“The battle for gay acceptance will only be won after the conversion of Christians.” We are seeing the evidence of that accomplishment in the actions of two men today. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Matt Easton, a Brigham Young University valedictorian are the first to recognize and cross the threshold of gay ownership of a religious home in the greater society of today. What makes their efforts ‘threshold crossing’ is the matter-of-fact honesty of the declaration and its accompanying ‘as we have agreed’ attitude. That attitude has a twist to it that makes it different from what all the gay activists prior to this moment in our political evolution have had. Gays are now walking through the threshold together with enough non-gay co-religionists that the distinction no longer has a difference. ‘God loves us all’ is the subtext of our ecumenical times. This time, ‘all’ includes LGBTQ+ in a full-throated way.
If you need more convincing, take a look at the eight teenagers in this year’s confirmation class at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Neb. They read a letter of their own creation declaring they do not want to become members at this time saying, “we believe that the United Methodist policies on LGBTQ+ clergy and same sex marriage are immoral”! It is a fine kettle of fish when thirteen-year-olds must instruct the Methodist hierarchy as to what is moral.
When the time is right the cherry trees will blossom. Mayor Pete’s rebuttal to the Vice President: “I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” removes the old-fashion demand for equality off our shoulders and places it where it belongs, in God’s hands. Well, at least out of our hands. The cherry tree is ready for all kinds of blossoms and the time is right to elevate remnants of the old demand into the hands of “my creator” (whatever that means to you).
The younger generation, including Evangelicals, doesn’t care for prior bigotries. They ask logical and reasonable questions, when the answers lack justification they say, “We should have dumped that restriction a long time ago.” “Next?”
This article begins with an unattributed quote that I now assume ownership of: “The battle for gay acceptance will only be won after the conversion of Christians.” I realized this truism in the mid seventies when I was first coming out. I had no means to publish it back then so I have no proof of having said it, but I have known it to be true all this time. When normal everyday people join our side and defend us at a risk to themselves in that pressure-zone of conformity, a christian church, then we will achieve our goals. It appears that time has come. And it only took a lifetime!