If I see one more "it's all about me" homo try to engage in half-ass apologetics for the religious who are attempting to legislate their beliefs into my life, I'm gonna scream. For the record, my "bile" is not informed solely by "Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher", as one poster put it; I've spent well over a quarter of my life studying the history and tradition of Western religion and its intersection with gender and sexuality, and yes, I'm betting I know a great deal more about it than that guy. (Or Bill Maher, for that matter.)

Tolerance for beliefs is one thing; you can believe some whacked-out shit and I'm perfectly fine with it. Gods know I've got some kooky ideas about the nature of reality myself. But when an individual or group of people begin to enforce their religious beliefs on the rest of us, the correct response ceases to be tolerance and becomes well-earned scrutiny. There are some crazy people out there (some with lots of money and influence) who very much want to replace the laws and constitution of the U.S. with the book of Leviticus. (Google "Christian Dominionism" sometime: it's scarier than ghost stories.)

It's not a virtue to give these people a pass. What they're doing is not all right, even if it's part of their belief system. The political is the personal, as some 70's & 80's radical feminists were fond of saying, and when religion moves from the realm of belief to the realm of the polis it makes itself available for legitimate personal and societal criticism, both from within the belief system as well as from outside it.

"But Chris," some of you will be saying, "you can't paint all X's with the same brush." That's true; having spent a good deal of very frustrating time in a progressive Christian community I know it all too well. But because the majority of Christian sentiment worldwide trends toward intolerance, there is a responsibility for all of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, to be a light for the Church and for the world saying "your behavior is not Christ-like, this is not love." I marched in solidarity with gay Christians and helped reach out to queer seekers and still I hid under a bushel far more than I should have. That said, to those of my friends who are letting their light shine, and especially those doing it from the hardest place of all, the inside: thank you. You may be blazing against a pressing darkness that comprehendeth it not, but you're doing your part.



April 2012

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