I started this blog during the terrible weeks after Trump got elected because I felt compelled to record the travesties which I knew he would perpetrate. After a while, though, the horrible policy decisions and cruel implementation of his agenda wore me down. I could no longer pay the emotional toll to write about his ruination of the grand experiment which this country had been for centuries. I love this country, even though I felt shame for its darkest hours when slavery gripped an entire segment of society or later, when civil rights began to emerge and its champions paid a terrible price in the name of our collective freedom.
A recent conversation with a Christian friend stirred so much bile in my belly that I fell into another period of gloom and confusion. I love this person, and I value this person, but this person (note the avoidance of pronouns so as to conceal identity) saddened me with Christian rhetoric about people who love and desire members of their own gender. My friend flatly and unequivocally stated that folks who identify as gay or lesbian commit sin. The following, hasty qualification that Christians must love sinners did not redeem my friend’s pronouncement.
Whatever common values my friend and I have, we diverge at that point. If my friend reads this, my friend will nod and say that I lack enlightenment. My friend will no doubt encourage me to “love Jesus”. My friend would try to assure me that Jesus “loves sinners”. But I find those arguments disingenuous at best, and criminal at worst.
I have lived to nearly sixty-five years of age. I have known men who loved men. I have known women who loved women. I have known people of both the male and female gender who loved both men and women. I have known people who struggled to accept the gender with which they appeared to be born, yearning to embrace the gender with which their souls identified. I have seen ugliness levied at folks in each of these groups; and once or twice, I have failed to speak against that ugliness, falling silent when I should have defended those under attack.
My opinions about gender, sexual orientation, and gender identification result not from a lack of enlightenment but from knowledge acquired in my six decades on earth. I speak not from an uninformed state lacking only some sudden awareness afforded by exposure to “Christ”. Rather, I speak from experience, study, and exposure to psychology, sociology, literature, and science. My beliefs form after knowing both gay and straight people, as well as reading the scholarly works of those who study sexuality and biology. From all of this comes a certain and true conviction that the diversity of human sexuality comes not by accident but design.
Moreover, I understand the scope of the word “divine” well enough to conclude that no divine entity would judge humans in the way that my Christian friend suggested. I believe that some type of divine entity does exist. The judgment of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender, and queer people as “sinners” does not comport with “divinity”. To paraphrase Ethel Waters, “God don’t make no junk.”
So, to my friend, to any of you who might care: This is why I will never call myself a Christian.
I do not think that people who love and crave intimacy with someone of their own gender sin when they love.
I do not think that people whose skin aches for change from the gender of their birth sin when they seek re-assignment.
I do not think that people sin when they reach for someone of their own gender in the night, longing for closeness and comfort.
If there is a God, I don’t think he/she/it would want me to hold such a narrow definition of love as to preclude the natural and normal instincts of so many humans. I do not think he/she/it has such a small, cold heart as that.
The human experience has broad and breathtaking potential. If we come from dust, and if we return to dust, why would any hand that made us fashion creatures of beauty without allowing for the fullest and most awesome spectrum imaginable? To what corruption must I surrender to reject anyone who does not look or love as I do?
I will never call myself a Christian because I reject the judgment with which Christians view the rest of us. I choose acceptance and empathy instead, and with full knowledge and forethought, with full recognition of the divine spirit which I believe has room in his/her/its heart for all of us.