Friday, October 22, 2010

Someone's Got to Set an Example

Thousands of people in Finland have left their church over recent anti-gay remarks.

This is what it looks like when a church is held accountable to members for its anti-gay rhetoric. Huge love to the former members of Finland's Evangelical-Lutheran and Orthodox Churches for actually DEMONSTRATING that this matters to them instead of whining and making excuses like Americans.

Meanwhile the suicides of two more gay teenagers have hit the news.

17-Year-Old Gay Teen Terrel Williams Kills Himself Following After-School Attack

Corey Jackson. 19. Gay. College Student. Killed Himself on Tuesday.

I want all those people who wore purple two days ago to think long and hard about what they're actually willing to do to show solidarity with these kids, or whether they were just looking for a pat on the back and an ego boost for themselves on Wednesday.

If your denomination has made anti-gay statements, show a little backbone and demonstrate that these stories matter to you. I'm tired of choking on the insincerity and excuses from people who claim their hearts are breaking, but won't so much as stop attending churches that preach the very hatred and disdain that feeds this bullying.

Dan Savage is a problematic figure for a lot of reasons (so I'm by no means saying I agree with him on everything forever), but he had it right when he said the following:

The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or in your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. And while you can only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, your children have the option of attacking actual gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Gay and lesbian children. (...)

You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.

Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words?

Stop attending churches you disagree with about homosexuality. Stop dragging your children to churches that are teaching them to hate other kids, or themselves. Stop telling me how much you love your gay friends, and then faithfully attending lectures on how depraved and inverted and unworthy they are.

Show a little backbone and stand behind those convictions, or stop asking for pats on the back for having them. Having them isn't enough. Burden of proof is on you. Nobody is going to believe what you say if you're contradicting it by what you do--or don't do.

Much love to the Finns here. Hopefully Americans will learn from this example.

No comments: