A grandpa of a friend mine wrote a letter to his family about why, as Christians, they voted Republican.
Listening to it read aloud, one passage pricked my ears.
“gays are so sex obsessed. They’re like animals!”
Nods of agreement all around.
In the same minute that I muster up the courage to call them out on their bigotry, they turn on the TV and call their first witness. Drifting across the screen is a float carrying a couple of nearly-naked dudes grinding on each other to some techno jams blasting away in the background.
They are followed by ten more doing the same.
There is hooting and hollering and kissing and… more than kissing
And… just barely murmuring through all noise is… some sort of spontaneous frenzy… like reminiscent of the people of Tokyo in the shadow Godzilla… We strain our ears and crawl over to the speakers just to make it out…
No, a mob- A mob made of moms and dads frantically calling for their kids, placing their hands over their eyes, preserving what innocence they have left and then… running like hell for the hills.
In this moment, with both convictions and pride on the line, I cannot bring myself to hum and sway along. I cannot shoo them away with my hand while whispering, “it’s fine by me- you intolerant pig.” I just can’t. It would defy my conscience. It would be dehumanizing. It would be calling pornography art. It would diminish the debate of equal rights.
Because what we’re watching is not a response to injustice,
Nor is it a celebration of diversity.
it’s just a sex romp.
My mind travels to the clientele regulars leaving the strip club only to cross paths with the old lady crying, “that is someone’s daughter in there!”
When was the last time we called out a Pride Parade like that? I’m speaking to the Christian LGBT folks and allies alike. How is the parade reflective who we are? Better question- How does it reflect our faith?
I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right, if I looked like a J Crew model I too would be tempted to show off my tip-top bod via form fitting jeans and topless jogs. Really, I just might…
But if I believed that this was all I had to offer, wouldn’t you call me shallow? Moreover, wouldn’t you tell me that I am selling myself short?
I hope you would. I’d do the same for you.
Even if the conversation was completely limited to my sexual orientation, do you think I would define myself in such a slutty way? What If the tables were turned? Would you say the same for yourself?
The blogger at Gay Christian, Very Anxious gives a more generous description of what it means to be gay than I have seen any other Christian, gay or ally, do:
“My sexuality has allowed me to have uncomplicated friendships with women, deepened my empathy for the marginalized, and strengthened my faith through intense, personal questioning. It amounts to so much more than attraction to other men, which anyway is as emotional and spiritual as it is sexual. Christians ignore that, because they focus so intently on gay sex, moralizing a very minor component of homosexuality.”
I wish so much that this was the perception of every gay person.
But then I hear the battle cry rolling down the streets of Pride telling me that it is my body that is my best. That I can only know how to exist when someone else wants me in bed. That I am a body with a soul and not a soul with a body.
More than just clothes get stripped away when we reduce ourselves to sex toys. With the shirt goes our dignity and with the pants what’s left of our pride.
And with the parade, goes the perception of us all.
But I sympathize with these kids. They have been told for far too long that all they are is their sexuality; a lie said enough for them to start believing it. And it may surprise you, but it’s a lie that leads us back to the conservative church community. It is a weird circle, but a circle nonetheless. For those already inside, the Church encourages suppression creating a time bomb of affections. Attention is drawn to one detail and it becomes the whole painting. It becomes the prison. An iron mask. For those on the outside, the church accuses them of being sex-obsessed and animal-like.
The parade is an upper cut swing to the Church’s low blows. It is a mirror reflection of how the Church has whored itself out to the lowest common denominator through hateful rhetoric and prejudicial politics.
One calls the other perverted imps.
The other freaks out the faithful through naked float grinding.
It’s a boxing match.
I am all for living openly and authentically, but the Pride Parade just doesn’t fit that definition for me.
I want this community to be more than that.
Save your six-pack, I want to see your soul.
And hear your poetry. Your songs. I want a testimony told through blood, sweat and tears. The true one. The battle scars. The worst days and the best. Everything besides what your body looks like.
Despite what the media, LGBT friends and allies, and the church may tell you, who you are is not where your attractions lie.
As the sea change gets stronger in both the country and the church, I am praying that my LGBT brothers and sisters enter with a sense of grace and self-respect. We owe at least that to ourselves.