Yesterday marked the 29th annual Pride Parade in Toronto and I feel sick to my stomach.
Not by the GBLTQ community and their supporters celebrating their lives and stories by parading down the city streets, but by what some of my fellow Christians had to say about it.
In between such colourful words as abomination, promiscuity, disgusting and sad, the following statements were uttered by a few different people while discussing Pride Week in Toronto. These are actual, candid, direct quotes (as close as I can remember them) from hetero Christians that came up in conversation. No word of a lie:
–“The garbage on the streets (because of the Toronto civic strike) is a fitting metaphor for the gay people parading on the streets”
–“Sure, they celebrate that, but what about marriage and family? There’s no way they’d let that happen.”
–“The Pride Parade … is Sodom and Gomorrah.”
These were all uttered by respectable, lovely people whom I admire who do wonderful things. Even the less “fundamentalist” Christians think there is something wrong with homosexuals and they need to be saved from their gayness.
There is something drastically different in their views with mine. Since blogs are a platform for your own personal beliefs and ideas, you’re going to get my perspective. I’m a Christian who has issues withmany (if not most) other Christians (especially those who fall under the “Evangelical” category), particularly when it comes to the church’s relationship with the gay community. I don’t doubt there are many gay people who have been brought up in the church who now want nothing to do with it because of how it has treated them. This is tragic, because the followers of Christ could use varying perspectives in terms of race, gender, age and sexuality. For some reason, they’ve been excluded, while prison inmates and other “sinners” (homosexuality is commonly regarded as a sin, while I do not necessarily agree) are embraced and ministered to. Former rapists and murderers are shown God’s love, compassion and mercy while gay people, most of whom have never killed a fly, are told there is something wrong with them and that Jesus wants to un-gay them.
Actually, Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality, and if you’ll recall, he was often in the company of those whom modern society frowned upon: tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, etc. I’m not sure what the status of homosexuality was in those times, but if Jesus was alive today and happened to be in Toronto yesterday, I have a feeling he wouldn’t have been holding a sign saying that he hates “fags.” That’s not the Jesus I know.
The Jesus whose life I clumsily try to follow came to save and form a relationship with everyone: gay, straight or otherwise. We’re all flawed, imperfect creatures who are loved unconditionally by a perfect being. Every sin was forgiven and corrected on the cross.
Of course, every homosexual person is sinful. So is every heterosexual person. To say someone is sinful because they are gay is, I believe, as absurd as calling someone sinful because they’re heterosexual. When it comes down to the battle between nature vs. nurture, I would say I’m on the nature side. I can’t explain it, but I also can’t understand why anyone would choose to be gay given the hardships and prejudice they’ll have to face in their life. Even in today’s “tolerant” society. Even when one week is given to celebrate their orientation.
As always, Dr. Tony Campolo has influenced what I have already believed my whole life, that gay does not equal wrong. In his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical, he has some insightful and radical things to say about the “gay marriage situation” that I’d love to share with you, if only because they better articulate this line of thinking than I ever could:
[…] It is important for you to recognize that there is no record in the New Testament of Jesus saying anything about homosexuality, but he is quite specific about condemning divorce and the remarriage of divorced persons. [Campolo’s wife] Peggy would ask, “Don’t you think it’s hypocritical for Evangelicals like you to accept into the church, and even ordain into ministry, persons who have been divorced and remarried, but to turn around and forbid gay marriage?” She goes on to ask, “How can you accept marriages that Jesus specifically condemned, and then turn around and oppose marriages Jesus never mentioned?”
Conservative Evangelicals would have you believe that gay and lesbian civil unions would weaken the institution of marriage. I think that’s absurd! It’s true that the institution of marriage is in serious jeopardy these days, but that’s not because there are gays and lesbians who want their unions recognized. The reality is that divorce is destroying the American family. It’s heterosexuals who are getting divorced; gays want to be married! (pg.163)
I fail to see how such lifelong commitments by gays hurt the rest of us. Instead, they send a message that commitments for life can provide one of life’s most humanizing relationships (pg.164).
When asked whether I believe that state governments should legalize gay and lesbian marriages, I respond in a way that might provide some satisfaction to people on both sides of the debate. I propose that the government should get out of the marrying business completely. Instead, the state should legally recognize and grant the same legal benefits to both heterosexual and homosexual unions […] Marriage, I believe, has been instituted by God and the government should have nothing to do with it (pg. 169).
Amen! I couldn’t have said it better myself.
… As to the common argument about the Pride Parade being a celebration of promiscuity and sexual deviance I shall respond with this: have you ever watched MTV? Ever been to a Frat House? Ever been to Cancun during Spring Break?
There’s two sides to every coin, my friend.