I am simultaneously amazed and disappointed in how some American Christians choose their heroes these days.
Mississippi state lawmaker and minister Andy Gipson recently cited a Biblical passage that condemns gays to death as his way of speaking against out President Obama’s support of marriage equality. And in the face of criticism, he says that he is not backing down.
To put it succinctly, I hate when these incidents happen. A lawmaker says something homophobic while hiding behind the Bible, our community demands an apology, the lawmaker refuses to back down and finally the lawmaker is looked upon by some as a hero for supposedly standing up for Biblical principal.
Gipson is not a hero. He is lazy.
If you want to talk about true heroes of the Christian faith, then let’s talk about those who spend their lives fighting injustice like Desmond Tutu. Let’s talk about those who gave their lives for the sake of equality like Oscar Romero or Maximilian Kolbe.
All Gipson did was to sit on his ass and repeat Biblical verses in an attempt to bash a group of people who, to my knowledge, has never done him any harm a day of his life.
Just when were the requirements of heroism of the American Christian faith reduced to lip service designed to tear people down based on assumptions of sin?
And Gipson is not the only “Christian” taking the pill of self-righteousness. Recently U.S. Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) told the online site Think Progress that he opposes non-discrimination laws for gays on the grounds that it would give “special protection” for certain sexual behaviors.
When the story initially broke, he accused Think Progress of attacking him because of his “faith.”
Rep. Lankford is a coward who hides his ignorance behind his religious beliefs.
We are not talking about sexual behavior. We are talking about sexual orientation. Telling your co-workers that you are gay is not the say thing as describing sexual acts anymore than a straight couple showing off their wedding rings is the same as them talking about their favorite sexual positions. Talking about your partner and family or placing a portrait of them on your desk is not the same thing as going into lurid detail about a Saturday night date.
Congressman Lankford and Gipson are indicative of people who, while they wrap themselves up in their Bible to pump up their ego, are oblivious of the change taking place across the country.
The gay community no longer lurk on the outskirts of the American experience. A vast majority of us no longer confuse our sexual orientation as a sick need that we take care of in dark alleys, parks, public restrooms, or video stores.
A vast majority of us are not listening to the constant beat of those demanding that we hate ourselves as much as they pretend that they don’t hate us.
We see our sexual orientation as a God-given blessing. And we have discovered that we have been deceived all of these years by those who seem to think that their religious beliefs entitle them to dictate how we conduct our lives
We have discovered that we have been bamboozled into believing that we are not worthy to sit at the table of the American experience or to taste that sweet nectar known by many as a complete and happy life complete with a partner who loves us and children we will raise if we so desire. We have discovered that we have been unfairly relegated to the floor and tricked into settling for stale crumbs and lukewarm water thrown at us by folks like Lankford and Gipson as they cast nasty looks while clutching their Bibles and reciting supposed admonitions against homosexuality and making sure to omit other verses telling them to love their neighbor and not judge their fellow human beings.
After years of being told that there was no place at the table for us by people like Lankford and Gipson, we have not only discovered that not only is there a comfy chair at the table with our names on it, but there is also a bottle of sweet nectar with our names specifically on it.
So I feel safe in speaking for a majority of the gay community when I say to people like Lankford, Gipson and the rest:
You had better slide aside because we are going to sit at that table and we are going to take a full drink of that nectar because it belongs to us. It’s ours. It doesn’t belong solely to you.
And nothing you do or say will keep us from it.
You see, we are human beings just like you and our life has value. Value not to be determined by you but value that exists in spite of you.