Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speaking Up

I have always been pretty introverted, and have never felt comfortable speaking up in public or interacting with strangers. And in the past there have been times when I have been guilty of ignoring comments or statements that I should have responded to, just because I didn't feel comfortable "getting involved."

But this morning I was at the post office when I heard a conversation behind me, and I did respond. A group of three men were having a conversation and I heard one of them say that "they shouldn't be allowed to show all this gay stuff on TV, because kids are gonna see that and think that it's okay to be gay." I turned around and said that nothing on TV is going to "turn" someone gay or lesbian, because that is who they are, not who they become. We ended up in a long, heated argument, and of course nobody's mind was changed.

What is most upsetting is that all three of these men's opinions were clearly based on what they have been hearing all of their lives in church. Their responses to everything that I said was basically, "God does not make mistakes," so being gay has to be a choice or the result of lax parental discipline.

Well, whether or not God makes mistakes, I don't see how being gay or lesbian is a mistake. It is beliefs like these men were arguing for that result in the bullying and harassment that is driving young people to such misery and hopelessness that some even take their own lives. And the people who lead the fundamentalist churches are guilty of spreading these hateful beliefs and attitudes.

I am not arguing against Christianity here. If you pick up a Bible and read the Gospels, the four books that contain the words and acts of Jesus, you will not read one word that says homosexuality is wrong. In fact, quite the opposite, you will read words of love, compassion, acceptance, and inclusion of all people.

It's too bad so few Christians pay attention to these words.

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