Sunday, September 25, 2011

Really, folks? "A choice".....

My partner's uncle Ken is a reasonable, pleasant man. (At least, from what I have seen. I will have to defer to his lovely wife Joy for confirmation...)

I have had the chance to visit in his home, and chat with him and Joy over lunches at Mexican Villa, a local Springfield diner. Ken is a retired professor and accountant, a fiscal conservative, and yet also a seemingly compassionate man. His blog, The Brown Perspective is a mixture of family history and reflections on curret events and philosophy.

In today's post, Ken talks about choices, and how choice can be defined differently by where one is in the process. He points out how a situation can look like "a choice" or "an unchosen circumstance," depending on whether one is actually in the situation, or merely judging it from the outside.

His first example - the "choice" to be homosexual - is one that is rather popular down here in the Ozark buckle of the Bible Belt. Strangely, however, the only folks who appear to believe that homosexuality is a choice are the ones who stand most to benefit by homosexuality being a choice - Christian fundamentalists.

Let's face it: what person, no matter their level of sanity, would choose homosexuality - especially in this particular neighborhood? Hmmm...let's see...
  • A vast marjority of those who are in any position of power or prestige almost unanimously profess to reject gays - mostly because it's a cheap and easy way to recruit the votes of "righteous folk.".
  • Gays are put down, bullied and abused from their youngest memories well into adulthood.
  • Gays are assured by the vast majority of Christian leadership that their lives and loves are "abomination" and that their only choices are repentance/celibacy/lonely death, or eternal damnation. 
  • Gays receive almost no benefit from joint taxes, joint-property ownership or survivorship, because these are the benefit of marriage, and these benefits are reserved (evidently) to those who are going to support a Godly, child-producing lifestyle. (Never mind that a significant portion of straight couples who do marry (a) do not believe in God or attend church and/or  (b) have no intention whatsoever of having children.)
  • If a gay person ends up in the hospital intensive-care-unit, his gay partner is not allowed to be with him in ICU - because that privilege is reserved for family, and two men (or two women) could never, ever, be a family.   They would much rather the gay person die alone than have that kind of crap going on in a decent hospital.
  • No matter how often it is proved otherwise, the supposed mainstream of America sees gays and lesbians as drug-addled, disease-infested, irresponsible sex-fiends who all want to seduce decent "normal" children into their evil lifestyle.
Oh yeah. Let me choose that. Sign me right up. "Everyone hates us, nobody likes us. Come live in our rainbow world, with Cher, Madonna and Lady Gaga!"  /sigh/  Some choice....

Here's the heart of the issue, however.  If homosexuality is labeled as both "deviant" and a "choice," then all those who don't choose homosexuality have, by definition, chosen rightly. And who doesn't want to be right, right?

This whole process simply becomes another way of creating a "them" for "us" to be against. Who wouldn't want to be "with us," rather than "with 'them'"? Once a group has created a "them," it then becomes even easier to:
  • Exclude "them" from the company of "decent folk"
  • Punish "them" by withholding basic rights from "them"
  • Raise money for any kind of organization which is working to beat back the awful tide of "them"
  • Reduce anyone who supports "them" to simply be "consorting with the enemy."
Now, it's not all gloom and doom.  The perception of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) persons is changing - slowly. The repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military ban on homosexuals is proof of this. There are lots of polls which show acceptance of GLBT persons is on the rise. Perceptions are changing - largely because more GLBT people are open about who they are and how they live. (Simply put, it's harder to hate the folks you know.)

However, just days ago, a US soldier made the foolish mistake of (a) posting a question to the GOP candidate debate about whether the candidates would reverse the DADT repeal via a YouTube clip, and (b) in the clip, admitting to being a gay man who has hid his sexuality for years in the military.

To no one's surprise, all of the Republican candidates would roll DADT back onto the books the minute they took office.

But the hideously embarassing thing was this: when they realized this fellow was gay,  the GOP audience members booed an active-duty US soldier, serving overseas in Iraq. (You can read the article, and listen to the video, over here.)

Just for the record: I don't care how holy and mighty you think your God is. I don't care how big the American flag is that you have painted on your house or your bumper or wherever.  I don't care if you own a gun or a business or pay taxes or not. But if you are ever in MY presence, and boo or jeer at one of the men and women who voluntarily serve the US Armed Forces, laying down their lives and their sacred honor for this country, no matter WHO they sleep with... well, you have cut down more hay than you can put up in a month of Sundays.
The phrase "open up a can 'o' whoop-ass" comes to mind.

Also, for the record:  I never chose being gay. Never, ever - not even once.  In fact, I fought it with every ounce of my being. I gave my life to God, to the church, to service of my fellow human beings, prayed, fasted, begged to be "straightened out." After four decades of that, I could only conclude that (a) I was created this way, (b) I was not a Divine "manufacturing defect," and (c) that my job was to be the best human being I could be - exactly as I was made. My partner and I are about as middle-class as anyone could be - church-going, God-loving, respectable residents and citizens.

All we want (really - all we want) is to be treated the same way the rest of you residents and citizens are.

Lastly, and again for the record:  I'm grateful for folks like Ken and his lovely wife Joy, who give us hope that we might one day actually get that wish.


  1. Stalkerish question-- but i seem to remember a few mentions of MCC in Indy on your other blog, (perhaps- i could be wrong!)-- but if so, is it a church you'd recommend? i, uhm... seem to be on yet another path of self-discovery (as a friend put it), one that seems to have led me outside the closet door and... midst all the questions and fears and confusion, i think it'd help to find a community of believers who, y'know, understand and will be supportive. Thanks.

  2. Oh and... love this. Your description of "choice" is so spot on. Maybe one day "they'll" understand.

  3. Dear Steve,
    Interesting perspective. This is quite a hot button issue, especially here in the U.S. and among those in the military today regarding the repeal of DADT.
    So, please note that I mean no offense to you or your readers when I say that being gay is in fact a choice. I sincerely apologize in advance if I do offend anyone.

    I don't take this stance out of my own belief as a man. A man whose oldest son (whom I love tremendously) is gay and has been for several years. I approach this like I always do and that is by holding it up to the "light" (the word of God).
    I admire your honesty in your posts as I came across something that stood out to me yesterday as I read this blog.
    You said, "Also, for the record: I never chose being gay. Never, ever - not even once. [In fact, I fought it with every ounce of my being. I gave my life to God, to the church, to service of my fellow human beings, prayed, fasted, begged to be "straightened out." After four decades of that, I could only conclude that (a) I was created this way, (b) I was not a Divine "manufacturing defect," and (c) that my job was to be the best human being I could be - exactly as I was made.]"

    I was reading Galatians chapter 5 this morning and I was reminded of the words from your blog and just like Paul, speaking to the people of Galatia asks verse 7, I can't help but ask the same thing: "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"

    The truth is we, like Paul, all have a thorn in our flesh. Paul even asked for the Lord to remove it 3 times, but God did not (2 Cor 12:8). Instead, God promised Paul something greater than the power of sin in our lives...His Grace (v.9). In that grace Paul chose to fight for the Kingdom rather than earthly or even his own personal desires.

    Finally dear brother, I'd like to encourage you to [choose] to "live by the Spirit" and "not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:16). The acts of the sinful nature are sometimes so obvious and yet we don't do what we want but instead do the things in which we hate (paraphrasing Romans 7:15).

    Once again, please do not take offense and I hope in no way is anyone offended by my comments. That is not my intention. And if you feel this post of mine would do more harm than good, please feel free to delete it. I'm ok with that. Take care and have a blessed day my friend.

    Semper Fi & God Bless,

  4. Den, I published your comment - even though it is, in fact, hideously insulting and offensive.

    The whole point of my post was to say that no one with even a shred of sanity would choose to be gay.

    And then you, in your comment, say "I say that being gay is in fact a choice" and "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"

    Paul asked God to remove "his thorn" three times. I asked for it to be removed for 30 YEARS, Den. Every single day. Paul was a lightweight.

    I posted your comment precisely so others could see it for what it is. But I have no use for those who would suggest I deny what I am. Not what I chose to be; what I always was. The way I was made, by God.

  5. Steve,
    Once more I sincerely apologize because I have obviously offended you. With that said, I promise you will not receive any additional comments from me in the future.