Oh, Lord, we call to you from our apartment
because we are not welcome in the church hall.
Hear us and help us with this terrible fear.
Do not freeze our hurt into false smiles.
Deliver us from countenancing in ourselves
the rumors our enemies spread about us.
Help our enemies to come to terms
with that in themselves
which they project on us.
Turn their evil into good, oh God.
Make of their children’s spit on our faces
a salve for healing the pains
which they have inflicted.
Be miraculous, God!
Do not fear to show your glory on the side
of your children.
Why have our accusers refused even to hear us?
How can your Church tolerate spiritual lynchings?
Deliver us from vigilantes, God.
How they hiss against us,
gossiping on their phones
all the day long.
One of their most articulate ones,
driving his car to house after house,
peddles the Vestry’s hateful petition
to ask us to leave.
What does he think as the remnant,
the two loving women,
turn him away?
Is he ready to be judged with that judgment
which he has meted to us?
Help him, God.
Why do you allow the proud to turn your house
of prayer into a court house?
Why do you allow your priests to bully us,
to insult us,
to spread lies about us in their councils,
and yet to ignore us
when we are sick or in danger or in need?
Why have you allowed your house
to become a temple of self-righteousness
rather than a house of honest sinners?
About ourselves we have spoken the truth
in love, God,
and the keepers of the Church
have turned us away.
Were we to debauch ourselves with hypocrisies
and in secret to be consumed
in anonymous lust,
they would honor us, God,
and welcome us as like themselves.
But they have hated us for loving openly
They ride by our apartment
with orgies in their heads
while we cook supper
and wash dishes together.
Heal this sick town, God.
You promised that the meek will inherit
the earth, that with Christ
we are joint heirs
of your everlasting kingdom.
Strengthen us with a sense of being your children.
By your power, ready us for our witness.
A prolific author and lifelong campaigner for the acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people by Christians and in the mainline church, Louie Clay founded IntegrityUSA, a gay-acceptance group within the Episcopal Church, while teaching at Fort Valley State University in 1974. He married Ernest Clay in 1974 and then again in 2013, when marriage equality had become the law of the land. Known as Louie Crew for most of his life, he took his partner’s surname in his later years.