And so....the fear of a homosexual agenda....which was based, at best, on ignorance and hearsay and, at worst, downright deceit and bigotry, delegates gays to a nameless, faceless "them." As in "them vs us." It is oh so easy to demonize nameless, faceless people. They go from strangers to enemies in no time flat.
In this post, I'm going to write about two guys who, at one time, saw gays as nameless faceless thems....enemies. But their perspectives changed when circumstances forced them to take a closer look and they actually saw gays....as in, really saw them....for exactly what they are. People just like them. People just like you. People just like me.....in all of our eclectic splendor. Not carbon copies. Not exactly the same....with diversity and variation and eccentricities to rejoice in and celebrate.
The first guy was on a mission to protect heterosexual marriage. His name was Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican. The guy behind the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour that took place in July and August 2010....sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage. In March of 2010, he hooked up with Brian Brown, director of the National Organization for Marriage about sponsoring and participating in a series of traditional marriage rallies here and there across the country. It was at one of these very rallies, in Atlanta, that the counter protestors...the folks he had "made a profession out of opposing" "became real people" almost instantly. He said
For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.
But....it didn't stop him. He toned it down a bit....made his campaign a bit fairer and more balanced although he admits he used strong and unnecessary rhetoric. Especially the You Tube videos he produced.
One article I wrote, towards the end of October, 2010 caught the attention of a blogger by the name of RJ, who writes on the blog AmIWorking. He responded to my article about the homosexual agenda with an article addressed personally to me regarding marriage equality. In short, his article had the miraculous effect of instantly putting things into perspective for me.
At that point, between what I had witnessed on the marriage tour and RJ’s post about marriage equality, I really came to understand that gays and lesbians were just real people who wanted to live real lives and be treated equally as opposed to, for example, wanting to destroy American culture. No, they didn’t want to destroy American culture, they wanted to openly particulate in it. I was well on my way to becoming a supporter of civil marriage equality. You can read my statement retracting the statements I made about gays and lesbians here.
I read about him in an article entitled I Now Support Full Marriage Equality"
And te other guy....a former Presbyterian minister....who preached against homosexuality from the pulpit. His turning point....points....getting to know "particular people"
In the article I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong Murray Richmond talks about what changed his views
1. An online (platonic) friendship with a gay Christian man who had struggled with his sexuality for a long time...until he finally accepted it and himself.
2. One of his gay parishioners who had tried for years to rid himself of an attraction for men....using alcohol, therapy, marriage, support groups etc. wanted to try...in desperation...an exorcism.
3. A woman, former wife of a minister who left her for another man. She refused to dis him, saying instead that he was the best pastor she had ever known but he came to the point he could no longer live with the lie.
Richmond questions why homosexuality has been singled out as a litmus test for True Christianity in the first place, a lightning rod for self-righteousness? (A good question to ponder)
.......it's easy to condemn homosexuality if you are not gay. It is much harder
than condemning pride, or lust or greed, things that most practicing Christians have struggled with. It is all too easy to make homosexuality about "those people," and not me.
Ah-ha... back to the us vs them theme
We all have our "thems." We all have our "those people." Folks we see as so different from us, there is little hope of embracing their differences. For me, it is far right wing, totally conservative folks...who are, in my view, bigoted and hypocritical, who live by the letter of the law and not by the spirit of the law.
Modern day Pharisees.
Okay....let's try to wrap up this rambling post.
A belief in a covert homosexual agenda turns individuals into clumps of nameless, faceless, dehumanized "thems" who are easy to fear/hate/mistrust.
I'm going to close with a comment from a post on a blog called "The Faulking Truth" Very interesting play on words going on there in that title. His opinion concerning a homosexual agenda. Is there one?
In reality, the gay agenda is not unlike the agendas of the civil rights or womens suffrage movements before it. It is an agenda based on acceptance and equal rights under the law and in the eyes of the general public. And unlike the extremist Christian agenda, it doesnt seek to overthrow governments or indoctrinate everyone to a homosexual or lesbian way of life.
Can fundamentalist, evangelical Christians say the same?