Friday, October 22, 2010

Bullying of gays and Christianity (warning of some harsh language)


One of my friends had A link on his Facebook page which got me thinking about where we are as a society as well as how Christianity is perceived by society. It's a correspondence between a Christian whose against same-sex marriage and Dan Savage, a Seattle columnist and an advocate of the IT GETS BETTER PROJECT , an organization that educates against bullying, particularly the bullying of LGBT teens. Here is the correspondence (WARNING! Some harsh language ahead):

Gay Kids Are Dying, Fuck Your Feelings
October 14, 2010

Dear Dan: I was listening to the radio yesterday morning, and I heard an interview with you about your It Gets Better campaign. I was saddened and frustrated with your comments regarding people of faith and their perpetuation of bullying. As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage, I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man who took his own life.

If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man, and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint.

To that end, to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive. Being a follower of Christ is, above all things, a recognition that we are all imperfect, fallible, and in desperate need of a savior. We cannot believe that we are better or more worthy than other people.

Please consider your viewpoint, and please be more careful with your words in the future.



I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.

No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: Fuck your feelings.

A question: Do you "support" atheist marriage? Interfaith marriage? Divorce and remarriage? All are legal, all go against Christian and/or traditional ideas about marriage, and yet there's no "Christian" movement to deny marriage rights to atheists or people marrying outside their respective faiths or people divorcing and remarrying.

Why the hell not?

Sorry, L.R., but so long as you support the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, it's clear that you do believe that some people—straight people—are "better or more worthy" than others.

And—sorry—but you are partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable LGBT children. The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or in your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. And while you can only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, your children have the option of attacking actual gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Gay and lesbian children.

Try to keep up: The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from the lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies about us that vomit out from the pulpits of churches that "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your children license to verbally abuse, humiliate, and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your children—having listened to Mom and Dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry—feel justified in physically abusing the LGBT children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.

Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words?

Did that hurt to hear? Good. But it couldn't have hurt nearly as much as what was said and done to Asher Brown and Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas and Cody Barker and Seth Walsh—day-in, day-out for years—at schools filled with bigoted little monsters created not in the image of a loving God, but in the image of the hateful and false "followers of Christ" they call Mom and Dad.

I don't buy a lot of what Savage had to say, but I understand the anger, particularly in light of he recent tragedies. Mr. Savage is boiling down the Christianity to the lowest caricature - the fundamentalist idiot.

As a person of the Catholic faith for most of my life, I have never...ever...heard gays,gay marriage or gay children, being cut down from the pulpit of any Mass I've ever attended. The only thing I have ever taught my children about dealing with people is that everyone deserves respect, and to treat others the way they'd like to be treated by others. That NO ONE knows how ANYONE else is with God. Period.

Am I aware of what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality? Yes. Do I buy it hook line and sinker? I can't say that I do. The Church presents it as a "disorder". We're all disordered to some extent, but that's not keeping most of us from entering into civil contracts to set up housekeeping, insurance, benefits, legal rights, and adoption rights. There's something that rubs me the wrong way about an entire segment of a free society that is denied all these rights. But that's just me.

On to bullying. My son was a victim of it for 2 years. My friends and I (especially the friend who linked this article)dealt with it all through high school. No one, but no one, deserves to be physically and emotionally demeaned and abused in that fashion. It's got to stop.

Daily Mass Readings
Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalm 24:1-6
Luke 12:54-59

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A New Day.

My parents had a small wooden plaque with an inspirational quote in the den. It was there for at least my first 15 years of life. I looked at it and read it every single day. More often than not I ignored its message. This morning I remember, feel it, and am trying to live it. The quote was as follows:
Today is the beginning of a New Day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or grow in its light,
And be of service to others.
But what I do with this day is important
Because I will have exchanged a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever.
I hope I will not regret the price I paid for it.

Browsing around the internet looking for the author of this poem, I found a good number of inspirational-type sites that include some version of it. I almost was let down by finding it...thought is was something unique to my parents' den for some reason. An inspiration meant to speak directly to me. Well regardless to whom this poem is directed, it inspires me today. And I guess that's the point, isn't it?

Daily Mass Readings
Exodus 17:8-13
Psalm 121:1-8
2 Timothy 3:14,4:2
Luke 18:1-8