Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Ask and Don't Tell God: The Quandary of Homosexuality in America

by Gee Joyner
Rhetoric Race and Religion Contributor
From: Rainbows and Lilacs

It has been a couple of weeks since President Barack Obama openly admitted that he supports Gay Marriage and all the rights and privileges thereof. All forms of media have been inundated with opinions and viewpoints either in support of the President’s proclamation or demonizing his attempt at creating a discourse in this nation, which was allegedly founded on the ideological concept of “liberty and justice for all.” Yet, somehow, the United States’ separation of Church and State has been reconfigured by the religious, particularly Christian, zealots in an attempt to discriminate and further disenfranchise those citizens who identify themselves as gay or homosexual. It has always been my belief that every person, regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs or socioeconomic status should be treated fairly and I believe this civil right should be extended to our homosexual brethren as well. It would be unjust for the laws of the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” to disallow same sex marriages on the pretense of the Judeo-Christian biblical texts’ stance on homosexuality. Do we not exist in a realm of national governing that separates the Church and the State? I, for one, am no expert on the origins or the causes or even the totality of comprehension of homosexuality, but with the aforementioned stated, how can any of us vilify one’s sexual preference if we do not know if it is due to nurture or nature?

There has been a major outcry from Christian pastors, preachers, ministers, and parishioners concerning the President’s decision to publicly support same-sex marriages and, particularly, in the black Church and its respective ‘community’, a divisive demon of epic proportions has ensconced itself around the psyche of the African American Christian. This demon has warped the psyche of the black Christian and reconstructed their understanding of the major tenant of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ, which transmitted by John, states, “As I have loved you, so must you love one another” (John 13:34 NIV). Or one can also reference another book of the Gospel which states, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 NIV). How are discriminatory practices against our fellow man an exhibition of Love? In my most humble opinion, I believe that it is the exact opposite—Hate.

Now, I am almost positive that many readers will think my use of the word ‘hate’ is going too far, but if you are intolerant of a particular thing or individual or behavior, the detesting of these things or individuals or behaviors manifest themselves in the form of intolerance which is the next-door neighbor to Hate. Many Christians, theologians, and pious hypocrites, particularly those of Facebook residency, have been selectively cherry-picking the biblical scriptures to support their anti-Gay marriage and homophobic diatribes. Ironically, most of the cherry-picking comes from the Old Testament’s book of Leviticus. I have seen Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind” and Leviticus 20:13 (KJV), “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor landerers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” All of this seems contradictory.

Most Christians adhere to the New Testament and utilize the Gospels as the definitive words, teachings, and accounts of the life and travels of Jesus the Christ and this becomes rhetorically problematic because if readers use juxtapositioning in the analysis of these texts they will find that contradictions abound and what we deem as immoral can be applicable to any and almost every facet of human existence and interaction with one another. Are there not believers of the Christ that are drunkards, sexually promiscuous, and adulterers? Are there not Christians who worship God and Jesus yet have created a false God/idol out of money and material possessions? I won’t answer. I will let you, the reader, pray for discernment and derive at a conclusion. What is it that Christians and the religious zealots of this nation want? Do they want to ‘play God’ or do they want to ‘be’ God? If an individual is a homosexual, wouldn’t the omnipresent and omnipotent Creator know this? How, if the aforementioned is true, would the homosexual hide his or her sexual orientation or preference? Should they not tell God and should he or she not ask their sexual orientation or preference?

Some opponents of same-sex marriage believe gay marriage is an attempt by homosexuals to taint the ‘sacred’ institution of marriage with perverse intentions. This is a laughable idea, I understand, but so is the idea that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry one another under the auspices of Love. Better yet, how is demonizing a culture of individuals illustrating the unconditional Love that God has for his creations. Did God not love us so much that, “He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”? (John 3:16 KJV) Are we to think that LGBT believers won’t be accepted by the Lord? Should John have inserted an asterisk behind this piece of scripture? If we as a people allow the castigation of the homosexual in America, what will be the next discriminatory technique used to further cement xenophobic behavior? Will the Church disallow homosexuals to worship in the houses of the Lord that are almost on every corner of every street in the United States of America? Will we revisit the miscegenation laws of the past that banned interracial intimacy and marriage? (Loving v. Virginia was the last anti-Miscegenation law to be defunct in 1967) Surely not—I hope.

The issue at hand is not whether you agree with the homosexual lifestyle or endorse same-sex relationships and marriage but that equality for all is under attack—by the Church of all institutions. We must stand up for the equality for all and resist the subjugation of our fellow man by the efforts of some to reconfigure a social hierarchical structure by creating yet another subclass of people. The problem with inequality and discrimination is that it reinforces the social hierarchical structure that posits some people, in this case heterosexuals, as ‘better’ than others and that is not only problematic but also troubling and destructive in a ‘civilized’ society. It is unjust to ban same-sex marriage on the pretense that some people do not have the same type of sexual intercourse as others do, and as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said in his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


Kaneguindreamz said...

I couldn't agree more. Very well said and worthy of a retweet.

Elder Sam said...

I believe this topic was bound to become something that the church and our community would soon have to address. It has to be dealt with much understanding and consideration of the hearts of all of Gods people, no matter what the differences. Inclusion and exclusion has long been a battle within the church of pretty much who goes and who stays. Whose in or out based on what we do or don't do according to Gods word. But as Gee points out it's not that simple. Love covers a multitude of sin. This includes mine and yours, whatever they maybe. However God loves and judges us merely on our hearts intent. Not on how we are perceived by others. Do I support gay marriage? Nope, however I don't support the legal use of cigarettes, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and many "sins" that have been legalized, so to speak. However i do not believe people should be abused and mistreated for their lifestyle. We cannot hate because we don't participate, because there are things that we participate in ourselves. We are to love. Plain and simple. Legislation is based on the needs of the people when done properly. It is separate from our belief system however we have to live under governmental rule. We don't have to agree but we don't have to bash. Good points Gee.

Gee Joyner said...

Peace to the Righteous, Sam.

Lori Salisbury McKinley said...

Beautifully said Gee & Elder Sam! It IS this plain & simple - love, just LOVE!

Steven said...

I think it is time to consider a gospel of inclusion which doesn't yield itself to passivity to sin. I don't believe that Christ would exclude anyone from being recipients of his love and grace. This is where the church has been labeled as unloving and hypocritical because we preach love and tolerance, but when that has been infringed upon, we revert to a mode of intolerance. We must be cognizant that our separation of Church and state is in place for a reason. Our government in some respects are for the people, thus we cannot expect for them to see through the lenses of our faith. However, does that mean we ought to be passive? God forbid! The answer is simple, we must be intentional and relational. Christ intentionally immersed Himself among the rejected, sick, sinners in which he established relationship with and caused change to take place in their lives. Christ was not concerned so much about government because changed people became agents of change provided that we exemplify a proper love ethic.

Now I do disagree with Gee in reference to these "believers that are drunkards, sexually promiscuous, and adulterers? Are there not Christians who worship God and Jesus yet have created a false God/idol out of money and material possessions?" I will answer that... No. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away..." (2 Cor. 5:17) The contradictions lie in that we continue in a path that leads to death when Christ is the giver of life. Either Christ is the author of change and newness or not. This doesn't not exempt us for the occasional "missing the mark" moments, but our desires and intent has a vertical/upward trajectory rather than one fixed on selfish satisfaction/gratification of our own desires.

Lizzie Heo said...

I think Gee Joyner made a very good point on "The issue at hand is not whether you agree with the homosexual lifestyle or endorse same-sex relationships and marriage but that equality for all is under attack..." and that there are social hierarchical structure that thinks heterosexuals are better than others. I've heard many Christians actually opposing homosexuals saying that God created Adam and Eve which were heterosexual and that he won't allow gay marriages. They cannot procreate and it is not his plan. However, as the author also mentioned, God said to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Recently there has been many movements with Ferguson and black lives matter. I think there should be more movements toward equality and freedom regardless of their ethnicity, religious belief, socioeconomic status, gender and more. -Lizzie Heo-