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My pastor says your kind are sinful.
Section 7 of 16

I am deeply religious. My pastor (or evangelist, or political action group) says your kind are sinful, an abomination. I don't hate gays. I can forgive, but not condone. How does your message speak to me and my church?

 

The answer: Your religion really has a lot less to do with it than you've been led to believe. Just as the State has no business telling you what your churchmembers can believe, you have no business asking the State to intercede in others' lives to enforce your view (or your church's) of how they should live.

If your church demands that you condemn others to a substandard legal existence on the basis of its cultural class distinctions, whether you practice those demands is your responsibility, not your church's.

If you do not like being forced to choose between being a good citizen and a good church member, then your church is reprehensible for putting you in such a compromising position, and so are you if you accede to it.

This is a land of many churches, and there are many good churches and places of worship. If you picked a bad one, don't hide behind your religion or pretend that you can't help believing in what you are told to believe.

No matter what your creed or church, you can choose to change churches without changing your sect or breaching your faith.

It is important for you to admit responsibility for accepting or denying this choice. Many pastors are more like most politicians than they care to admit. If their following grows small enough, they will change their tune -- or move on to a new game or a new flock. Whether they go or stay is your choice, not theirs.

Almost every gay person understands that our culture does not make it easy to gain and understanding and trust of those who are different. Not only has almost every gay person been subjected to the discomfiture, ignorance or hatred of others, many have absorbed some of this from upbringing, training, or peer group mythologies.

We should understand that if it has been difficult for so many of us to emerge from denial into self-acceptance, it may be even harder for others who have never been through that.

There is no need to here enumerate all the teachings of the churches which have been taken as sanction to promotion of homophobic attitudes and discriminatory legislation in America.

There is no civic requirement that you love all gays unconditionally "for who they are", though this poses some interesting theological contradictions for homophobes within the church.

There are two basic civic requirements in this respect that many churches have been lax in acknowledging:

  1. You should be respectful for your neighbor, his person and his property, even if you do not love him
  2. You should not attempt to gain a position of legal superiority over your neighbor by advocating, sanctioning or sponsoring enaction of laws which would deprive him of the same rights you enjoy under the law.

That is all it takes to satisfy the requirements of being a good citizen while satisfying the requirements of being true to your church.

If your church preaches hate rhetoric, and this is the feature that attracts you to it, there is nothing in this message for you, but don't turn your back. There is more.

 

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