“Strong Son of God, immortal Love
Whom we that have not seen Thy face
By faith and faith alone embrace
Believing where we cannot prove.”
Marvelous words, written a long time ago by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Lord Alfred had a keen understanding not only of words but also of faith. The rhythm of this beautiful bit of poetry seems to lift the mind out of what Bruce Bawer (in Stealing Jesus – How Fundamentalism betrays Christianity) called the ‘horizontal plane’ while at the same time explaining a seemingly simple concept on the prosaic level. Is not faith simple? Is it not something you simply have to do and not agonize about? Choose the Lord or eternal hell? Isn’t it that simple?
Yes, it isn’t that simple. Lord Alfred did two different things at the same time with four lines of poetry. How all the more complicated must be the texts upon which our faith is built? It is from the mistake of thinking that Christianity is simple that arises the slogan ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.’
Bruce Bawer seems to approximate what I want to describe the best in his aforementioned book. He explains about thinking on the ‘horizontal plane’ – the place of all our ordinary earthly thoughts – and on the ‘vertical plane’ – where we reach out from our base emotions to the divine. My problem in understanding people who tell me they hate my sin but still love me is that they usually talk about inspiration from the Holy Spirit, yet are moved evidently only by ‘horizontal’ concerns.
One of the main points in these matters is that homosexuality is not actually harmful or even dangerous to anyone. This our detractors can never allow because it is all they have. We have already covered all the complex Biblical texts. We, in the narrow sense the contributors to Whosoever and in the broader sense all gay Christians, have at one time or another worked hard on those texts, have sought inspiration, have prayed over this ‘thorn in our flesh’ and have resolved all the questions quite satisfactorily. I do not mean to say that gay theology has all the definite answers but this should never any person’s concern. We have built a valid, spiritually minded theology and more we, or anyone else, cannot ask. We have also published most of our resources on-line, for anyone to consult.
Some of our enemies however, think they are smart and attempt to prove it by claiming they love us after all. It is just our ‘sin’ they hate. By this line alone they show us open contempt but is seems the fate of glbt folk to again and again explain how and what we are.
Even under the actual biblical law, one needed a couple of witnesses to get anyone convicted of anything. Now what ‘sin’ will our enemy hate? When a friend of mine went to church one warm mid-summer Sunday morning, he had committed no obvious, visible sin. He had only told his parents that he was gay. Great was his surprise when he found all the Elders on the doorstep with stern faces and their arms folded. “You will never enter this house of God again!” was all one of them managed to say. With that, they turned away, not even allowing my friend a response. The lists go on and on. Many and grievous are the insults done to our people in this and many other ways.
Dear reader, allow me to momentarily change tracks here. I have said before that homosexuality doesn’t actually harm anyone. Whatever Anita Bryant and all her fell offspring might have claimed: we do not recruit children. The overlarge majority of all child abusers is heterosexual. The thousands of wives that are abused physically and mentally every year are tormented almost exclusively by heterosexual men. Heterosexual people cause their own divorces, not some gay plot to somehow undermine civilisation.
The arguments do not match up. If we were parasites, feeding off an intrinsically healthy culture then why would we destroy it? If we are nothing like that, then how is all that harm actually worked? I will answer that for you: through heterosexuals. Relationships outside marriage are sinful, our assailants say because they fall under the ten commandments as idolatry. One could agree and live together just as an ideal heterosexual couple does and ask to be married. This is then denied categorically. Is it hard to recognize circular reasoning or do these people do all these things to us for their own pleasure? There is still more: why are we denied marriage? In answer to this question our people is, without punishment or reprove, named ‘evil’, ‘intrinsically unordered’ (thanks to a Dutch bishop for that one) or ‘we cannot reproduce’ is named as a reason. Actually, I know a heterosexual couple that cannot reproduce because of some medical reasons and they are still married. Even a heterosexual couple that knew beforehand they would never have children would not be barred by law from wedlock.
The arguments grow ever more subtle. One could make the distinction that a bodily defect doesn’t change matters because a man and a woman could in principle always reproduce. Beside from the fact that this isn’t true – there are many variations of the sex-coding genes and only one represents the traditional male and only one the traditional female – one wonders why the distinction is made in the first place. There surely is no biblical basis for that. It is true part of the Levitical laws is geared towards the conceiving of as many offspring as possible. However, even if this was God’s literal word to the people of Israel, why should we heed it in our age? The number of people on this planet is such that humanity is slowly but ever quicker breeding itself to death. To a great many countries, a lower birth rate would be quite beneficial. This argument stands quite apart from the points one could make about Leviticus not speaking about homosexuality at all.
A question springs immediately to mind: Why then, against all reason, do our enemies work so hard to defile our image and deny us even equal citizen rights? I will also answer that for you: they just don’t want us. Once one is capable of recognising outright hatred, it becomes plain as the living day: this is pure revulsion and fear of difference. It has nothing to do with the Bible. It cannot possibly have anything to do with morals since we never got those from Christianity in the first place. The various churches merely validated the morals already in existence and actually changed their opinions a number of times on rather important issues, driven by mostly political motives.
Back on track then, where did I veer off? The horizontal and vertical planes, basically denoting two different ways of thinking about spirituality, God and faith. To return to the main stream of my argument, those that defile us claim ‘vertical’ concerns but are not able to put forth any but ‘horizontal’ reasons. Even worse, they are unjust.
‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin,’ is comprised of two clauses. One we know and that is hate. We as the homosexual people are hated by a great many so-called Christians, with a vengeance. If you hate only my sin, do you fire me, take my house from me, snigger behind my back? Do you beat me to death? It has never been a matter of only the sin – moreover, even that is debatable – it is downright hate. On the other side, I have seen preciously little love from those who are obliged to wield that sentence. Where is it? How do they show their love to any sinners, by the way?
If you are sure that your homosexual child is going to hell, do you disown him? It would be terribly un-Christian. Of course all righteous and saved, presumable all heterosexual, people go to heaven and will spend an eternity apart from their homosexual spouses, siblings, children and neighbours. It seems very simple to me. You will share eternal bliss with the other righteous anyway.. why not spend some time now with those you know for sure to be lost?
If I love someone then I tell them I love them, greet them in the street and do kind things to them. How many right-wing Christians have you seen that tell their homosexual ‘neighbour’ that they love them? In truth, almost none will even go near us. Better to build Web sites like www.godhatesfags.com and spread more hatred among the unwary. How many people that supposedly ‘love the sinner’ have you seen come to help us? It is a fact that AIDS hospices are now filling up with predominantly heterosexual people. The same people that through their votes made it possible for the situation to develop that AIDS sufferers have to drive for hours sometimes to find a hospital that will even admit them. It is also a fact that those that actually care about these patients are on average not heterosexual.
My opinion is just my opinion, obviously. There is no other authority in my words than in any of a thinking human. I use my own thoughts. I don’t hide behind a church’s seal or the label ‘orthodoxy.’ I am just a mortal man who says to his Maker: “God, I do not know if this is what You want, but I have thought about it and I think this is best.” I do not hold the secrets of God’s will and moreover, nobody else has them. Not even those televangelists and other preachers who are so certain that Jesus Christ would want them to picket our people’s funerals. Have you ever pictured what it would be like to bury your teenage son and have a group of total strangers turn up with cardboard signs who then shout that your son burns in hell for ever all through your solemn ceremony? Then know that they are convinced the Almighty Creator of all the universe commands them.
“Show me your love!” I would say to anyone who gave me the tired line of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’ “Where is it?”
We do not understand the ways of the world, much less those of our Creator. The verse above from Tennyson isn’t the only one in the poem. The next one goes like this:
“Our little systems have their day
They have their day and cease to be
They are but broken lights to Thee
And Thou o Lord art more than they.”