Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kicked with a boot meant for a big foot.

I get these moments, every now and then, that are kind of like kicks in the ass. Really swift, painful kicks, probably from an oversized boot; and, despite my sexual affinity for asses, they are actually not particularly enjoyable.

Today, I got two.

The first was in reading an article written by Shane Claiborne. This is a man that I feel I was born to hate - he is a radical lover of Christ in a way that I cannot even begin to imagine. He is a humble man, devoted to the service of the most hated and impoverished people that could be found in America, and he is an evangelical. And, he is doing everything that I find absolutely endearing in Christianity, and doing it loudly so that God is glorified and so that people can be liberated from suffering.

This only hours after mocking the very ideals of Christian worship in preparation for one of my music ensemble's participation in an Advent Service next weekend.

I am a bastard. And I have a tendency to get my foot stuck in my mouth. Usually an oversized foot. And, even in considering my sexual affinity for mouths, this is also usually painful.

The second moment came tonight. I often find myself attracted towards gay videos on Youtube - there is an enormous collection of videos composed by people telling their coming-out stories. These videos have been, at time, my only friend. And they really helped me normalize my homosexuality with my identity.

Tonight I watched a speech given by a high school student to his classmates. This student was gay, he was attending a Christian (perhaps Catholic?) school, and he was speaking, in Chapel, about his homosexuality.

And I claim to have a serious identity crisis in trying to reconcile God and Homosexuality! Here is a man speaking from a pulpit about being gay. Being gay in high school. And looking for a boyfriend, as a gay young adult, in high school, in front of all of his peers. During a Chapel service. Supported by staff and students. And being... proud? In high school?

This just seems entirely unimaginable to me.

But it happened.

This student was a good speaker - and presented a competent, well produced speech. He referenced friends, experiences, and moments in his life where he realized his own depravity and his own potential for great things. He talked about family, as though it was his goal in life to have a family. It seemed familiar, somehow.

And he did this all at the religious school. (seriously, this wasn't staged - this actually happened!)

How do I reconcile God with homosexuality? Is it possible? Do I want to? Can I escape this idea that he even might exist, and am I prepared for what the entails? Is anybody out there that knows about God, that isn't a frightening Christian, and that is interested in battling through this with me? I could name a few... but none of them are gay.

I think I need to connect with this gay community a bit. I just don't know how. And I am kind of... scared.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

God doesn't really suck.

I was out for coffee with a good friend of mine a couple weeks ago - he is a local pastor - and he asked me something a long the lines of when I decided to get God out of my life. I think this is largely a response to my "Snake Eyes" post, which you can find below.

I responded saying that it is very difficult to reconcile being Gay and being Christian. The two, as much as I can theorize about their coexistence in a single person, and as much as I see it happening in many gay people, come from different worlds. Being and Gay Christian feels like your playing Baseball with a Soccer Ball - you're still playing the sport, your still playing with a ball, but something seems wrong and the game is messed up entirely.

Over the past couple of months, this has lead me increasingly away from any philosophy that allows for the existence of God. Is this good? I don't know - I see so much in the world that is worthwhile that develops out of Christians. Some of my closest friends are Christians - and wonderfully so. I count this pastor among them. They are examples of this theory that I want to believe in - that Christians and Homosexuality are not exclusive realities.

But every homosexual with any history with the church knows that people condemn them to Hell in the name of Christ.

I don't even believe in Hell. I don't think I even believe in atonement, if the Biblical story of Christ is true. But it is impossible to forget being condemned to Hell - because it is a philosophy and an idea that includes so much hatred and disgust.

Nobody wants to go to Hell. Not even an atheist.

My last couple posts have focused on the gay marriage struggle that took place in the state of Maine at the beginning of the month. I have shared my heartbreak with you on this already. Let me share somebody else's with you.

The reality is this: Christianity is the leading cause of hatred against homosexuals in North America and Europe. The Islamic faith is the leading cause of hatred against homosexuals in the Middle East and Africa. The Jewish State of Israel only allows homosexual marriage because their constitution and legal precedent binds them to Canadian laws - there is enormous opposition within the state against homosexual marriage. So when I am asked when I turned away from God, my answer can only be that I turned away from God when I first heard about Hell, and when I first recognized the depth of hatred that God's peoples have for homosexuals.

I realize that this isn't a blanket statement, and for those many Jews, Muslims, and Christians who have fought alongside homosexuals to promote legal and social equality I send my gratitude. It is because of your support that my life is changed - I am able to be me, as I was created to be, because you were brave on my behalf.

But please understand how damaging it is to have churches protesting against us rather than for us when they pretend to represent a God that loves us all, equally. It is so difficult to believe in God when his people don't believe you have the capacity to love, or be moral - and when they go out into the streets with signs proclaiming this.

Please understand how hard it is for me to approach God.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I know your angry! I'm angry!

I woke up this morning and with a great deal of immediacy looked for results of the vote on gay marriage in Maine that took place yesterday. What I discovered was far from promising. CNN was reporting that, with 87% of polls reporting, the split was 53% to 47% in opposition of extending the right of marriage to homosexual couples.

I am in shock that the nation of America is not shaking right now. The constitution has been taken to its knees and forced to choke down the bigotry of the majority.

Unfortunately this is a common theme in American history. Women have been denied the right to vote. Black men denied the right to own property. Black people denied the right of religion. All largely by de facto oppression of persons who are "afflicted" with "conditions" over which they have no control.

But really, being a woman isn't a "condition". Neither is being black.

Neither is being gay. And being gay and in love cannot possibly be a "condition".

As Americans became aware of these concerns, the nation and its constitution trembled. The American Civil War was caused, in part, by the inequal rights offered slaves. The Women's rights movement altered the economy, and made every home in the country quiver with concern and tension.

The gay rights movement does not have this effect. It hasn't had that effect in Canada, and has not had this effect in America. We don't start wars. We don't have a face in every home that forces the tension of reality to be recognized by every person in the nation. We hide, and we sulk, and we march down streets - but not all of us. We get beaten, or killed, or told to move out of neighbourhoods or "face the consequences". We get called members of the "b" team. Our ability to have morals is questioned.

Is your sense of hope diminishing? Am I supposed to have some gratitude?

I wish I could pretend that the gay marriage movement in the states doesn't matter to me, as a gay man living in Canada. But I am enormously aware of how important marriage is, having only recently become familiar with the potential for marriage in my own life. Marriage provides an option for a future permanent romantic life that terms such as "civil union" and "domestic partnership" cannot capture. My own late discovery of gay married couples has alarmed me to this possibility in my own life.

And I can't imagine living without this vision of hope anymore.

In Canada this almost happened, and I wish I could share my rage at Stephen Harper's mere mention that it was a possibility in 2006. But it didn't. It has now happened twice in America, in two separate states located on opposite sides of the North American continent. California and Maine both had extended the right of marriage to gay couples only to have that opportunity, and human right, revoked by the populace.

The argument that human rights are extended by the proliferation of democracy is weaker now than ever.


I'm angry because my personal philosophy and sense of dignity has been challenged once more. My knees have shaken. My foundation turned to dust.

America, your constitution has been spit on - the same constitution for which you have fought many wars, the same constitution that learn about in school. The basic law of your land has been repealed by your own people. Why is your foundation not turning to dust? Where is your anger? Moreover, where is your love?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mob rule and the right to marry.

Today, in three American states, the question of gay marriage is being taken to the electorate. I doubt that it will find public support in any of the states, but I think there is an immense opportunity for hope. Polls in Maine are particularly close. Tomorrow votes will have been counted and there will be some certainty on if homosexuals in three states can get married in the near future.

In this battle, considerable amounts of hate literature has been produced. They prey on your fears of homosexuals, and of change. Do you fear me? Are you seriously concerned about my ability to love? What about my ability to enjoy the same title as you - husband?

Bryan, from Gay Family Values, wrote this in conclusion to a recent posting about the elections taking place. "If we lose, we will do as we have always done. Pick up our bruised and broken bodies, bury our dead, reaffirm the hope in our hearts and fight on because we know that you won't stop until you have made our lives a criminal offense."

I am so thankful to live in Canada. But not everybody has the same opportunity. Indeed, mob rule is currently preventing marriage from being granted to people who were born just as I was. And just as you were. Only being born 90 miles south of my hometown.

Some of us are fortunate. Some of us are not.

Try living without marriage for a while. Not only that, try living without marriage even if you want it very much. Add on top of that the reality that there is no constitutional basis for the restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples. Add on top of this the sheer enormity of social persecution of homosexuals and heterosexuals who are pushing for marriage equality. Is there room for hope?

I thank God for Americans and their willingness to fight and have hope. I admire you, for your strength and your absolute refusal to give up in your pursuit of equality. Total equality. Don't stop at marriage. Don't stop until the word "faggot" is removed from society, or until you can walk down a street holding your partners hand without any fear of being ridiculed. Or beaten. Don't stop until two men can dance with each other on television.

This is the Canadian fight, and I look forward to having you working on a more equal plain as us. May we find inspiration in your fight, and may we join together to forever alter the way that society understands equality, discrimination, and sexuality.

Americans -you may make a revolutionary out of me yet.