There is a certain segment of society – I’m not sure quite how to delineate its make up – that favor the use of certain, unorthodox tactics in the execution of argument.  Namely, the quality control workflow for their talking points appears to run as follows:

This behavior is, of course, very frustrating to us all.  My favorite example, though, was an assertion much too absurd for me to even be frustrated by.  I was delivered – with a gotcha! type of flourish – the sad news that I “don’t even believe in God.”

That’s right! I’m an athiest and I didn’t even know it.  Now, I can’t say with any certainty why this person would draw a conclusion like this. (She and I had, at the time, a passing-head-nod level of intimacy.)  I definitely can’t hazard a guess as to why she would believe it with sufficient confidence (or fancy herself adept enough a verbal sparrer) to try and use it against me.  I couldn’t even look you in the face and say I know per se that she has a brain.  But the point you have been waiting so patiently for me to arrive at is what I expect may have been her reasoning.  Why do so many people draw the society like this?

“You can be religious.  You can be gay.  You can’t be both.”

I’m even being generous in this diagram by operating under the assumption that some gay people are agnostic, or otherwise undecided.  (Also not assuming all athiests are gay, although I guess it must depend on whom you ask.)

I’m just blown away by the “us or them” mentality of some people.  Viewing others not as fellow humans with differing opinions, but instead as absolutely separate.  Enemies.  And the worst part of this false dichotomy – this artificial war created to belittle and shame – is that some of the worst offenders are those groups who spend their time ostensibly supporting love, compassion, and unity between all humans.  It’s almost worse than bigotry; it’s hypocrisy. (It’s a lot of other inflammatory things I won’t verbalize for fear of coming off as too much of a bleeding heart.)  And I’m sure you, by now, have realized exactly who I am talking about.

Those gays.

Yes, the gays!  Preaching for all to see about love being an “essential quality of humanity.”  Claiming we should all be equal, treating each other with dignity and respect.  But beneath their alleged, noble purpose, spreading feelings of hate toward a whole segment of society because that segment’s lifestyle and philosophies make them uncomfortable.  Or maybe nothing so cruel.  Maybe simply operating under a policy of, “it’s okay if you are, just don’t flaunt it in public!

Now I am, of course, being intentionally silly.

Do I think Christianophobia, or a broader kind of theologophobia match homophobic and transphobic sentiments in our society?  Of course I don’t.  But, in truth, I find it to be just as hateful a form of prejudice.  And as a result of this prejudice, I will admit I feel at times unwelcome in both LGBT and religious circles, despite my identity as both queer and Jewish.

It is not my intention to discuss my religious beliefs in any level of detail at this time, but I feel it is necessary to clarify that there is no conflict in my life between faith and my attraction to men.  Actually, I would describe my faith as an integral part of my queer identity, and vice versa.

In point of fact, my right to religious freedom is the main reason I believe same-sex marriage ought to be legal in the United States.  It seems obvious to me that churches should be able to perform whichever marriages they deem holy, between consenting adults.  It seems to me like a pretty clear-cut idea in terms of First Amendment rights and so on.  Yet, I can’t remember the last time I heard somebody make an argument on the topic from that angle – in the media or elsewhere.  Perhaps it would feel a bit too much, to some LGBT folks and allies, like aligning with the enemy. 

Enemies like the Westboro “Baptist Church” (I refuse to direct traffic to their actual website), or the less extreme NOM.  But do we, as LGBT people, truly fell entitled to stereotype anyone?  And without fear of spontaneously bursting into flames?

It is, as you may know, LGBT Pride Month in the US. And I am proud. But my pride is not just a “gay pride.” It is a gay Jewish pride. I am queer. I love my God. And if these things are true of you, I hope you are proud as well.

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