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
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:
- You should be respectful for your neighbor, his person and
his property, even if you do not love him
- 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
That is all it takes to satisfy the requirements of being a good
citizen while satisfying the requirements of being true to your
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.