Today I want to write about something that has bothered me for the better part of a decade. I’ve carved out no fewer than a dozen drafts of this post, all strangely unalike, all ultimately failing to accomplish the job I’ve set out to do. Truth is, I’ve been trying to write it off and on for more than a year now, and the right words have been seemingly impossible to come by.
In the end, and in order to post it, I guess I had to care more about the message than I do about potential backlash. I’m not being facetious when I say that I hope I can get this message across without offending… well… everybody.
What I really hope is that this post will spark and encourage poignant and worthwhile discussion that will lead to some poignant and worthwhile changes in the lives of at least a few people who are hurting.
That being said, I believe some strong words need to be said today.
“God hates fags.” We’ve all seen the signs being waved high in the air by members of the Westboro Baptist church. On TV. In real life. It’s hard not to take notice.
Over the years, I’ve watched seemingly never-ending disgustingness and hatred spill across the media airwaves from those who belong to the organization. For those who don’t know much about that “church,” they have made a seedy name for themselves by doing drastic things like picketing beneath atrocious signs and hosting flagrant anti-gay protests at military funerals.
Almost every person of nearly every religion has no problem loathing and condemning the Westboro Baptist Church and its members, and perhaps with reason. They take freedom of speech far beyond what our founding fathers intended when they fought to give us that right, and they laugh at the rest of the world while they do.
But today I don’t want to talk about those idiots. I want to talk about you. And me.
And my friend who I’ll call Jacob.
Jacob is 27 years old, and guess what… he’s gay.
Not a lot of people know. He lives in a community where being gay is still very “frowned upon.”
I was talking to him on the phone a few weeks ago, telling him about my failed attempts to write this post. He was trying to hold his emotions in, but he eventually became tearful as we deliberated the very problem that this post attempts to discuss.
Before I go on, I feel I must say something one time. Today’s post is not about homosexuality. It’s not about Christians. It’s not about religion. It’s not about politics. It’s about something else altogether. Something greater. Something simpler.
It’s about love.
It’s about kindness.
It’s about friendship
And love, kindness, and friendship are three things that Jacob hasn’t felt in a long time.
I’m thankful he gave me permission to share our conversation with you. It went something like this.
“Jacob, I honestly don’t know how to write it,” I said. “I know what I want to get across, but I can never find the right words.”
“Dan, you need to write it. Don’t give up. I’m telling you, it needs to be said.”
I paused. “You don’t understand. It’s too heated a subject. It’s something people are very emotional and touchy about. I’d be lynched.”
My friend hesitated. “Dan, you are the only friend I have that knows I’m gay. The only freaking one,” he said.
“What do you mean? I know you’ve told other friends.”
That’s when his voice cracked. He began crying.
“Every single person I’ve told has ditched me. They just disappear. They stop calling. They remove me on Facebook. They’re just gone,” he said. “They can’t handle knowing and being friends with a gay person.”
I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t say anything.
“You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”
How do you respond to that?
I wanted to tell him it was all in his head. I knew it wasn’t. I wanted to tell him it would get better and easier. The words would have been hollow and without conviction, and I knew it.
You see, I live in this community too. And I’ve heard the hate. I’ve heard the disgust. I’ve heard the disdain. I’ve heard the gossip. I’ve heard the distrust. I’ve heard the anger. I’ve heard it all, and I’ve heard it tucked and disguised neatly beneath a wrapper of self-righteousness and a blanket of “caring” or “religious” words. I’ve heard it more times than I care to number.
About gay people.
About people who dress differently.
About people who act differently.
About fat people.
About people with drug addictions.
About people who smoke.
About people with addictions to alcohol.
About people with eating disorders.
About people who fall away from their faiths.
About people who aren’t members of the dominant local religion.
About people who have non-traditional piercings.
About people who just look at you or me the wrong way.
I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it over, and over, and over again.
Hell, in the past (and to some degree in the present) I participated in it. I propagated it. I smugly took part in it. I’ll admit that.
And I did so under the blanketing term “Christian.” I did so believing that my actions were somehow justified because of my beliefs at the time. I did so, actually believing that such appointments were done out of… love.
It's hard enough to find a soul mate, someone you can really love and want to spend your life with. I'm a love failure and it's the biggest disappointment of my life. I'm not gay but consenting adults should have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit , as long as they're not hurting themselves or others.
Lisa Parsons marriage was never a protected RIGHT, neither was dignity. I don't want to argue with you about the legality of their decision. I highly suggest your read the constitution cover to cover a few times though.
They didn't make a law, they affirmed that the Constitution included gays and lesbians and that the state laws against them marrying were a violation of that.
Sodom was destroyed because they treated poor people horribly and had no charity. Sounds like a certain political group in a number of countries.Ezekiel 16:49 KJV: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. ISV: Look! This was the sin of your sister Sodom and her daughters: Pride, too much food, undisturbed peace, and failure to help the poor and needy.
Whoever told you you have any right to "allow" or not other adults to do anything? You have no right to decide what other consenting adults do in their lives. Treating competent adults as infants who need you to make their choices is absolutely NOT in any way, shape or form loving.
No, it's distracting people from the TPP, which contains provisions that would allow corporations to get rid of consumer protection laws in all the countries which sign that are "'damaging" to the company, like say...GMO labeling or even GMO bans. http://www.exposethetpp.org/TPPImpactsYou.html
How can god be love and hate anything? That makes no sense. But then, Christians seem to be very good at holding completely opposing ideas at the same time. I'd have to turn off my brain to manage that trick.
An extremely well written post. The only thing I don't agree with is the idea that by showing love to someone else, we can learn to love ourselves more. For each and everyone of us, it starts with us, with me. To be able to truly love another in spite of their differences or beliefs, we first have to love ourselves. It's not easy and all of the good books say we should love each other and they tell us why, but they don't tell us how. It has been said, that which we dislike in others is only a reflection of what we don't like about ourselves. I don't know if that is true, but I do know that once I learned to love myself, because of my faults rather than in spite of them, I found a way to truly love my fellow man.
Thank You for sharing.
@davidacobb That is what I believe too. From my own experience, learning to love myself, my imperfections, and stay on a path of healing helps me love others more than I ever thought I was capable of. Once you experience this, it truly is eye-opening. Doesn't make me perfect, but it sure helps the heart let go of a lot of needless garbage.
The next big fight SHOULD be for adoptee rights. I fear though (and see articles it's already happening) that instead of standing up for adoptee rights, gay couples just want the right to discriminate against adoptees the same way straight people do.Adoptees are legally discriminated against. They are the only citizens who have no automatic right to their own birth certificate. The only people whose birth certificates contain lies. Birth certificates should be a legal record of biological parentage, not ownership papers, which is what the adoption and surrogacy industries have turned them into.Every birth certificate should be a factual record of the biological origins of the person the record belongs to. Hint: It doesn't belong to adoptive parents. Since our culture has long since insisted that the birth certificate include legal parents, instead of erasing the biological parents and replacing them with legal parents, why can we not have both?No more secrecy, no more closed adoptions, no more anonymous donors. No more "amended" birth certificates. Every child has the right to know their biological origins. Change birth certificates to include genetic father, genetic mother, surrogate (if different from mother), legal parent 1, legal parent 2.At the same time, unseal the records for every adult adoptee, in every state. It's long past time to give adoptees their civil rights back.I truly hope that everyone who fought for equality for gays will join together to fight for equality for adoptees. Many are dying of old age never knowing who they come from. The discrimination against adoptees is also a violation of the 14th amendment.
This post is amazing! I am so glad you did write it! It holds true for mental illness also. I suffer from severe depression/anxiety and was just diagnosed with PTSD and I have experienced some of the same things your friend has. People have just disappeared from my life. It is a bit different because it is hard to handle the swings the moods takes when life is REALLY throwing curve balls, and it has been doing that a LOT the last year and a half, it is really hard for ME to handle them. That is why I need a support system so badly and most just ghosted on me. I am about the lowest I have ever been and I have very few people I can trust to talk to and it is very hard! I can't imagine being hated because of who I love. I know what it's like to be hated because of a disease that causes the chemicals in my brain to be out of whack and even with meds and therapy it is almost impossible to control when life has me pinned down and is drowning me. Some people think I should pray more or just think happy thoughts and it will make it better.....that is the exact same problem as hating someone for one of the other reasons listed. You can't fix mental illness by praying it away or thinking happy thoughts. If you could I would have been cured decades ago. Thanks for letting me get it all out. Hopefully someone else knows what I mean also or is helped by what is said.
Dan thank you for this post, i shared it on facebook, i came across it via another friend, I'm glad i read it. I try really hard to teach my children kindness not just for our fellow humans but to animals and all living or non living creatures or things. to me its important to show kindness, i was shown kindness when i was at my lowest and it had a remarkable impact on me that i want to pass on more kindness
It'll be interesting to see if the divorce rate goes down. Clearly straight marriages aren't doing too well :-)
I'd like to meet someone that is ready to take me for whom I am and I take her for whom she is. someone that will make me realize that without her, my life is not complete and who will bring out the good dreams I have being dreaming since the day i was born. someone that will know what i want when i laugh and what i don't want when i'm angry. in one world, i'm really looking for the love of my life, someone to love with all my heart and she love me with all her heart.
Have you ever been divorced? Do you eat shell fish? Do you wear a cotton blend? When or if you get married, the bible says you must be a virgin. These are all written in the bible. I guess that my observations are that most Christians that are against gay marriage talk about following the bible but they really only follow the things that work for them today. We will all be judged, it is not our place nor our ability to judge anyone of this world.
And please tell me when YOU were given the right to judge? I'm CERTAIN only God himself has that right.
The problem is, what you believe in is the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, NOT marriage. Marriage is a legal term. To get MARRIED you need a marriage certificate (license) issued by the state government. You can go down to the church of your choice and commit your life to each other, before God, in Holy Matrimony, but unless you have that license, our government does not recognize you as being married. I think that is the point that so many Christians are missing. Marriage and Holy Matrimony are two different things.
Is it sad that I don't care anymore what other people feel? I'm must concentrating on how I feel. Now, being as that I'm white in this country and all, I have the priviledge & it makes me so sad that not everyone else does too. If we concentrate on our selves & not others, may be that would lead us to a higher plane of existence. I don't mean to sound self-centered. That's not what I mean. But, working on being the best "I" can be. Peace.
I agree with this. Just stop calling it homophobia. They are not afraid of Homosexuality. Not at all. They are just ignorant, which leads to many levels of unnacceptance.
Sad thst you obviously only want to see one side. I value my love and I value what I read in the Bible. I know what God says and I don't have to justify my stance at all. God will have the last word! Enjoy your view but don't proclaim it's the best. Obviously for centuries marriage was valued per The author of marriage and much value was gained in families. Time will tell If the SCOTUS definition will really make a better world. Doubtful!!!
Danielle wills this is not a mudslinging match. Nuff said. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."
Bobbie Taylor I concur. Well written response. And what confounds me is how a court made up of people can "interpret" God's laws. I thought God made this issue pretty clear. Just saying. So I'm guessing the Supreme Court and our government will dictate how we worship and with whom rather than God. A little scary methinks.
We have no right as an unelected Supreme Court ,dirk Neill, to tell churches that they must abide by a governments ruling on a God issue. Simple as that. The Bible certainly is our guide in these matters. Not man.
I am not afraid because I am a child of God. I read so much hate from peeps on Facebook who aren't Christians. If you don't believe why is it necessary to be hateful to those that do? (Pot calling the kettle black) do you feel threatened? You have your opinion re God I have mine. Nuff said.
i put it on my page hopefully somebody will read it and open their eyes as it did for me. The post has helped me so much when I dealt with the rejections and loss of "friends" feeling like there was never anyone who could just love me for me. I am in a much better place now after finding my voice. Thank you Dan for everything you put out there.
When you start trying to pass laws against other sins, we'll talk. Until then you're just a hater to me. Were you a virgin when you got married? Is this your first marriage? Do you wear clothing of mixed fabric? Do you eat bacon? Get over yourself. You're a hateful petulant child who doesn't want to hear the truth. Just as long as you have someone to feel superior to.
I think people on both sides should be allowed to discuss their feelings openly with being called names
"Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone..." Most certainly in life we have to judge. We need to be mindful of the situations we get ourselves in and those with whom we surround ourselves. But only someone with a perfect knowledge of one's heart and the sum of their deeds has the right to pass judgement on our fellow men. Ultimately, He will make those judgements. For now, we need to be kind and respectful to one another regardless of what might be a strong case against someone. We can never know the battle going on in the hearts and minds of others. To judge them is to do so without all of the facts. "The first great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all your might, mind, & strength, and the second is like unto it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Yes, we are at times in situations where judgement calls must be made. But, the job of judging others is not ours.
This is to everyone, including myself:WHAT WE THINK IS IRRELEVANT. SCOTUS RULED.Now stfu about the gays and move onto a new issue. People are starving. I think everyone can agree that starving people is bad, eh?
For the record, I've been a Christian until I realized it wasn't for me. I've tried other religions, hoping to find my "spiritual home." None of them worked for me. I've been to other countries that practice different beliefs. The only group of people who has been consistently disrespectful is people like you. I stated my piece and can back it up. You can spew all the vitriol all you like but I'm not worried what your god is going to do to me. I worry about what I do that contributes to my society, not what's going to happen to my soul after I die. It's what I can do here and now that matters.
Nicole King Duke--You didn't like my orginal post and you came spewing hate. I didn't respond with rudeness and pettiness until you threw it first at me. I've never said I was right, only I would fight for total equality. I won't be ruled by your or any other religious belief systems that are unjust, discriminate, or oppress other people. I will not ever tolerate that kind of crap. Oh and FYI, since Chrisitanity is a spinoff of ancient Summarian culture (that also had the holy trinity, the rape of a virgin to conceive the holy child, and the temper tantrum that destroyed the world of its so-called wickedness, and some other related parables), it's no more than a compilation of other ripped off belief systems.
Michael: As you stated, the term “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution. However, the metaphor of a “wall of separation” comes from a letter President Thomas Jefferson penned to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut—a dozen years after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified. The phrase is not mentioned in the Constitution’s text or in any of the debates leading to its ratification.What the first amendment to the US Constitution does state is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" The two parts, known as the "establishment clause" and the "free exercise clause" respectively, form the textual basis for the Supreme Court's interpretations."“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”—is actually an excellent shorthand critique of those who would sloppily translate the First Amendment’s protections of religious liberty into incoherent hostility toward religion. And that is no laughing matter."
Hi Dan. How is your friend doing these days? I just wanted to reach out and give him a hug. In another community this weekend, someone confessed to being a closeted Christian, and my heart broke for him. He hadn't felt safe enough to tell anyone. I gave him a big hug.