Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dan Savage calls out Right wing "Christians" who hate the sin(ner)

Dan Savage was rebuked for his "anti-Christian" language by an anti-gay "Christian" who loves the sinner, hates the sin, but never, ever would hurt anyone.

Dan responded this way:
Being told that they're sinful and that their love offends God, and being told that their relationships are unworthy of the civil right that is marriage (not the religious rite that some people use to solemnize their civil marriages), can eat away at the souls of gay kids. It makes them feel like they're not valued, that their lives are not worth living. And if one of your children is unlucky enough to be gay, the anti-gay bigotry you espouse makes them doubt that their parents truly love them—to say nothing of the gentle "savior" they've heard so much about, a gentle and loving father who will condemn them to hell for the sin of falling in love with the wrong person.

The children of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or at your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. You may only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, but your children have the option of attacking actual real gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

....Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words....

The religious right points to the suicide rate among gay teenagers—which the religious right works so hard to drive up (see above)—as evidence that the gay lifestyle is destructive. It's like intentionally running someone down with your car and then claiming that it isn't safe to walk the streets.

Which is why I argued that every gay teen suicide is a victory for the religious right. Because, you see, your side does use those suicides to "perpetuate [your] agenda."

Several of our regulars went over to Dan's site, and while agreeing with many of his sentiments, reminded him that there are many Christians who work for justice. Dan's readers mostly responded with the anger of the disenfranchised, which isn't very helpful, but is understandable. As we've discussed many times, the right wing's success in defining the word "Christian", as well as the rejection felt by many gay or gay-friendly people at the hands of right-wing churches, continues to provoke a backlash in the community.

And more generally, the injection of right-wing Christianity and the anti-intellectual, anti-science policy it engenders, into our public life (in clear contravention of our supposed Constitutional values) continues to be a thorn in the side of the non-believers. It is hard to avoid the outrage sometimes that the Roman Catholics and the Mormons and right-wingers are forcing me to live by their religious beliefs. The progressive Episcopal voices that I hear in our community here, while very welcome, seem too faint to hear on the national stage.

While I do try to make peace and defend the progressive Christians against my fellow non-believers (I am a Libra, after all ;-) I also have to agree with a certain frustration that was expressed in our discussion last year. The response to "Christians" behaving badly and being called out by the left, is not just to tell the left that "not all Christians are like that!" It's to call out the so-called Christians who are mis-behaving. Straight Christian allies can be our most powerful voice to those who are attacking us.

Still, I was proud to see our JCF and our Doxy lead the charge into the fray at Dan's to make the necessary comments. I encourage you all to keep it up, let your voices be prophetic, and agents for change and healing--and don't let the so called "Christians" get away with it.

Update: Here's gay activist and radio host Mike Signorile not putting up with it when another "Christian" calls him. The caller "would never hurt anyone's feelings" but thinks gays are going to hell. Signorile lets him have it--brutally.

Dan and Mike are both outraged. ARe they entitled? What do you think is the "proper response" --from them, or others, to the "love the sinner/hate the sin" protests?


Wormwood's Doxy said...

I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face:

People who use that odious phrase do so in order to be able to say the word "hate" and still feel clean. No Christian has any business using it.

As I said over at Dan's--I don't expect LGBTs to trust me just because I say so. I try to walk my talk--but until the media stop trying to "balance" people like me (or scientists) with some asshole like Tony Perkins or the NOM folks, I can shout until I'm blue in the face and never make a difference.

Some viewpoints simply do not need to be given credence by the media--particularly when the nutjobs espousing them are trying to impose their religious values through secular law. I will continue to call them down--but I could use a little help from the secular media too.


JCF said...

Well, I'm still learning.

I have no problem when anyone says "%^&#$&!!! Christians!"

I have difficulty, when someone says "%^&#$&!!! Magic Sky Fairy Jesus!" (because they're pissed at homophobic Christians).

But I guess I'm supposed to get over it.

I wish they---well, EVERYBODY, 'phobes and Dan Savage alike---knew the Jesus I know. The One who LOVES everyone.


Counterlight said...

I commented about this very issue over on my blog.

I don't think complaining to Dan Savage is very productive. There are larger and more desperate issues at stake than our feelings as Christians. The Christian faith will survive being dragged through the mud, not by its detractors, but by Christians who use it to justify their bigotry. The Faith has survived worse. Our Lord can take care of Himself, with or without our help.
Right now, I think He shares Dan Savage's urgent concern for gay young who see nothing but despair in their futures.

I think we can best serve our selves as Christians by being the very thing we claim we are, a community based on love of God, for each other, and of the world, in hope of the resurrection. We should continue to live out and proclaim the message that ALL the Creation is good, including sexual minorities. We should live out our witness that Christ stands, not in front trying to stop those struggling for their freedom and dignity, but behind them always pushing them forward.

Those outside the church door frequently remember what those inside forget, that "you shall know the tree by the fruit that it bears."

Counterlight said...

Here's what I wrote on my blog:

"My good Christian friends, I think he is spot on about this. I think our proper response should not be to complain about Dan Savage painting all Christians with the right wing brush. There's a much bigger and more desperate issue involved than the reputation of our faith . Our Lord can take care of Himself, with or without our help. The Christian Faith will survive even those who ask "What Would Jesus Do?" while dragging that very faith through the mud of bigotry. Those who do need our help (as well as Our Lord's) most desperately are those very people who Dan Savage rightly describes as seeing nothing but despair in their futures. It is our responsibility as Christians to those kids, to the rest of the world, and to ourselves to dispel all the obsolete and bad science used in bad faith to demonize and pathologize sexual minorities, to dispel the really toxic heresies that proclaim parts of God's Creation to be exceptions to His declaration that His Creation (ALL of it) is Good, and to dispel the monomaniacal and downright psychotic obsession of Christian leaders and institutions with matters of sex and control. It is up to us to present to the world an alternative vision of church as a community grounded in love of God through love for each other and the world instead of as spiritual buttress for the prevailing hierarchy and spiritual enforcer of social convention.

Perhaps it's time to think about replacing the image of Christ the King (kingship is obsolete, even as a metaphor) with Christ the Liberator. Deus Optimus Maximus et Christus Liberator."