18 January 2009

This About Sums It Up

A guy called Greg Wert (whom I don't know) is obviously pretty smart, he's written an open letter to anti-Prop 8 pastor Rick Warren, with whom the LDS Church recently made common political cause. This letter should be sent to LDS HQ in Salt Lake too because it responds perfectly to so many of ProtectMarriage.org's objections:

"Dear Pastor Warren:

I am going to take you and President-Elect Obama at your words and look upon your selection to lead the invocation at his upcoming inauguration as a way to open dialogue between two groups that don’t see eye to eye on everything.

I am a gay man. And frankly, I take offense at some of the things that you say, and that you apparently believe, about me. Things that are just not true.

You say that even if science were to show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that being gay is an innate thing, it would still be wrong, and that we should reign in those impulses. You say you have a natural impulse to have sex with every beautiful woman you see, and that you have to curb that impulse. But you DO get to have sex with one woman, right? (I am assuming you are married.) The obvious implication of what you are saying is that those of us who have a “prediliction” toward homosexuality should reign in those unhealthy desires and, I guess, never have gratifying sex at all. “Delayed gratification”? “Maturity”? To never have sex in your life because you were born a certain way?

I will tell you that being homosexual is NOT a choice. It’s NOT a “lifestyle.” It’s certainly NOT a “lifestyle choice.” Science is starting to prove this out, but any gay person will tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we were born this way. Created this way by God, some would say. An excellent book which I would recommend to you (Crisis, edited by Mitchell Gold) contains stories of 40 gay people, both famous and unknown, and the difficulties they faced growing up gay in America . There are common threads in all these lives – the dawning recognition that they were different, the realization that they had to hide this difference, and the pain and torment it caused. This could be my story and that of thousands, perhaps millions, of others.

You seem to imply that being gay automatically makes you promiscuous. That is, of course, nonsense (as is any attempt to define any group by one certain behavior). But how are you encouraging what to you would be considered more acceptable behavior? By denying us access to the very structures that encourage stability in a society, that encourage faithfulness to one partner, you are actually encouraging (forcing) the opposite for those of us born gay. [Emphasis added. Why does nobody on the pro-Prop 8 side seem to get this?] Most of us are not going to delay gratification for our entire lives. Would you?

I am sure that you feel that you have a Biblical basis for your views on homosexuality, but I will tell you that there are many, many other Christian pastors, theologians, and Biblical scholars who do not interpret the Bible the same way as you. What if your interpretation is wrong? You speak hurtful words and destroy lives based on your interpretation. You are an influential man, and violence against homosexuals springs from your kind of attitude, because people who listen to your words take those words to heart and for some of these misled people, the next logical step is to “kill a fag for Christ.”

And I cannot help but feel intense sorrow for the children in families who so strongly believe, and teach their young, that homosexuality is evil and wrong. Some of those kids are going to be gay! Think of the harm being done to these innocent children. They are going to be so conflicted, so at war within themselves – and many of them will attempt to take their life, and some will succeed. Many more will turn to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain in their lives. This all springs from faulty teaching and unenlightened social attitudes. Some will manage, somehow, to “curb their impulses,” at least for a while, and get married and have children – then get picked up in a public bathroom for lewd acts when their “curbed impulses” jump the curb.

I am 58 years old. I cannot help but wonder what my life would have been like had I been able to recognize and accept my own gay-ness when I was young, and had the acceptance of society at large. How much different my life might have been. I am one of millions who made, and make, life choices based on having to hide an important aspect of our very being. Their potential, their possibilities as God’s children, are greatly diminished when faced with such odds.

So, please listen to our words with an open heart and open mind. And, yes, congratulations on being honored by your selection [to pray at President Obama's inauguration]."

The original is here.

1 comment:

Bravone said...

Thanks Alan, What a powerful and well articulated letter. Spot on.