If your religious literature states that homosexuality is a sin, I don’t care. You are perfectly entitled to that belief – just as vegetarians are entitled to believe that eating meat is unethical or Jehovah’s Witnesses are entitled to believe blood transfusions are immoral or Muslims and Jews are entitled to believe that eating pork is unclean.
However, vegetarians are not trying to outlaw meat-eating, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not protesting outside of blood banks, and Muslims and Jews don’t try to shut down Jimmy Dean factories. But there are plenty of otherwise very rational and kind people who see nothing wrong with trying to impose their religious beliefs on other members of the population by denying rights to homosexuals.
The largest part of this debate (and I still, for the life of me, cannot understand why equal rights is a “debate” . . . especially in 2012) has been the issue of marriage equality, but it goes beyond that. It is still legal in more than half the country to fire someone for being gay (and legal in 2/3 of the country to fire someone for being transgendered). LGBT teens are more likely to be depressed and commit suicide (but not when they live in supportive environments). We’ve all seen the pictures of people beaten, abused, and killed because of their sexual orientation.
Over the past couple of weeks I have heard the argument that supporters of gay rights are hypocritical because they discriminate against Christians or are intolerant of Christians. Saying that someone is discriminating against you/intolerant of you because they say you can’t (or shouldn’t be allowed to) discriminate against someone else is the most backwards argument I’ve ever heard.
Are there supporters who lump all Christians together? Of course, and I don’t agree with them either. I know just as many Christians who support gay rights as those who don’t. And I find it sad that they need to qualify “I’m a Christian” statements with “but not one of those Christians.”
However, the truth is that most of those speaking out against gay rights happen to call themselves Christians and happen to use their religious literature when they speak out. (Kind of like all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares . . . maybe not “all” in this case, but certainly the vast majority of squares are rectangles.)
Do I think they all “hate gay people”? No, I don’t. What I think is that they are misguided and seem to lack understanding and acceptance of the fact that we do not live in a theocracy. This is not a “Christian nation” and we are not bound by biblical principles, regardless of anyone’s interpretation of them.
Do I think some of them “hate gay people”? Of course. How could I not when you have protesters holding signs stating, “God Hates Fags” and “Fags Die God Laughs”? But I don’t think that because you identify yourself as a Christian that you follow along with them.
Are there people out there who bash Christianity and Christians as a whole? Yes. There are people out there who bash just about everything, and I definitely don’t support that.
But here’s thing — if you’re a Christian, I doubt you have ever walked into your church and had to pass protesters holding signs stating, “Death Penalty for Christians.” If you’re a Christian, all 50 states protect you from being fired because of your religion. If you’re a (straight) Christian, you’re legally allowed nationwide to marry the love of your life, to adopt a child without question, to visit your spouse on his/her deathbed no matter what policies a hospital holds, to walk into any bakery and order a cake for your wedding without risk of being told, “We don’t do Christian weddings.”
If I owned a business and told you that it’s my right to refuse service to whomever I want and proceeded to state that I would not serve Christians, there would be a nationwide backlash. And yet many of the same people who would shout discrimination in that case think businesses have every right not to serve LGBTs.
This is not about an “us vs. them” and it’s not about demonizing Christians and Christianity. It’s about demanding equal rights and equal protection to all people. Nothing more. Nothing less.
***I’d like to just say that I really am tired of writing about this. I have lots of other things I want to write about, but as long as this needs to be discussed, I’ll keep discussing it. This particular post was originally meant to be a FB status no more than a few sentences, but thoughts kept pouring, so I made it a blog post.***