Gay...what a word.

Out of all the words in the English language, very few spark the litany of opinions, views, and judgments as the word gay. I’m not certain why one small word has so much power. These three letters cause people to turn on their families; fall into various states of mental distress; fear falling in love; and alienate themselves from general society. Oddly enough it will even make some parents review how they raised their child in effort to see if the ‘gay’ was somehow their fault. However, the bigger picture is that the word gay is simply just that - a word - and nothing else. What has made the difference is how people have elevated the word to a level that has caused unnecessary hate, suicide, and even murder.

It is very simple -and sometimes more beneficial- for a person to fall into the ways of mainstream society and live their life according to what is perceived to be normal. Many have taken on uncomfortable roles for the sake of acceptance and that may fairly well be the only way they feel a happy and fulfilled life may be obtained. The capability to become a chameleon and blend into the color that seems best suited for success has become commonplace. Some of us have the talent of knowing which mask to wear for proper occasion and will become whatever we need to be to please those who themselves are not being. What would happen if everyone took of their masks? How would we relate to the real person behind the facade of happiness, strength, and contentment? Could we benefit from living in a world where all were allowed to be who they truly are and not who we would feel more comfortable with them being?

I watched a documentary a few months ago entitled “For the Bible tells me so” and it discussed homophobia in America. I was intrigued yet saddened by the hate, fear, and loathing that was coming from the church in relation to homosexuality. I was actually caught off guard by the lack of love that the Christians displayed. It was apparent that the hate was all in the name of Jesus Christ and I will never be on board with that. To dislike or disapprove of something is fine and the prerogative of any living soul, however to hate is wrong, regardless of the reason. I am not asking anyone to change their belief system but how Christians represent God truly needs to be revisited. What I am trying to discern is why are gays the only ones made to feel so uncomfortable in certain places of worship. I have been blessed to have worshiped with all types of believers, so I will never encapsulate everyone into one box. Nevertheless, I will admit that the church building is filled with all types of everything, but somehow a huge judgmental light in shined on homosexuals. I want to know why and would love to hear an answer that has a twinge of compassion and not a judgmental stance.

Usually when Christians –or any unlearned heterosexual- think of gay people, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the sexual behavior. “What do they do in the bedroom? How do they do it? Why do they do it? Who is doing whom?” After those questions are answered, the assumptions begin. “They must have been touched as a child. They must have HIV. They’re confused and really want the opposite sex.” Next, the judgment starts, “They need to get delivered. They need to accept that their lifestyle is wrong. They’re going straight to hell. Who are they to think they can have a family? I would never let them watch my kids.” Finally, the exclusion, “How dare they praise God in here with us. I wish they would find their own church because God doesn’t want them here. Once we get the gay people out of our church, God will bless our ministry.” I can go on and on but I think you get the gist of what I am trying to express. So again I ask why does this little word ruffle so many feathers? What have ‘gays’ done to cause so much controversy and dislike?

I have friends of all races, financial backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations. Do I love one more than the other because they line up with what I believe; of course not. My instruction from God in the book of Mark is to “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” and by staying focused on that, I have am able to accept all and love all without reservation or question. God never said it would be easy to love everyone and I will be the first to admit that I have had my challenges with that charge but I do try my best. If Christians who are disgusted by homosexuals actually believe that their negative comments and actions are a clear depiction of love then there is a lot more that needs to be learned about the word of God. Hearing a saint of God use words like faggot and sissy is an embarrassment to all that God stands for and believe it or not I have heard it while in the house of the Lord. I have heard harsh words of criticism and judgment said to homosexual members of a church, without remorse or the bat of an eye. Is this acceptable behavior? Is putting someone down, emotionally scarring them, or shattering their self-esteem really pleasing to God?

Do I profess to know the entire bible or claim to be a biblical scholar; of course not. But who I do know is God and his son Jesus. Whether I believe gays are going to heaven or hell is not the qualifier for my salvation; nor is it what I focus on if a homosexual male or lesbian female decides to sit next to me in the sanctuary. Am I deterred when the homeless man that smells of alcohol or the prostitute fresh out the motel room walks into church? I would honestly say no, because I used to drink and have had lots of sex, so who am I to judge. However, it seems as though, the vices we have all participated in are the easiest to look over, look past, or simply tolerate. Is that being a mature Christian?

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