Op-Ed: Despised and rejected – gays and Christianity

Posted Nov 1, 2010 by Andrew John
It’s never been easy being gay – especially gay and religious. It’s got better in some countries – and in my own, the UK, it’s almost cool, and there are laws to protect homosexuals against discrimination.
Gay men in UK
Gay men in UK
That is not to say we gays are equal. We don’t get equal marriage, for instance. We have civil partnerships now, but we can’t call our relationships marriage, as same-sex partners can in some European countries and some American states.
Many gays don’t want to ape the heterosexual community, anyway; don’t actually want their relationships to have anything to do with government. I sympathize with that view.
But, given that marriage is there for one section of the community that finds it natural to pair-bond, it should be available to others who feel likewise. It’s just a leftover of a bygone age that prejudice against gays continues.
Oh, and religion, of course.
Yes, if ever there was a section of the community absolutely obsessed with what people do with their choice portions and dangly bits, it’s the religious. And just don’t they make a fuss!
Same-sex pair-bonding has been around since time immemorial, but it’s organized religion that has made it such a taboo. And it’s that same organized religion, taken to Africa by our forefathers in the guise of missionaries keen to impose our God over their gods, that now jumps out at us from that continent, and gives rise to Anglican bishops who have threatened on more than one occasion to cause a schism in the Anglican Communion because some of its member organizations don’t really mind too much what people do with their bits and pieces, just so long as it doesn’t frighten the horses.
Wailing and gnashing of teeth
The Episcopalians in the USA are a case in point. They not only have women bishops, but have an openly gay woman bishop (as well as at least one openly gay male one in the form of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire).
The latest bishop there to cause a rumpus by daring to be homosexual is Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. Her election as a bishop caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth, including concern by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
Williams – rather amusingly, I thought – recently said being a gay bishop was OK, as long as you resisted any sudden urge to go upstairs to put your things together. In other words, you can be of an orientation that, by his philosophy, is created by God, but can’t do what, presumably, God would want you to do with that “gift”: go and enjoy it.
And why did I use the word “openly” twice in mentioning gay bishops above? Well, it’s inconceivable that there aren’t any more gay prelates. Indeed, it’s been said that that the Anglican Church would fall apart if all its gay clergy upped sticks and left.
Episcopalians are not the only ones who have a more enlightened view, of course. The United Church of Canada has such a view, as does the United Church of Christ. Provided the relationships are monogamous.
And the Metropolitan Community Church is there specifically to cater to gay and lesbian Christians, as is the UK’s Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
So it’s not Christians per se who are the proverbial pain in the arse for gay people, just those of the Bible Belt, Catholics and some Evangelicals. And the Anglican Church in Africa.
Now I don’t believe in God. I don’t deny a progenitor of some kind, because one can’t prove the absence of one. But an ineffable God? One so ineffable that outspoken religionists know what he’s thinking?
However, if there is an intelligent, thinking presence in some spiritual or other-dimensional form and it knows what is happening in this dimension, is it going to concern itself with how people pair-bond? It’s not even as if same-sex relationships somehow got in the way of the “go forth and multiply” principle.
For one thing, gay people are capable of producing offspring. They just don’t get a big kick out of doing what’s necessary to achieve it.
For another thing, we don’t need more people. The world has far too many already, thank you very much. Every new life makes demands on an already overstretched ecosystem. Every new life – in the West, anyway – will one day want a car and a washing machine, a computer and several iPods and other electronic consumables. Each one takes its toll.
‘Hang them’
But the more certifiable religionists seem to think that what goatherds and nomads wrote in the Bronze Age has some relevance today. They’re happy to obey Leviticus 18: 22, which says a man shall not lie with another man as with a woman. But other edicts in that same third book of the Old Testament will say you mustn’t wear clothes of mixed fibres.
Bang goes that polycotton shirt you were going to wear this evening!
If the editor of Rolling Stone had his way all gay people would be hanged. (Rolling Stone is a Ugandan tabloid, and not associated with the American magazine of the same name, which has condemned its namesake).
Giles Muhame’s paper recently listed 100 gay and lesbian people alongside the words “hang them.” Four people have been attacked in Uganda since that list appeared, according to gay-rights groups. It has now published a second list of gays, and wants police to arrest them.
I am sure this young man believes homosexuality is evil enough to warrant harsh measures. But who put that idea into his rather immature and idiotic head?
You won’t need three guesses.