Let me set the stage for you, my friends:
People, through no fault of their own, besides being born with a particular genetic package, are beaten, killed, and socially isolated and demeaned. They are set apart as different in their communities and are told they should be grateful for what they do have. Those in power bellow from every pulpit and soapbox that their rights to maintain the status quo should not be changed, let alone questioned. They insist that changing how things have always been done will destroy their lives.
Is this a description of the Deep South prior to the Emancipation Proclamation? Well, yes, it is. Is this a description of the United States in the Twenty-first Century? Sadly, the answer to this is, “Yes,” as well.
If I were a slave and my owner walked into my house and started telling me how to live, and I fought back, I would be beaten or killed. I am a gay man in California and people are still trying to walk into my house and tell me how to live. I am, of course, protesting. I have not been beaten. I have not been killed. There are those, however, who have been injured, some fatally, in this social battle.
If church leaders and those that support them do not believe that this comparison is fair, then they are blinded by their ignorance and fear. If they are unwilling to look at themselves fairly in the mirror to see themselves as they truly are, then they have actually turned the corner into becoming those plantation owners of over 150 years ago.
Every Sunday, and Saturday for some, a minister stands before his or her congregation speaking about the unconditional love of God. This same minister implores the congregation to love one another as God loves us. This is a great belief system, as far as I’m concerned.
What follows during some sermons, however, is diametrically opposed to this message. This opposing message is being carried on placards, t-shirts, and leaflets that state the following:
“God hates fags”
“Fags burn in hell”
“Homos eat small children” (I’m not kidding. I’ve seen it)
“Gay marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage”
“Kill all faggots”
How are any of these messages consistent with the concept of unconditional love? Even for those who say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” this horrific language cannot make sense to them. How is hatred a part of anything to do with God and faith?
I remember once in catechism at my Roman Catholic Church, Sister Cabrini, our teacher, asked the question, “How should we feel about the devil?”
I proudly and righteously raised my hand and said, “We should HATE the devil!”
“No, Jimmy,” said Sister Cabrini, “we should not hate the devil. We must understand that we must resist his temptation and rebuke his acts, but under no circumstances are we ever to hate anything or anyone.”
Although I no longer practice catholicism because I am a gay man, I love Sister Cabrini for teaching me that lesson over forty years ago.
All I ask is that those who hate so vehemently take a look at who they are for just a moment. Instead of judging everyone else, take a look at who the person in the mirror has become. Is being a person who hates someone else for the color of his skin or her sexual orientation the person he or she longs to be?
Most of the plantation owners, in their sense of God-given superiority, would have said a resounding, “Yes!”
My question is this – If we are obligated to stand before our God on Judgement Day with all our signs, t-shirts, hats, and intentions, what would God say about us?
I’d love to hear the answer to that question. I’d love that a lot.
And, for those who are curious, here is my symbol:
The top heart symbolizes my desire to love, supported by the second heart which recalls the love of God. The droplets represent our pain, but the red hearts shine through even our darkest hours.