Thursday, 20 December 2012

None Of My Best Friends Are Gay

I am going to be brave. When the Pope says that proponents of gay marriage are enemies to peace and justice in our world, he is wrong.  Just about as wrong as he could be, in my opinion.

Gays wishing to marry one another are not strapping explosives to their chests and walking onto buses, or proposing laws (as in Uganda) that homosexual men and women  be put to death. Neither are they scouring the Internet for anthrax spores, or blocking all attempts to slow climate change...

Surely, these are far worse threats to 'justice and peace'?

I am saddened, because I believe in making statements like these, a man of God legitimises the persecution of the gay community, and persecution is what REAL sin looks like.

Attitudes to gay people are coloured by two different kinds of prejudice. Voluntary separation, and culpable ignorance.

I own up to the first. I didn't know that I knew any  gay people until twenty years ago, when a parent of one my students came to explain that she was leaving her husband for another woman. I confess, I was shocked, and had to struggle not to show it. I wrestled with the problem, MY problem, for some time. Was Jane a different person? No. She had become a friend, and her sincerity, warmth, generosity and humour hadn't changed. She  is the person now, that she was before she came out as gay. Light  and shade, good and bad, just like me. She hadn't changed towards me, and I saw no reason whatever to change towards her.

My daughters told me about their friends who were gay, and they taught me that to judge anyone by their sexual orientation was a foolish, unenlightened and cruel thing to do. In my heart of hearts, despite what Christian fundamentalists shriek from their foxholes, I know that rejection and persecution of gay people is WRONG.

The second prejudice is driven by culpable ignorance. Neural science and the science of genetics are demonstrating that homosexuality is NOT unnatural, it is NOT purely a 'lifestyle choice' and it CANNOT be 'corrected' by prayer or reorientation therapies. The facts are out there, published in mainstream scientific journals, and to ignore them in order to hold on to prejudice and fuel persecution is unconscionable.

I plead with all people of faith to take a long hard look at what they believe about gay people. If it tends to hatred, think again about the 'lifestyle choice' of the Prince of Peace, who sought out those whom everyone else marginalised, rejected and persecuted.

Perhaps for some of us it would be a good move to declare gays our enemies, then, for God's sake, we'd HAVE to love them...

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