My Facebook feed is worse than it is during football season right now — and if you live in the middle of SEC football, where weddings and funerals are planned around Game Day, that’s saying something. There is a lot of indignation, passion and red signs for equality. There are also a lot of red crosses, which oddly confuse me because I don’t know if those people are against same-sex marriage or just pro-Jesus or what?
I don’t want to write this post. I want to be Switzerland. I want to keep my mouth shut. I am a Christian in the Deep South. I make my living by writing funny stuff and making people laugh. But I made myself a promise last year: I promised that I wasn’t going to hold back anymore. That I wouldn’t let fear of what other people think of me, keep me from speaking my truth.
I don’t WANT to be controversial, but here is the thing: I have gay friends. Good friends. People I love. And if I was sitting at a table eating lunch with one of them and someone walked up to us and started saying things like, “You are disgusting. God is disgusted by you. You shouldn’t be able to be next of kin for your partner. You don’t deserve to be a parent. A child would be better off in foster care than being raised by you.”
If you were saying these things, out loud, to one of my friends? To their face?? I daresay that I would STAND up from the table, take my earrings off and tell you exactly where to step off.
I realized recently, as I sat in a restaurant writing earlier this week that I was doing exactly that: sitting idly by and letting people think that I agreed with them by not standing up for my friends.
I know this isn’t going to win me any cool points, especially in the South. In fact, it’s possible that I’ll alienate at least half of my regular readers, but I’m not about to sit at the table while people yell stuff at my friends and keep my mouth shut. Lately, I’ve found that I’m having a hard time making eye contact with my gay friends because of my silence.
Maybe you don’t have any gay friends. Maybe you don’t know anyone who lives a lifestyle a little different from yours. That lifestyle might not be the same as yours in one significant way, but I’m willing to bet my bootie and the booties of all the booties that MUCH of that person’s life IS the same as yours. Because, you know, it’s a human life.
They have a story, a family and struggles — just like you. And maybe, just maybe, if you got to know someone who is a little different from you, instead of labeling them, you’d start to see how beautiful, vulnerable and human they are, too.
I don’t believe same-sex marriages are a threat to my marriage. I believe same-sex couples can and do raise healthy, happy and beautiful children. Sometimes even better than heterosexual couples and INFINITELY better than the foster care system can.
And y’all may not know this, but I am a Bible thumper. I love Jesus and church and potluck dinners and prayer meetings and my gay friends. One of the scariest things I ever did as a writer was admit how much I love Jesus because I didn’t want my more liberal friends to assume that I hated them. I came out of the Jesus Closet in the last few months and promised myself and my readers that I wouldn’t hold back.
So here’s the thing: WHO CARES!? I get it. I know what the Bible says, and even if that’s what you believe WHY would you spend so much time fighting against something you disagree with instead of fighting FOR something you are passionate about?
Last time I checked there were still a ton of kids in this country and all over the world who are starving and orphaned. People are still homeless. There are people hurting in our communities, people who need to be loved unconditionally, who need a friend. And sadly, for the church, a lot of those people are in the gay community because the church as a whole has made it CLEAR that they aren’t welcome or wanted here unless they repent.
And all I’m saying is, I’m really glad that’s not how Jesus loves me.
We need to remind ourselves that this issue isn’t being put before the church. It’s being put before the Supreme Court and I, for one, am thankful that our country was founded in a way that how someone else feels or believes, doesn’t affect my right to live my life the way I choose.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In my Bible that’s in red print ’cause Jesus said it. I want to be like Him.