This has been a long standing sentiment, but this particular thought was sparked by an incident that occurred recently in Arkansas (where, I am proud to say, I received much of my fine edjumication). The Huffington Post (I know, but bear with me) posted this report:
An Arkansas School Board member recently launched an inflammatory anti-gay tirade on Facebook that ran the gamut from basic bigoted slurs, to encouraging "f*gs" to commit suicide and announcing that he'd disown his own children if they were gay.
My initial thought was to wonder just what kind of "tirade" this was and whether or not the report was just more media sensationalism. But no. Here is quote from Clint McCance himself:
"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."
In this quote really lies my major problem with people like this. For some reason, there are people in this world who think that sin is a justification for hate, which is ironic since that hate they are seeking to justify is itself a sin. It isn't every sin of course, because then there would be a lot of self-hatred (though I suspect there is). It's only homosexuality. Liars we'll forgive. Lechers we'll forgive. If you're Andre Leonard you'll even readily forgive pederasts. But if you are a homosexual, then for McCance you ought to commit suicide and for Leonard you ought to get AIDS.
It isn't even simply the fact that this view is misguided which really bothers me the most. After all, a lot of people are misguided (going on seven billion). What drives me up a wall is that people like Leonard, McCance, and Phelps make it that much harder for people to operate in a position of responsible Christian ethics, which includes both moral purity and love. I cannot adhere to the belief that God intends for sexuality to be expressed exclusively in heterosexual marriages without having attached to that position images of foul mouthed picketers and grammatically incorrect tirades. (Incidentally, was anyone else really concerned that a school board member used the term "thereselves?") People are driven by those images to the opposite extreme, which says that homosexual behavior must somehow be morally admissible because to think otherwise is to be a backward, hateful bigot.
It leaves me (and certainly countless other Christians) in the position of wanting to suggest that homosexual behavior is a sin that should be corrected but being unable to do so without having read into that suggestion more than is really there. I can say that marital infidelity is wrong. I can say that premarital sex is wrong. I can say that polygamy is wrong. But to say that homosexuality is wrong is to open yourself to a wealth or largely inapplicable criticism.
It is perhaps intrinsic to my position that it should not have a loud voice and therefore should be steamrolled by the cacophonous interchange of more boisterous positions, but I would just like to state for the record that I believe that:
- God intends sex to be between one man and one woman in the confines of a single marriage for the duration of a lifetime.
- Deviation from that divine intent is sinful.
- It is morally irresponsible to acquiesce to sin.
In contrast, I do not believe that:
- Homosexuality is more sinful than the sins which I struggle to overcome.
- Grace is insufficient to cover homosexuality.
- Sin in any way absolves Christians of showing the full extent of their love to one another.
On that last point, I would add that I do not:
- Want homosexuals to kill themselves.
- Hope that homosexuals get AIDS and die.
- Believe that God is killing American soldiers as punishment for homosexuality. (At the risk of being inflammatory, it seems to me that if anything, dying at war is a natural - and somewhat obvious - punishment for being at war.)
And while I know that there are many who do not share my clearly superhuman ability to divorce my sexual ethics convictions from politics, I will also add that I think it is directly contrary to the basic principles on which the American government was founded that:
- Homosexuals should be denied the civil benefits afforded to heterosexual couples.
- Homosexuals should be discharged from the military because their sexual preference has been revealed.
- Homosexuals should be discriminated against in any way in the public sphere on the basis of their sexual proclivities.
Take that for what it is worth, but I cannot help being frustrated that on the basis of the above affirmations that I should be lumped into the same category - even broadly - as people like this:
I like that f*gs cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.
I am against "it" but no more than I am against people like you, Clint McCance.