Maybe there’s no good place to say it. Maybe everywhere is a good place to say it, but it’s terrible and painful and disgusting to think that a man with a deep feeling that liberals and GLBT folks were harming the world has entered a place of worship with guns blazing to right some terrible wrong that we have perpetrated on the world.
Because this church opened itself to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks. Because this church said we are all welcome and equal in the eyes of god/spirit/light, whatever you want to call it. Because this church was bold enough to speak against intolerance, critically minded enough to know that inequality does harm to our spirits. Because women are equal here.
Tonight I remember that this is not an isolated incident. And that we will hear calls from all sides that say “Oh, we all have our extremists.”
But I beg to differ right now. It is your world that has created the cultural war that this gentleman is seeking. Intolerance creates hate. Discrimination creates disdain for “the other.” Judgments about who is worthy, and which of your darling sins and rules are dealbreakers and which are ok because you indulge in them have created this world.
And liberal inaction, liberal silence, liberal prejudice, and liberal misogyny and race hatred and heterosexism and homophobia have been your friends, in fact we have often used your tools against those we say we love. But you need to know more about the history here. You need to know why and how your church has laid the path to attack mine.
You’ve killed our doctors, shunned us from your pulpit, fought against our families, and worked to enshrine discrimination against us.
You’ve turned the hoses on us, fired us from our jobs, taken our children from us, and beaten us in the streets.
You’ve used your bibles as weapons, burned our books, and forced us to conform to your narrow standards for how we should look, be, and act in the world.
You’ve hidden your pregnant daughters from view, fought to have your choices control women’s bodies, worried endlessly about sex without supporting sexuality education. And still you say women have no valid path to spiritual leadership. Because they have a vagina.
You’ve demonized women who must choose between being sluts or virgins, twisted Jesus into a cult of acrobatic performance for one another instead of emulating the organizer for justice he was, you’ve asked us to be silent so you are comfortable, told us not to rock the boat because it is too hard for you to hear, and encouraged us to tone it down, back down, stay down.
You’ve forced us to dress according to your Code of Should, to take on fiction as a way of life, to embrace silence and lies so you can continue to discriminate.
You patronize us by loving us as your sinner kid, your sinner friend, your sinner relative, your sinner colleague despite the fact that we make bridges to love you anyway despite your loathing, disgust, inaction, and despite the luxury of your dirty privilege.
You’ve bombed us in Birmingham, left us for dead in Laramie, burned crosses in our yards, used rape as a weapon of war, built up oppressive regimes then pulled them down no matter how many civilians you killed, promoted a strong military then did nothing to lend effective psychological and transitional support to the people you sacrificed.
Your popes have crusaded against us, your troops have gassed us, and your leaders have sold you a bill of goods that hatred, violence, intolerance, discrimination, fear of others, closed doors, or segregation will serve you well. That Jesus loves you for it.
Your tools are exclusion, guns, bigotry, separation, inequality, and a mindset of fear. Your lack of concern for social justice is debilitating and you need to be reminded.
Just for the record:
We did not shoot your doctor.
We did not tell you that you are spiritually unworthy of the pulpit because the way we sin is more palatable than the way you sin. Or because you are women or different or anything.
We did not try to take your kids away in the name of Jesus.
We did not bomb your clinic, your federal building, or your bar.
We did not fight to keep your votes from counting or to keep you from voting.
We did not beat the living hell out of you and leave you for dead on a fence in Wyoming for being gay.
We did not spend millions of dollars trying to keep you from protecting your family.
We did not turn the hose on you.
We did not fire you for who you love.
We did not work diligently to resist self-critical thoughts about how our views and actions could make the world a harder place to be in for others.
We don’t shoot up your churches that discriminate, please stay out of our churches that are welcoming.
And we will keep welcoming you while you make the world a harder place for us to be in.
And we will welcome you.
And we will welcome you.
If you do come to our churches, and synagogues, and temples, and spiritual homes, many of which were built as safe zones from your fear, or hatred, or disgust, leave your damn weapons at home.
And we will welcome you as you have shunned us and created a dirty landscape full of mines for us to negotiate on our way to work, our way home, our way to our peaceful spaces where we can celebrate the embracing of GLBT folks, the movement to end discrimination and inequality, the reclaiming of our earth beyond it’s corporate purpose and the peace that we cherish.
We feel closer to one another, more connected to the world, some closer to god and spirit, some closer to Jesus, in these spaces.
Your weapons, be they the passive acceptance of discrimination, your actions to single us out for treatment less than your privilege allows you, your decisions that we have to live the way you live in order to be free, and your weapons that blow us up, kill our fathers and mothers, or our friends and loved ones, are not welcome here.
We don’t shoot up your churches. And we don’t lay the groundwork to do so.
“It is impossible to simultaneously prevent and plan for war.” -Einstein
“Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” – Molly Ivins