A Gay Lifetime


  “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!

Comments

  1. Some Old Programmer says

    I’ve been ruminating on this very topic. I find myself, rather unexpectedly, married and raising now-adolescent kids. The quandary I have is, how do I explain to our kids my various attitudes and prejudices?

    On topics of sexual minorities, my experience growing up was the polar opposite of theirs. The 60s and 70s in Southern California was no Bible Belt, but still I can recall no occasion where the mere existence of gay people was acknowledged. I read widely from both public an school libraries, but I can only recall one book that even had a hint of same sex attraction (“The Man Without A Face”–not an endorsement). How do I explain the sense of deep isolation due to my sexuality? Is there anything I can say that will resonate?

    My kids have grown up calling my first boyfriend’s mother “Grandma Linda”. She and I went through a lot together as he was dying of HIV. So a decade after he died, when I called her to tell her that we were going to have a baby, she only took a few seconds before exclaiming “I’m going to be a Grandma!”. So I explain my deep and abiding loathing of the Republicans in general and Ronald Reagan in particular by explaining their complicity in ignoring HIV. I talk about the segment of the evangelical conservative base that delighted in the pain, suffering, illness, and death that stalked the gay community. I tell them of the “all the right people are dying” quote, and the laughter in the White House press briefing when the presumed straight administration and press corps dismissed people with HIV as the other.

    I have a long and tedious list of businesses that I avoid. Whether they drew my ire from public homophobic statements, or private discrimination experienced, it’s Quixotic, but they don’t deserve my custom. The same goes for travel to various countries and states.

    I marvel at the baseline of improved treatment of many classes of people that my kids are growing up with. And I envy them that, while I am also glad for them that the country has matured. But I also recognize that more needs to be done, that regressive forces will be around for a long time.

Any Thoughts?