Then today, gay marriage was legalized in all 50 states. This is on the heals of the Confederate flag debate, the Charleston shootings and Obama claiming the White House to be "his house." It's a lot and my mind is reeling. Of course I have an opinion on each and every one of those issues, but today I felt the need to write about only one of them.
I have been forming words in my head about this issue for awhile and I am sure some of my readers and even my friends and family may have strong opinions about what I have to say. It may even compel you to chastise me, unfriend me, block me or even hate me. I hope not as I am still the same person I have always been, I am just trying to find some sane in all the crazy and I guess I am once again, taking you along for the ride. Buckle up!
My mother was a nurse who graduated nursing school in 1956. Back then in order to become a nurse you had to do a period of time working in all specialties of nursing. She told me that when she did her time in psychiatric nursing....way back then, many of her patients were gays. That's right! That was their mental ailment. At that time, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and often those who bucked the system and allowed the world to know their true sexual orientation, ended up in psychiatric care. Homosexuality was viewed as immoral, predatory and yes.....a mental disorder. At that time it was not so much a religious issue but it was viewed more as how we view bi-polar disorders or schizophrenia today. (Funny little side note: Diagnosis's such as cerebral palsy and autism were also considered "diseases" which ended people up in institutions and mental hospitals.) Why? Because they were not viewed as mainstream "normal."
Move ahead to the last decades of the 20th century..... and the medical field started realizing that homosexuality was not a medical malady. It was not a disease that needed treatment, but rather a human trait much like the color of someones skin or their ethnicity. Homosexuality was not in fact a choice that someone made spurred on by environment or mental status, but homosexuality was the way someone was born. Like heterosexuals are born to be attracted both physically and mentally to the opposite sex (we simply can't help it), homosexuals are born to be attracted both physically and mentally to the same sex (they can't help it either). And quite frankly, knowing the world we live in, the harshness of peoples opinions and the actual abuse that has been thrown at homosexuals, who would actually choose that life if they had another choice?
I have in the past commented on homosexuality, but not until recently have I really thought about it. This is likely because I didn't think it really affected my life. I was wrong. In my world, in my small town, in my church, my friends group and even in my extended family, they are there. Some have sat back quietly trying to live their lives as inconspicuously as possible not wanting that small part of their life to be how the world judges them. Others, tired of hiding who they are for the sake of family, friends and in some cases their own safety, are boldly stepping out and finding their way in the world. I am seeing parents....good Christian parents....struggling to come to terms because they find out that their child is gay and they are walking a precarious line of trying to support their child while dealing with the backlash and judgment from family and friends who see "sin" instead of a child.
I know of kids right in my community even in our enlightened age, who have struggled with not only trying to understand why they aren't like the other kids, but having to deal with abuse and bullying from both other kids and adults. This has led to suicide attempts and both self abuse and self medication just to deal with something they have no control over and yet feel like they are somehow bad because of. No child should have to feel like that. Yes, this issue affects me and I think it affects us all. So today, when gay marriage passed, I thought it was time to say something.
How do I feel about gays, gay marriage and the such? As I said, I have gay friends and family. They are no different than myself. They get up in the morning, go to work, take care of families and live their lives. Many go to church, volunteer in their communities and a few have even proudly served their country. Believe it or not, I even know a couple of gays who are even more conservative than I am. Most want nothing more than anyone else. They want to live their lives without the world judging them. They want to fall in love, get married and have families. They basically want to be treated just like you and I do. No fuss, no muss and you know what......I am good with that!
Now some of you out there I know.....just ran for the smelling salts. Others of you have grabbed your bibles and are now praying for my soul. To you, I say thank you. I need all the prayers I can get, but not over this. The Bible may not condone homosexuality, but there are many things that the Bible does not condone like divorce, lust, gluttony, lying, adultery, premarital sex and here's a biggie....judgment! And yet, many of you who stand aghast at me now, are not without at least one of these sins on a daily basis. The difference between these sins and homosexuality is: God did not make us so we had no choice but to divorce our spouse, force us to lust after others, eat everything in our sight or lie. He did not make us so that we would cheat, force us to judge or make it so that we had no choice but to have sex outside of marriage, but.........He did make gays, just who they are, same sex attraction and all. So I ask, if being gay is a sin along with all the rest of the sins, then whose sin is greater and who but God has the right to judge that? I do believe that along with all the things the Bible tells us not to do, one of the greatest messages it brings forth is that we are to love...not judge....one another.
All this being said, I do take exception to those gays who feel the need to constantly fill me in on their sex lives and remind me that they are gay. I have always been of the mind that I won't tell you about my sex life if you don't tell me about yours. Gay or straight, what you do behind closed doors is absolutely none of my business and who you do or don't sleep with is not a prerequisite to how I view you as a person. I am also not fond of those who feel that gay pride is somehow more important than straight pride. A while back I mentioned to someone that I thought straight pride was just as important as gay pride and I was told that my statement verged on hate speech. Not cool. Perhaps though, we need to forget gay/straight pride and just have American pride or human pride. The very fact that we need to have divided pride in who we love speaks volumes about both sides.
The gay issue and gay marriage is not going away, especially not after today. So I ask those of you who view gays and gay marriage as sinful to remember that Jesus Himself was not fond of stone throwers and perhaps if we spent more time worrying about our own sins and less time worrying about others, our hands and hearts would be too busy to worry about who was sleeping with or marrying whom. I also ask you to remember that homosexuality is not a disease and that who people love and have sex with is only a fraction of who they are as a person. In fact, I would almost bet that there are those of you who have known, liked and even respected gays in your life and never even knew they were gay. So if you found out that they were attracted to their own sex, slept with their own sex or married their own sex would that suddenly change who they are in your eyes and how you felt about them as people? If your answer is yes, then that says much more about your sin than it does about theirs.
Also, please remember that there are families out there affected by this issue every day. They shouldn't be, but they are because the world says if you have a gay child....you did something wrong, they did something wrong and somehow your family deserves to be judged by family, friends and even complete strangers. I can imagine nothing harder for a devout Christian parent than to find out their child is gay. Not because they feel that their child is somehow a pariah, evil or a sinner, but because no parent wants to see their child suffer....and in the world we live in, few can come out without the world judging them, abusing them and hurting them. No parent wants that for their child for when your child is in pain...so are you. In my opinion, there is no greater Christian, than a parent who is given a child by God, who stands behind that child in the face of family and friends in support of that child...gay or straight. To my friends with gay kids....I stand in awe of your strength.
So....gay marriage passed and Lisa wrote a blog. Some would say that today was a pretty good day!