On Friday I woke up in Olathe Kansas to the news that the Supreme Court finally ruled that state bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. My news feed on Facebook quickly became overrun with rainbows and happiness, and it was wonderful.
And then the jerks came out. The happiness of others makes them sad, they said. Simply agreeing with the “homosexual agenda” makes you a satanic heretic, they said. You’re promoting sin and leading people to hell along with you, they said. God needs to hurt or break you so you’ll turn back to him, they said. Your mind is so warped, they said. Oh, and all of this love.
Love is defined by actions, by how you treat other people, and these statements are not loving. It isn’t loving to hurt people who believe differently. It isn’t loving to ignore everything we say and throw random bible verses and condemnation at us. Saying that you do it “out of love” does not help, it only calls into question your definition of love.
The angry, selfish, and hateful comments that I’ve seen in response to this ruling are many, and some have even come from people who I formerly thought were actually kind and gracious people despite their beliefs. It seems that now, since the fight is over and they have nothing to lose, we will see who they truly are. We will see the ugliness of people so selfish that when a certain demographic gains legal rights that are equal to everyone else’s, they can only whine about how it might affect them. We will see the hatred of people who are so desperate to stop others from committing a certain “sin” (because doing so gives them a feeling of superiority), that they will do anything, even break the law.
Several decades ago, interracial marriage in America wasn’t legal. Just as with the abolition of slavery, many Christians made passionate arguments about how it was a sin and should not be legalized. The climb of interracial marriage toward being accepted by the majority was slower than the acceptance of same-sex marriage, and there are still Christian pastors who refuse to perform marriages between people of different races. Oddly enough, they still have the right to do so.
Christians these days like to quote a few Christian abolitionists, or Christians who supported interracial marriage when it was an issue, and claim that it was actually Christianity that drove the social progress in those issues. Obviously, with plenty of Christians opposing them, the credit can’t go to the religion. It was through the work of selfless and compassionate people that we achieved greater freedom. Some of them were religious, some were not.
The same is true for the current ridiculous fight about same-sex marriage, and no doubt several decades from now Christians will take credit for the legalization of it. That’s what conservative American Christianity does; it fights against the rights of people it doesn’t like, whines about being persecuted when said people end up getting equal rights, and then takes credit for all the good in the world.
With such a huge increase of acceptance for LGBT people lately, even among Christians, it shouldn’t be long before the hate-filled bigots become a small minority, just like the ones who oppose interracial marriage. They’ll either die off (because many of them are older), or realize it isn’t loving or productive or reasonable at all to prevent strangers from living according to their beliefs.
It is understandable that some Christians might be worried about facing backlash from LGBT people, now that the majority of the population approves of same-sex marriage and it’s officially legal. Any bully will feel some anxiety when he finds that his victim has gained power and might be able to take revenge.
I don’t think that will be a problem, though. Christians still have the right to be racist, pastors still have the right to not perform interracial marriages, and likewise they will (hopefully) always have the right to not perform same-sex marriages. This is called religious freedom, something that was put into law centuries ago. There are laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of believing in a god, and there should also be laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of believing there’s nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. In both cases, people should have the right to believe whatever they want and live according to those beliefs, as long as their actions don’t harm others.
Sadly many states still don’t have such protection for LGBT people, so there are places where they can be legally fired or kicked out of their apartments for nothing more than being who they are (or if you prefer, living according to their beliefs). With a large portion of Christians standing against laws that would protect LGBT people from unfair treatment, it’s no wonder they’re afraid their “enemies” will try to destroy religious freedom in retaliation. They know what they’ve been doing, and now they’re afraid the same thing will be done to them.
But there are plenty of LGBT Christians, and LGBT people in general have been some of the most forgiving and gracious friends I’ve had. It’s one of the things that made me reconsider the anti-gay indoctrination I’d received as a child. The obsession with controlling the private lives and beliefs of other people seems to be particularly centered among Christians. It’s true that there are non-Christians who want to oppress Christians, but thankfully they are a minority. As far as I know, we tend to be more interested in letting other people live as they want. A large portion of the founders of America were deists and other non-Christians, and they’re the ones who established religious freedom.
To the non-Christian LGBT people (like myself), I would urge you to repay the evils of conservative Christianity with kindness, and bring this “war” to an end. Peace is my greatest goal, and we will not have peace until one side or the other stops attacking. Perhaps, once we gain the same rights and freedoms and legal recognition as Christians have had for centuries, we can let it go and forget about them. Perhaps then I won’t need to write these articles anymore, and we can move on to more important matters…like eliminating poverty, helping the sick, and feeding the hungry.
What if we could let angry bigots speak their words to an empty audience? What if instead of taking every opportunity to fight for our right to live according to our beliefs, we could go about our actual lives and let those jerks see just how little our freedom affects them?
Maybe when they find themselves shouting into a void, they’ll realize we don’t care what they believe, as long as they don’t push it on us with laws or discrimination. Maybe then they’ll finally realize that is exactly what we’ve been asking of them…nothing more than the freedom to live according to our beliefs, as they already do.