Thursday, November 18, 2004

regarding vincent

He "looked gay". Whether by effort or natural design, Vincent met the stereotype of the California homosexual male. Immaculately styled hair framed a face completely devoid of the slightest trace of stubble. A chocolate brown tweed trench coat covered his argyle sweater and corduroy pants. The pant cuffs broke flawlessly atop black cap-toe Oxfords, and matched the color of the jacket precisely, which was assuredly no accident. His attire contrasted glaringly among the pleated Dockers and bomber jackets that seemed to be the uniform for the middle-aged bald men on board the flight.

Even his iPod was accessorized, displayed from within the confines of a leather carrying case. This is how I struck up a conversation with him, by acknowledging the unspoken fraternal bond between the Disciples of The Fruit (Apple). I soon discovered that he resided in downtown Long Beach, working as a traveling hair stylist to primarily Beverly Hills clientele.

For the past few months, I have had a desire to have a dialogue with someone who is openly gay. To have a rational discussion about politics and religion and how these two have recently intersected with the gay lifestyle. The Christian Right tends to use gays to promote an agenda. That agenda is, "we want the United States to operate like a Protestant church." So not only do we attack gays and gay marriage and civil unions, but we also lump in anyone who sees no problem with any of the above.

It never occurs to the promoter of the Christian Right to think, "what can we do to actually bring some of these homosexuals into a saving relationship with Christ?"

Do you think keeping them from getting married is going to sway them towards our faith? Do you think preventing them from being able to file tax returns jointly is going to admonish them into church attendance? Do you think preventing them from having a civil union is going to make them not gay?

No. No. And no. None of our political maneuvering is going to bring them any closer to the Living God. It pushes them further away because it makes them hate us. And it makes them hate our God.

But living an openly gay lifestyle is a clear affront to God, so we can't allow our society to condone that.

Ok. So I assume you'll start pushing to prevent alcoholics from filing joint tax returns. And you'll lobby to keep adulterers from voting. And everyone who is arrogant should not have the right to free speech.

There are several sins vastly more pervasive and dangerous and destructive than homosexuality. Why have we targeted gays over the alcoholics and adulterers and the arrogant? Does the Bible not have more to say against those three sins than it does against homosexuality?

But the Christian Right has targeted gays. For some reason, their sin should keep them from joint filing. Should keep them from hospital visitation. Should keep them from financial planning options. The same rights that even professing atheists are allowed.

I don't think homosexuality is okay. I don't think gay marriage is okay. I think that having our society accept and allow gay marriage would be not okay. But Christians are actually preventing homosexuals from ever coming to know Jesus because we are so hateful towards them. If we were more concerned with their souls than with maintaining our individual subjective ideals of a moral society, then maybe some of them would be open to the freedom of Christ.

Vincent and I talked for most of the flight from Dallas to Long Beach, and I'll probably never see him again. I probably won't get to hang out with him in heaven. Because the portrait of Jesus that's been painted for him by the Christian Right isn't a Jesus that he wants to spend eternity with. And honestly, I don't blame him, because I wouldn't want to either. But thankfully the real Jesus doesn't lobby, he doesn't go on The O'Reilly Factor, and he doesn't try to pass constitutional amendments. He loves people and calls them from their sin.

I would really hate for same-sex couples to become a norm in our society. But what I would hate even more is for us to perpetuate the myth that our faith is hostile to homosexuals, instead of just homosexuality.

Vincent's soul is more important than my agenda.