- Dec 2006
- New Haven, CT
“All of us should have rose up to speak against gay people seeing themselves as normal people.”
“This is an abnormal life and this is not just about religion because I do not speak about religion here. What is the joy and satisfaction in being in love with somebody of the same sex?”
I wrote a story the other day about 14-year-old Giovanni Melton, whose Christian father shot him to death for the sin of being gay.
I wrote about how organized religion all too often hands people the torches and pitchforks used to persecute us queer folk. I wrote about how Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity systemically incite violence and perpetuate hatred against innocent, harmless people.
Whether they do it on purpose or not is not at issue. It’s what they do that matters, not what their intent is.
As if to illustrate my point, an evangelical preacher commented on my story.
It’s his words that headline my story today, his words that I quote above.
While the pastor claimed to be making a secular argument, he finished his diatribe — his moral condemnation of an entire class of people — with religious speech. In a manner as tiresome as it is familiar, he wrote that his creator God hates how us queer folk have perverted His holy intentions.
Now, our Godly pastor does admit that Giovanni’s father was wrong to murder his son, but please also notice that he still felt the need to use my story about the boy’s tragic death to demonize people whose only crime is being different from him.
Notice that because he isn’t wired to fall in love with other men that he dismisses the potential for such joy in any human. Notice how much he values “normal.” He makes it clear that he considers being different to be worthy of condemnation. Be like me and most other people or suffer the consequences, is his clear implication.
Evidently, being different is bad enough to him that he needs to take time out of his day to condemn us “abnormal” queer folk even if doing so would mean dishonoring a dead child.
OK, so he’s one man. Big deal. The Internet is full of trolls. Move on.
That’s what some of you are saying, isn’t it? I can hear you now. Well, I’d like to kindly ask you not to hit the snooze function on your alarm clock, please.
Not just yet.
This particular minister of Jesus might be a troll, though I doubt it. Google dished up some of his published sermons for me. My point and my observation is that our odious pastor’s point of view is all too common among Christians. His point of view isn’t trollish.
Conservative Christians in the main want us queer people to stop existing. If we can’t stop existing, they want us to hide ourselves away and absent ourselves from public life.
They unabashedly call for this.
The evangelical minister I’m quoting is an ordinary representative of ordinary evangelical thought.
I have a question for evangelical Christians.
What is it about your religion that demands that you behave so cruelly?
What is it about the Bible that causes you to be such terrible bullies? What is about your Jesus that makes you people so anxious to hurt us and to erase us?
What is it about the tragic death of a gay child that makes one of your ministers issue yet another call to publicly revile us?
Can’t ya’ll go find somebody else to pick on? Frankly, I’m weary to the bone of being the whipping boy of a loudly popular religion. I’m sick of being a leper. Funny, though, the way I as an outsider read the Bible, I thought that your Jesus taught people to be kind to lepers.
Clearly, I read something wrong somewhere.
Poor dead Giovanni isn’t alone, you know. Religiously based homophobia takes a terrible toll on queer youth. Evangelical Christians are almost entirely responsible for subjecting tens of thousands of kids to the discredited and dangerous practices of sexual orientation conversion therapy.
We know empirically that such practices have no effect on how people experience sexual attraction. We also know that LGBTQ teens subjected to the “therapy” are more likely to attempt suicide than other queer teens — who are already at high risk for attempting suicide.
Yet, evangelical Christians keep right on rolling with it.
Way to go, guys.
We also know that over 40% of homeless youth in the United States identify as LGBTQ, even though queer kids only make up 5 to 8 percent of the entire youth poopulation. Why are they on the street?
Family and social rejection due to religiously based homophobia.
Way to go, guys.
Love thy neighbor as thyself much lately?
I’ve written some stories to dramatize the lives of kids who are damaged by religiously based homophobia. In Caleb’s Stories, I paint a vivid picture of the realities of residential conversion therapy. I show you exactly what sort of physical harm is done to kids. I also delve into the deeper damage, the emotional and spiritual harm imposed on innocent children.
In Running Toward Hope, I introduce my readers to an older group of kids, to adolescents in their late teens who find themselves on the street or under the control of sexually predatory adults. What they share in common with the kids in my other story is the cause of their trouble — religiously based homophobia. Religiously encouraged rejection.
The kids in my stories are fictional, but their lives are real. Everything I write is based in reality, grounded in the fact that we queer people choke constantly on the poison served up by Christians like the minister whose quote headlines this story.
If you’re a Christian who thinks it’s OK to stigmatize and condemn people for their sexual orientations or gender identities, I really wish you’d read these stories.
I really wish you could learn to empathize with people who were born just a little different from you.
Won’t you please drop your torches and pitchforks?
By James Finn April 11, 2018
This article really struck home for me - especially one sentence. Although on some political forums - like this one - I'm considered a raging maniacal gay activist, the truth of the matter is I'm not - I rarely if ever bring it up unless responding to somebody else's comments and now that marriage equality has been established as an American right, I don't even mess in gay politics much any longer. But, when I respond to the Christian evangelicals on this forum, I realize that I am testy and not very tolerant of their intolerance. I find it especially exasperating as a Christian, myself. Then the sentence that stuck me like a lead pipe made me understand why I have so little patience with ignorance and bigotry: "Frankly, I’m weary to the bone of being the whipping boy of a loudly popular religion." That one really speaks for me and millions of others, I believe.