The Religious Right Made Me Proud

Hanging out with sexually educated Junior Highers for only a few hours last night was enough to remind me of the fact that the only reason that “gay” is even an identity is because of the Religious Right. To summarize right off of the bat I would like to use to bash Pat Robertson’s theology, were it not for Christian Fundamentalism, I would be just be gay…

Instead, I am gay and proud.

Everyone in the LGBTQ community has the Religious Right to thank for giving us the reason to be so excited and progressive about our sexuality. We could just be another subculture of sexually repressed people but instead, they have made our sex that much more exciting, our intimate lives, that much more powerful, our faith experiences, all the more important! 

Well done, Fundamentalists. You’ve created the monsters that we have become, as we proclaim “I’m gay” as if it’s that big of a deal, to be attracted to someone of the same gender. Is it that big of a deal? No… I think we all know it really isn’t.

But when you oppress someone because of who they are, what they cannot and should not change, you create the need for speaking out, speaking up, looking within and then… look out! The whole country goes “Gaga” and suddenly a media frenzy of Gleeks and modern families erupts and being gay becomes a staple for being different, free, honest, true and brave.

You’ve made us brave!

You’ve taken the ordinary and granted it a superior place of expression, individualism and celebration.

The irony of what the Religious Right has done is worth noting. As one of the OWL (Our Whole Lives) students asked last night, “What’s the big deal about being gay? It’s just body parts,” I thought, “Well out of the mouths of babes!”

What is the big deal?

There is no big deal… but because of all of the oppression, the “enemy” that they created has become a tour de force and now needs to proclaim simple truths about itself. At a basic level, a gay person’s coming out should be no more important than a child saying that he has blue eyes. Can you imagine how the landscape of our culture would change if we demonized everything that was diverse? (Blue-eyed Parades in March, Brunette Awareness Day in June, Bring a Tall Person to Work Week?)

The irony of it all has hit me specifically because a very close friend of mine is struggling with coming out and in the meantime, I’m struggling with a church community who doesn’t publically announce that they are a welcoming congregation. These two situations have forced me to ask myself, “What again is the big deal?”

Well… unfortunately, the big deal is that Christian Fundamentalists are still winning the war, every time a young person slices his skin with a safety pin, engraving the words “sinner” across his leg or a college student overdoses on a handful of pills after shaming herself for thinking “unholy” thoughts about her roommate.

No, being gay is not a big deal… but oppression and suffering is a colossal issue!

You can choose to view the suffering in the LGBTQ community with the eyes of Jesus, you can maintain a safe distance by wrongfully calling it a “non-issue” or you can wear blinders to how deep the issue runs.

They’ve turned it into an issue of identity.

And if you value the inherent worth and dignity of any person, then LGBTQ equality isn’t just a gay rights issue… it’s a human rights issue.

Whew! I’m about to topple off of my soapbox… I’m getting dizzy up here and the air is a little thin and I know the risks of attempting to simplify such a complex issue but after all of these years of thinking about, counseling about, praying about and living in this “gay” life, my conclusion is this:

I’m gay because God made me this way but I’m proud because oppression made me this way. If you want to make it a non-issue as it should be, help end the oppression.

23 thoughts on “The Religious Right Made Me Proud

  1. Yeah! You go, girl!!! 🙂 Love this post. I just read Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal. You should read it. It examines many of the Right’s leaders and why the behave like they do. It’s fascinating, and appropriate to this post.

    • Denise, I’ll have to take a look at that book, when I can handle not getting angrier ;0) Glad you enjoyed this post. When I get all fired up (ready to go!), I am usually a little nervous about how it comes out. But on this one, I felt like it was time to draw a few lines and make sure that it’s clear that oppression is everyone’s concern. How do we think Bin Laden’s are made anyway? When people call extremism a non-issue… that’s one factor!

  2. Every time someone speaks out, the forces of oppression become a little weaker. So brace that soapbox lest it wobble, and keep challenging ideas that are destructive. And may you always be surrounded by friends and allies.

    • Barbara ~ Thank you for challenging me to value my own voice. If oppression does in fact weaken with my ranting, then we may all be in for a wild ride :0)

    • George ~ ahh, that gives me strength today. When I get vertigo, I do trust that a fellow warrior will come along and remind me that I’m not alone. Thank you!

  3. Rock on, Sister Gail! You’ve nailed the point of pride perfectly — it’s not about arrogance; it’s about self-respect. The harder they try to push us down, the stronger we get. Don’t they call that “resistance training” at the gym? In my 30 years of watching our progress, I know the end of the struggle is finally near. Thanks for putting it into modern perspective.

    • Thanks, Ellen! I’m hoping we’re getting somewhere and I’m personally counting on those who have gone before me to wave some flags or shout “hoo-yah” or some other kind of celebratory or macho response to let the youngins know if we’re on the right track :0) Do you truly believe the end is near? by near… you think I’ll see full inclusion and equality in my lifetime?

      • Don’t know if you’ll see it in the US. but in Canada we recognize same gender marriage and many prominent people are “out of the closet”, including Gov’t MP’s and MLA’s. There are other Countries in Europe who don’t have the obsession with sex the the US has. I very much wish the US Christian Churches would focus more on social justice, which is what the Gospel commands, instead of trying to control the sexual lives of people. If the Churches want to focus on sexuality, at least they should link it to love and not control.

      • Absolutely. Though it may not seem like it in some ways, we are more included now than we’ve ever been. The fact that teenagers are “allowed” to be who they are still blows my mind. I am still learning of high school classmates that were gay but we could never have shared that with each other then. I never imagined marriage to my partner but that may even become a reality in my lifetime. Yes, we have come a long way, baby!

        • Yeah I get that way about what the gay teen’s experience is now versus 15 years ago… I like to remind them that I’m old enough to remember a day when Ellen D “wasn’t gay.” :0) Okay… I think I will concur. There is an end in sight for all of this oppression. Glad we are fellow agents of change!

  4. You are not speaking Biblically and are a false teacher. Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.

    NO WHERE does the Bible state we have a “mother earth” That is satanic, humanistic, false teaching. NO WHERE does the Bible say we are to stay in sin…we are called OUT of sin. The Bible STATES what sin is. This does not mean sin does not exist or it is easy to overcome, the Bible tells us it is a NARROW PATH TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. YOU ARE OFFENSIVE TO GOD FOR LEADING HIS PEOPLE INTO A SINFUL & LYING DOCTRINE! THAT IS NOT LOVE! You want to know who created tough love & regulations for his children? GOD!

    • Everyone try to treat our new reader with more love than he has for you… It will be an exercise in humility and mercy. I wasn’t going to approve it but I thought I’d throw it out there to the group to respond.

    • La, a friend of mine reminded me that just a few lines after what you quoted to us are the words, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2) You have in a sense, publically judged yourself.

    • Apart from the hugely offensive and judgemental tone of this post, I find it interesting that ‘Ia’ lacks the courage and honesty to put their name to their comments. If you are going to judge at least let folk see who is judging them!

      Here in Scotland TODAY, 23rd May, there is a crucial debate in the Church of Scotland General Assembly as to whether to ordain openly gay ministers. Rev Scott Rennie in Aberdeen was called by his church and approved by Presbytery a few years ago – so all the correct procedures were adhered to. The Church of Scotland is not the denomination in which I minister but today’s debate obviously has huge implications for every other church.

      The problem here, as in every similar situation, is NOT LGBT folk, but homophobia. This needs to be acknowledged and named. Not only does it contradict scripture to so openly hate or condemn, but it is nonsensical to say that if ‘you’ are included then ‘I’ am hurt and will threaten to leave/split the church – and comparing this hurt to the pain of overt rejection experienced by those excluded.

      We have a saying in the UK: are you threatening to take your ball home? (i.e. you taking the ball stops the whole game)

      So, Ia, my last comment would be that we must remember that love is the greatest commandment – of God, of your neighbour and of yourself. Love should guide everything we say and do.

  5. It’s almost impossible to respond to la’s post. he or she “knows” – I also “know”. I presume he is as convinced of his opinion being correct as I am of mine. Not much to say except “go in peace”.

    I believe that there are opportunities for education but refuse to get into debates with people who think they know all about God and what God wants.

    • I’m not sure I know anymore how to respond to people who hate. I’ve done so much work to get them out of my life but they are still out there. Thanks for your words, barbara! If I’m going to pursue this inconvenient conviction, I’m going to learn how to navigate the wild world of fundamentalism.

      • How much do we need to inter-act with people who are destructive? Where do we stop and say: “This isn’t good for me”. We all deserve good friends and companions who treat us with respect. Life is too short to argue or try to change people who enjoy being destructive, manipulative or self righteous … it’s probably also a hopeless endeavour.
        The best we can do is endure them with compassion and patience. ……. or

        humour! I was reading an article some time ago about a group of clowns who showed up at the Fred Phelps gatherings and disrupted things by “clowning around”. Then there are the Raging Grannies, http://raginggrannies.org/

        Humour has been an act of protest for a long time.

        And most of all, remember to breatheeeee!
        🙂

  6. If the absence of a rapture yesterday is any indication, then none of us has a corner on what is true for the world. All of us may share our own TRUTH, but none of us will ever be able to declare what that means for others, not even the Bible. I am a respecter of other people’s truth but feel no need to embrace it as my own. Thank you, la, for sharing yours. I wish you well in your endeavors to follow it for yourself.

  7. I have found that those who take the Bible literally can often take it being thrown back at them just as literally. So I will often use it to my advantage when I run across hateful people. I use it to exit stage right, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” Matthew 10:14 (NIV) -I simply don’t waste my time, which in essence is God’s time. I will try once or twice to get my message across. If they will not receive my message, I leave. Unfortunately, as Jesus said, he did not come to bring peace. And his message would even separate biological families, this has happened in my own family. Sometimes the definition of “family” extends beyond biological ties.

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