Tag Archives: gayImage
I got a call from the HRC a few nights ago. They were asking for money as they usually do after any big victory. I suppose the logic is to ride the high of success and point people toward the next big milestone in the gay agenda. If nothing else the Human Rights Campaign is driven, effective, and in the end they have my support and my $35 student membership. But I’m never all in.
As a mixed-race Latino, a homosexual Queer, a Texan westerner, and an Episcopalian Christian I can never be fully on board with single issue politics, single identity politics, or at least I shouldn’t be.
I was reminded of this by a close friend this past weekend as we sat on the back patio of a Chicago Mexican restaurant with a pitcher of mango margaritas. I was swimming in the excitement of the Supreme Court decision on DOMA and Prop 8, but baffled by what I viewed as the contradictory politics of the voting rights and affirmative action rulings. A professor of Women’s Studies with an American Studies PhD, he wondered, “what if we see this not as disjointed but as one continuous arc?”
What if, he posited, this affirmation of one population in the same-sex marriage rulings comes at the greater cost of the continued alienation of affinity politics from the mainstream of individual identity-driven politics? What if we as the gay community have jumped on the very life raft that used to oppress us? That’s not to say the victory is unnecessary or even negative, but it is to say that perhaps the space that allowed for this gasp of fresh air was brought about by our waning sense of a common destiny, our distancing from one another.
In this light, all of the rulings have a clear connection, the loosening of our common responsibility in order to allow for greater personal freedom, greater autonomy, greater personal honesty.
And that is just bad theology. It is precisely because we share a common destiny that we should be presenting ourselves honestly, precisely because our salvation is common or not at all that we must see Christ in each other’s full humanity, and precisely because you value your community that you should value my marriage.
So I celebrate the affirmation of love in last week’s ruling just as I celebrate a locally raised chicken, with suspicion. Just as it matters if you’re eating that chicken because its healthier for you or because its healthier for all of us, it matters why same-sex marriage is finding success.
There will come a point where the interests of our “personal health” will be at odds with our common health, and it matters what path we will choose then. Will we remain on this raft, inevitably leaving others behind, or will we jump off and swim in hopes of building a bigger boat?
Exodus International has capsized and is in flames. “I’m sorry to those who have been harmed” and the closing of doors does little to raise the dead or to undo the assumptions that undid the health of so many. As actions they fail to apologize for the reasons for the wrongdoing: the assumption of brokenness, less-than-ness and unholiness the leaders have attached to the queer soul.
And yet, standing here in the presence of the roaring I am nonetheless compelled to take the shoes from off my feet. This burning is holy. An organization which brought destruction on so many lives, a center of gravity which has become a symbol for self-hatred has gone out of being. At that we have to rejoice.
But by it we must also be sent. BP’s dispersant in the Gulf does not eliminate the oil, it only makes it invisible and lessens its immediate harm. But Egypt still stands. Souls remain in captivity and though stuttering and outcast, we are the ones who must go.
I am the one who must go.
Looking at my own soul I see that there was safety in the clarity of the Exodus marker of otherness, the correlation of red and homophobic. But without the label, I risk encountering this other as a human being. I risk loving him or her and being transformed by him or her. I risk not immediately knowing to pass or shout and instead finding myself being honest. I risk that he or she might be converted by me– that I might lose my righteousness next to her humility.
There is a holiness to this burning. Nothing is perhaps consumed, but in it, let us see the ground that is holy, the fire that is Godly, and ourselves who are sent.
This week I found out I’m in a book I would have fought to be in had I known it was being written. The book is Jeff Chu’s Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage In Search of God in America. It is a collection of stories about the diversity of Christian responses to homosexuality in the US. The stories range from the Episcopal Church’s first lesbian bishop Mary Glasspool to Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. Chu writes so as to humanize each perspective, making it probably the most Christian book on homosexuality around. On page 123 he writes:
When he was in college, he became close with another Christian guy who was wrestling with these issues of theology and sexuality. “We really enjoyed hanging out with each other. It felt good to be desired,” he says. “But I just couldn’t reconcile it with what I believed, and I told him I wasn’t ready to decide anything.” He looks a little wistful, a little sad. Continue reading