As I said in a recent article, I don’t know if I’m a Christian. But I am LGBTQ-affirming. I wasn’t always, but that’s because I was given a conservative Evangelical worldview before the time I could develop any semblance of rational thought. When I could actually think for myself, it was pretty damn obvious that LGBTQ-affirmation was the only sensible, and loving, thing to do. The only issue that stood in my way? The Bible.
Easy fix: Chuck it out!
I’m kidding. (But not really.)
Actually, it’s not that I’ve chucked out the Bible, it’s just that I don’t think the Bible is what I used to think it was. It’s not the Word of God. It’s not a manual for how to live your life. And as much as Christians like to focus on the so-called “clobber passages,” it doesn’t really have anything to say about whether it’s okay to be LGBTQ or not. Plus, even if it did, please refer back a couple points: It’s not a manual for life.
However, many Christians believe that the Bible is a manual for life, and that it’s clear on the issue. I can almost hear it now, in a perfect Southern drawl: “The Bible clearly says that homosexuality is an abomination . . . brother!” Well, guess what? So is bacon-wrapped shrimp and poly-cotton blends. But I digress.
So, here is the conundrum we are faced with: On the one hand, Christians have a weird relationship to their book, which they think denounces an entire group of people simply because of their gender identity and sexual orientation, but on the other hand, in order to actually change their minds about the issue, talking Bible with them won’t work. Why? Because it’s not how we are wired.
Let me explain.
Contact hypothesis is the psychological theory positing that prejudice and conflict between groups can be reduced if members of the groups interact with each other. Makes sense, right? So, if a person hates Muslims, for example, no amount of logic and reason is going to sway them. But, if they can have healthy and managed contact with a Muslim neighbor, they just may realize how they are normal people, living a normal life, but happen to have a different faith tradition. Same goes for LGBTQ folks.
There are problems, of course. Many Evangelicals are not interested in befriending gay folks without agenda. And gay folks are frankly sick and tired of religious bigots who won’t accept them. Do I blame them? Hell no! Christianity has done so much damage to them, I’m surprised any stick around.
Well, then, what do we do? I don’t know, but I can only speak from my experience. For me, it started with being honest with myself. I had to go within and ask: “Why would it be sin for a gay couple to do exactly what a straight couple does in life, but with different ‘working parts?'” And when I couldn’t come up with an intellectually honest answer, I had to repent (change my mind). That’s the funny thing about how most Christians approach repentance. They act as if those who disagree haven’t repented, but what they fail to realize is that many of us have. They just don’t like HOW we’ve changed our mind. Funny, that.
The second thing I did to change my mind is that I put myself into a situation where I befriended a lesbian couple without an agenda. I simply became friends with a coworker and her partner. And guess what? There is no gay agenda. Well, there is, but it’s the same thing as the straight agenda. They worked. Paid bills. Socialized. Went out for drinks. Bickered. Made up. Volunteered. And did all the same shit straight folks do.
So, again, it starts with being a human, not with an interpretation of a book. The Bible is great, but it’s not so great if we forgo our humanity for the sake of “sound biblical doctrine” (whatever the hell that means). How do we get Christians to change their minds about, not only their fellow human being, but their precious Bible? I’m not entirely sure. We are on a big ship and as the captain of the Titanic found it, turning a big ship takes time. Sometimes, we turn too late and people die in the process. Sadly, we’ve witnessed that, as the trauma caused by society not accepting our beloved LGBTQ family is more than clear. But continue to turn we must! That’s a part of what this blog is about, and why I’ll continue to fight for the equality of all people.
If you want to follow me on social media, here are some links. I am pretty active on all platforms, and would love to connect.
If you want to comment below, feel free. Just know that any bigotry will not be tolerated, and I will not approve your comment. And if you’re just here to harass me, I know where the ban button is.