A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just One Issue, or No Rights for Faggots Pt. 2

Brandy recently expressed her frustration that acceptance of gay and transgender people as full members of faith and society can be "just one issue" among many that can be intellectually weighed in an assessment of a politician or theologian. "Richard Hays is a brilliant scholar, he's just wrong on this one issue." Barack Obama is an inclusive leader, he's just wrong on this one portion, of this one issue. My pastor from Maryland, Dave, is a great guy, he's just wrong on this one issue.

And we, gay and transgender people, are supposed to give these otherwise nice, smart, insightful, or charismatic individuals a pass. After all, it's just one issue. Theories of economics and governance are debatable. Political and even theological priorities are debatable. The effectiveness of various types of education are debatable. When to repave the local road or how many books to order for the library each year are debatable. My humanity is not up for debate. If we believe that being gay or transgender is not a sin, then to say otherwise is to take what God has made good and to call it sinful. It is to put oneself squarely opposite of God.

I understand there is process involved in understanding sexual orientation and gender identity. It was a long process for me. Some gay people I know are still on that journey. Many straight people are just now being asked to begin the process. I respect that.

But when assessing the spiritual insight of men like Richard Hays, we must firmly and decisively say: His insight to God is fundamentally lacking. When judging Senator Obama's leadership: His insight into the fabric of America and family is fundamentally lacking. When assessing Dave's performance: His ability to pastor is fundamentally lacking. This one issue affects countless number of people in real and immediate ways. For straight people, it is mental assent; for gay people, it is sanity, stability, safety, and often even shelter. It is not just one issue.

In recent days, I've had to deal with the emotional trauma of "this one issue." I found out that one of my best friends' boyfriend is on the wrong side of "this one issue." I was shocked because this friend really gets it. "I don't need to hear it from you, this is hard for me too," was her reply to my dropped jaw. But "hard" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what this is for me. For her, this is internal dissonance. The values she holds dear in conflict with one she loves. For me this is my ability to marry, to participate in church, to be protected under the law, to exist in society.

She stood with me and heard the man shout "No rights for faggots" and was offended. She told her boyfriend about it and I'm sure he was offended too. How noble of him. But at the end of the day, that's what he believes: No rights for faggots. The man in the van just said it more clearly than this boyfriend, or Richard Hays, or Barack Obama, or Dave has ever expressed.

When you say I love you but refuse to marry me. When you say I love you but you refuse to learn from me. When you say I love you but refuse to protect me. When you say you love me but refuse to stand with me, you're letting the man in the van speak for you, and he's saying "No rights for faggots!"

1 comment:

D said...

Brian, I couldn't agree more. Thank you for your honest words.

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