearly says [e.g., about slavery and infanticide].” ) Unfortunately, if he were honest with himself, and acknowledge that sometimes the Bible may not really mean what it “clearly” says, then that would undercut his uncritical dogmatic belief about homosexuality. But I don’t think Frank’s Bible includes the passage, “For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part… For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part…” (1 Cor 13:8-12). If he took that verse as seriously as he does the verses condemning homosexuality, he might not be so dogmatic.

      Note to self: Just ignore Frank’s bait. Responding only encourages him.

      • Frank

        Scot please show me how I have been dishonest! It seems you also, instead of actually supporting your position beyond opinion, find it much easier to redirect, dodge and try to discredit me.

        It’s all understandable in this instance of course because you have no scriptural support.

      • Basil

        Hi Scot,

        Frank is just stuck in circular logic, which is pretty common among evangelicals. Some people just enjoy moral absolutism, and looking for clubs to make themselves feel superior. Some people just can’t handle nuance, or doubt (which is essential for faith), or even the notion of their fallibility. It’s completely hopeless, so yes, you are correct to conclude that you should not take the bait. There is a famous saying (hadith) of Prophet Muhammad which is fitting, it translates from Arabic as “there is no doctor for ignorance”.

        Reading any religious text is hard, and coming to dogmatic and narrow conclusions is just stupid and sloppy scholarship. What is tragic in the case of the Bible is that we get so much more out of the passages we read if we actually place them in their correct historical and cultural context, and try to understand their linguistic nuances, in their original language. If you think of a given passage as a message from God, isn’t it helpful to have some context to know is being said? The crap that passes for scholarship these days — it’s just depressing. A bunch of illiterate know-nothings making dogmatic pronouncements, basically to support political arguments. It’s the same among Christian fundamentalists, as it is in the Middle East, among Muslim fundamentalists (who pull the same crap with Quran). It’s just unhelpful noise.

        I will be very interested to see if there can be a good, historically nuanced explanation of Galatians 3:28, as Charles asked for below.

        • Frank

          I find it very telling that not only have you stated that you have your own path to God but you now quote Mohammed. Not that wordy wisdom cannot be found outside of Christianity but for someone who calls themselves a Christian you certainly cannot find the support you need within that faith so you always have to go outside that faith.

          It really tells us all we need to know about you, your positions and your opinions. Thanks for exposing yourself! You did a far better job than I could ever do.

          • Basil

            Just to be clear, I’m Quaker and a Universalist. Boo!!

          • Frank

            Thanks for the clarification and letting us know your opinions on the bible and Christianity are irrelevant!

          • Basil

            You’re very welcome. I guess that makes your opinions on gays irrelevant as well.

            You poor foolish man!

    • Frank

      So where are they? You respond with a whole paragraph of nonsense instead of providing the one thing that would support your position: scriptural proof.

      Of course you have none so if you want to respond you only have one choice: mischaracterize me or call me names. You do understand that it removes any credibility that you might bring to bear on the discussion right? Or are you blind to that as well?

  • Charles

    I’d like to see all of the academic-trained theologians post their exegesis on Galatians 3:28 please. If you’re not formally theologically trained go ahead and give it a go but tell us such. Could be interesting.

    • Frank

      I can tell you one thing: it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

  • Sharon

    So, do churches return the money they get from lgbt persons?

    • Frank

      Do churches return the money to every other type of sinner?

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  • stan

    No matter what. You cannot have God on your terms.

  • Tom

    Faggot.


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