Tuesday, May 19, 2009

letter to...

Still "doing the facebook thing," I got involved with a note/comment thread. Perhaps you can access it here

When a friend of a friend got personal, I decided to write my comment, and since the spaces are only so big, I needed to post it somewhere else. Where else? My blog. :) Here is the comment she wrote, with full knowledge that I had already commented on the feed.

She wrote: Would you really fight so hard about this if Ray were not gay and you didn't have the need to reconcile this with Christian teachings? God gives us choices and maybe he gives us tendencies. I tend to want to eat and watch TV for eternity, but I choose not to do that because it is not the best thing for my life and my family's. And don't tell me this is not a parallel to homosexuality. Does God make murderers, adulterers, liars? Did God make Judas? I feel like Dobson, I can't fight any more.* I can't change anyone. I love you all, and hope we will all see each other in Eternity.

*note here that that link was the topic on the facebook note where this occurred. I added it here,


Below is my response, omitting her name.

Hi (person on facebook, who wrote the comment above, and I had to reply)

Well I'm taking the bait to write a reply...

Your question is would I be fighting so hard for this if Ray weren't gay, and if I weren't trying to justify it.

Answer: No. That's because I would never have believed anyone else. I know Ray, and I know what it was like in our family. I had two friends who came out to me prior to that, and they both responded differently. One stayed with her husband, who had also had affairs with other women. Ten years later they are still together, and they told me they don't talk about it much. One of their daughters is gay, and she has trouble reconciling it, too.

Another friend of mine has partnered with her girlfriend, and they have been together 13 years. At first I didn't understand, and yet I loved my friend. I wrote her a letter and I basically said, "I don't understand, but you are my friend, and I love you." When Ray came out to me, she was the one I went to, crying on her shoulder, and she was shocked but was a great comfort to me. She calls me her "oldest and dearest friend," when she introduces me, because all our other friends abandoned her.

But with neither of these friends did I understand, until it happened in MY family, to ME, and being gay was part of the life of someone I know and love.

I would make more sense if I DID NOT accept and understand what it's like to be gay. I could be bitter because I was lied to. I could hate Ray because he left me. I could pitch a fit for all kinds of reasons - but I have c h o s e n not to. (I spaced that out because there is no italics on fb)

I could also be hateful because people won't simply listen to those who are gay, and give them the benefit of the doubt that it's THEM who live it - that they don't choose it any more than the natural color of one's hair or how tall they are or which hand they prefer to write with.

So I DO speak up for them and I will speak up for them and I'm going to keep on saying over and over and over and over: Listen to gay people. They are every bit as worthy as straights. There is NO difference in them as any of the rest of us. They deserve equal rights. They deserve to be accepted and loved and admired, honored, treated with dignity.

They don't deserve to be compared with those who willingly commit crimes or acts of violence. It is NOT comparable to murder, thievery, adultery, gluttony, or any sin.

I could easily take offense because you assume things about my life, but honestly, I am trying not to. Because this has gotten so long I know it will not fit in a comment section, so I will post it as a note on my wall.

In the beginning of this ordeal, I was embarrassed, afraid someone would find out, ashamed. I no longer feel like that. This is not an easy road I'm walking, and your "love" does not feel like love. It feels like I'm held at arm's length, that you are making an exception with me from being like you simply because I don't agree. And when you say, "I hope we will all see each other in Eternity," it feels like you think one of us won't be there. (Btw, I don't even think that is the main reason we follow Christ, just to get into Heaven. I think there is more to it than that.) I am begging you to listen to gay people, and know they are 100% worthy of the same acceptance that you feel, among others, by God. It's the same.

Please don't read this as if there's an edge to it - I'm doing the best I can since we are not sitting with coffee in a kitchen, understanding the emotions involved. Do you have any more questions about my motives? I will do all I can to answer honestly and, as President Obama recently said, let's do it without reducing one another to caricatures.

Sincerely,
Carol

12 comments:

Daniel said...

You are a courageous and inspiring woman, God's wisdom and grace are upon you.

That is a fantastic letter. Very articulate... and as I read it, most certainly did not think the letter was 'edgey' at all. Very sincere and clear. ALthough you disagree with the writer on some points, you are not disrespectful in any way. Good on you!

Mark said...

I honestly don't know where you find the patience.

Carol said...

Mark - it comes in spurts.

hillsideslide said...

I always wish I had a really effective way to break through to folks when they use that line of logic- comparing GLBT lives with someone's struggle with over-eating... let alone murder, alcoholism, pediphilia.

Would love to hear how people have managed to push through this apples/oranges head-butt.

Black Sheep said...

((((Carol))))),

Reading that makes me hurt with you, and actually hurt for her. How sad. She doesn't see what she looks like, either. :( There's so much damage done in the name of Christianity, when people are most concerned about "what's right" vs. love for others. My faith has taken a huge beating over the past few years. I've pretty much lost all faith in humans, but I still very much trust HIS heart. I think you reflect His heart. You are teaching with every interaction, and you display incredible patience and grace. I am soooo glad I found your blog!!!

Black Sheep

Laurie Lunsford/ Entrepreneuse said...

This is well written. I understand what you are saying. It overflows with love.

Karen said...

((Carol))

You do a wonderful and much needed job. Thanks.

Karen

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

Wow...so loving. Thank you for inspiring me with your couageous compassion.

PamBG said...

Your correspondent's argument is one I heard many times in fundamentalism: Don't get to know 'those people' (and there are all sorts of 'those people') or you might end up thinking that they are not so bad and then be blinded to God's truth.

As if compassion, lovingkindness and loving one's neighbour as oneself were dangerous things that were going to lead us away from God rather than integral to the Great Commandment. How do the teachings of Christ get so screwed up that having a pastoral heart is regarded as sinful and having a cold heart is regarded as standing up for truth?

I'm not sure Dobson really 'gave up' but I wish he would. The so-called 'Christian' who desperately needs to control the thoughts of other people has done more damage in the course of human history than most gay people I know.

Fearless Frost said...

You are a brave woman. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

I'd like to share this with you...
http://prop8pledge.blogspot.com

Please, I encourage everyone to join me in taking the pledge. Spread the word!!

Pax79 said...

Hi Carol,

When word worked it's way around that my ex had left and was gay I had someone, and I'm paraphrasing here, suggest that maybe this was God's way of seeing if I would put my money where my mouth has always been about gay/human rights.

Well, now, couldn't they just charm the birds right out of the trees?

To be honest I was rather put out when himself moved out, even raised my voice a few times, but once I drew the line in the sand and he confessed I was just happy to have something to rebuild upon. Not too say there were not some complications with his need to keep the secret for awhile longer etc. but it got better all the time thanks in no small part to my gay and lesbian friends who nurtured me without judgment.

The more boxes people try to force others into the more the world looses. The world would be far less than it is today if all the wonders from medicine to science to religion and art that were given to us by gay and lesbian people were suddenly taken away. It's all so pointless and cruel and quite frankly if you look closely at history and the bible there's little to suggest there's any need for gay and lesbian people to have to suffer this hurtful prejudiced.

Hope you keep fighting the good fight!

Pax

Ricki said...

I agree with those who have already commented and said this was well-written. You are so clearly honest about how you feel, and your reply is gentle and humble. I'm glad that you had the patience and love to respond this way, and to post it publicly because this is relevant to so many people.