I don't think I am, but I've struggled with my doubts. It was easier when I had black and white answers to just about everything, but it was long ago that I had abandoned simplistic theology. I learned years ago to accept single moms (or dads). I didn't turn my back on my brother (or my former sister-in-law) when they divorced, even though I didn't understand. It took longer to change my fundamentalist views, and I can remember trying to sort it all, trying to wrap my mind around how it would be to accept that the Bible wasn't literal in all it's written accounts. Then I began to realize that we disregard so much, such as that we don't cut off our hand if it offends us. Most everyone I know eats shrimp, pork, and cheeseburgers. Those things were forbidden in Old Testament Law, but now we have changed. I have several pieces of clothing with "mixed cloth," (they didn't even HAVE polyester in the Bible) and it would seem ridiculous to scrutinize my wardrobe in that way.
Yet somehow there is still offense drawn by church people when it comes gay people. Young people who realize that they have gay feelings often abandon the churches they love being part of, because they hear and internalize guilt over something they don't choose: their sexual orientation. They don't feel that they can be honest if they bring a partner - or simply a date - to a church function. And sadly, we teach kids from a young age to separate from loved family members, just because those family members are gay.
Today I read a post by a guy who blogs on Reconciling Ministries Network. He wrote this:
Am I Innocent?
I lay on my back stretched out on the Futon. The cat hovered above me, her white-tipped paws firmly planted on my chest. She watched me through her green eyes leaping out of tufts of grey fur. She purred as I gently rubbed my hands up and down the length of her body. Suddenly the cat lowered her head and rubbed her forehead on mine, marking me as her possession.
The cat reminded me of the time my partner Derrick and I burst through the door of my sister’s home with red racing cars for Luke, art supplies for Francis and a board book for Louis. My nieces and nephew danced around our feet. “I want to show you my new room,” Francis screamed in competition with Louis waving her new board book in search of a reader. Luke scurried across the living room to play with his new cars.
As Louis sat next to me on the couch and I read her stories, I wondered how she would receive me after "the talk" about her uncle and his friend. Would she grow up like family members who want me to stay away from her. Maybe Louis would never have "the talk", but hear Pastor Dell, Elders Kevin or Don or even her Christian school teacher rail about how "homosexuals are destroying the moral fabric of the nation." Would Louis continue to view me with the innocence we shared learning the alphabet from her new board book?
I just realized how often I ask this question, even subconsciously. Am I innocent? Most of the time, I don’t even hear my soul breathing the question as my family, church and society enforces their reality that being gay or transgender is not innocent.
The cat finished rubbing her forehead on mine, lay down on my chest and slowly lowered her eyelids for a nap. She purred and swirled her tail between my legs.
My insomnia finally surrendered and I fell asleep in the innocent embrace of the cat.
Wow - what a post. It's hard to ask a question like that, much less put your thoughts on a blog. I think it affects many who are going against the flow of what we've always heard. I have so changed from how I was "taught," and I can't go back, but still, there are all the voices that whisper, "What if you are wrong?"
I keep hoping for people to see "just people," and not merely sexual orientation. I keep hoping for those little ones to grow up accepting their uncles and aunts, never giving way to the harmful effects of Sunday School teachers, preachers, and others who damn with their words those who are gay. I hope that they'll grow up to accept the grandparents that have moved far away - the ones who came to accept, later in life, that they are gay, and who felt it necessary to move far away to escape the glares and stares of people they used to go to church with. I want those kids to learn that all love is part of God, and that we can do better than to cause pain by rejecting gay family members.
In our family, we will be ones to raise the grandkids to be the different, new generation, ones who can be accepting, so that gay people won't have to wonder, "Am I innocent?"