Shuck and Jive

Friday, July 09, 2010

Meaning of Life, Part 57

Wherever the lies about gay and lesbian people come from, those lies are accepted almost universally these days by clergy and laity alike. From their pulpits and lecterns, through their radio and television programs, their books, magazines, and tracts and their avalanche of direct mail, the hateful rhetoric trickles down into local homes and churches with devastating results.

Misunderstood, rejected, beaten, and even discarded, gay children commit suicide or end up as runaways on the mean streets of our cities. Unless they stay safely in the closet, gay and lesbian adults risk losing their jobs, their apartments, their families, and their children. Now, thanks to precinct-by-precinct, antigay hate campaigns by the religious right, in the cities, counties, and states of this nation, legislation is in place or pending to take away even our most basic civil and human rights. Only the courts, God bless them, are keeping hatred at bay. But on a typical day, gays and lesbians who dare to speak the name are harassed and hunted at home, at work, at school, at play, and in the military. Hate crimes against us are increasing at a frightening rate. We can’t even find sanctuary in our churches….

….To Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and my other old clients on the religious right whose antigay rhetoric is killing us, and to Billy Graham and my other old friends whose silence helps but not all that much, I say this. I will not hate you, for Jesus said, “Love your enemies.’ I will not plot revenge against you, for Jesus said, ‘Do good to those who despitefully use you and persecute you for my name’s sake.’ And I will not stoop to using your techniques: half-truths, hyperbole, and lies, for Jesus said, ‘The truth will set you free.’

But this, too, I promise. I will not remain silent any longer. The religious right is wrong: wrong about the Bible, wrong about Jesus, wrong about God, wrong about the church, wrong about the family, and seriously wrong about gay and lesbian people. On this Lesbian/Gay Pride Sunday, I pledge myself to do my best to prove you wrong with all the courage, wisdom, and love I can muster….

….When we act in faith, there is enough light in this world to conquer the darkness. As we journey together, let that light so shine in us that the darkness will be driven away and this long, dark night will end forever.

--Mel White, Stranger At The Gate, pp. 254-5, 268-9, 287


  1. It comes down to what Rev. Shuck wrote about several posts ago -- the persistence of pre-modern views of scripture (and of the world, and of fellow humans) among those in power. What is needed is a thorough education in the modern undertanding of scripture. I'm actually surprised at the amount of fundamentalism in the PCUSA; I thought they had departed to the selfconsciously fundamentalist denominations like the PCA.

  2. I'm actually surprised at the amount of fundamentalism in the PCUSA;

    One can only marvel.

  3. I guess they stay to maintain control of their buildings. Absent the rule on denominational ownership of property, they'd be gone. My mentality is that the property rule should be changed so everyone could freely sort themselves out in separate groups; but a PCUSA pastor once told me 'A difficult unity is better than an easy separation', so what do I know.

  4. Have you read Mel White's more recent book, "Religion Gone Bad"? Definitely worth a read to see the well-funded and amazingly coordinated attacks on the family by the so-called family values coalition.

  5. @Michael The problem is that categories of people are not clear or static. There is always a way for the dissatisfied to leave (in many cases with church property).

    @Alan I have read the very good Religion Gone Bad. Thank you for that reminder. Good book, beloveds.