I JUST CAN'T DO
26 July 2002
I've been struggling for a month with the new topic for the On Display collaboration. It was my own
suggestion--to take an issue about which you feel passionate and write an entry from your
opponent's point of view. The topic was based on a suggestion by Ned, who felt we could
only achieve dialogue with people of opposing views by trying to get under their skin. So,
gritting my teeth, I have tried do it all month. I felt it would be unfair of me to shy
away from discussing "the whole gay thing" from the other side, since everyone
knows that is my biggest hot button issue.
The problem I had was writing something that I feel in my bones to
be false. I've read writings and spoke with too many Biblical scholars who have presented,
over and over again, to my satisfaction, proof of the Bible's ambiguous language on the
subject of homosexuality.
I know there is no "gay agenda" and that gay men and
lesbians are not out to convert every straight person they meet, or take little children
under their wing for the purpose of "turning them gay."
(I also know that you can't "turn gay" any more than you
can "turn straight" if your orientation is one way or the other. It is what it
is, you are what you are.)
I know that all the scientific (and legal) studies show that
percentage-wise there are more straight pedophiles than there are gay pedophiles, and that
pedophilia is not about gender, but about power.
I strongly believe that there is discrimination against the gay
community, that gay couples are denied equal rights, that they are taxed the same as their
straight neighbors, but must accept second class citizen status.
I firmly believe that love between two people--of any gender--is
never wrong. I believe there is so much hatred and unhappiness in the world, and that
there are so many serious social issues confronting us, that for so much verbiage to be
shouted over the simple act of two people coming together physically is ridiculous. We
live in an age where love is a precious commodity and we should be supporting love, not
For this issue to bring pain, torture and even death because of
homophobia is criminal.
For families to separate themselves from their children because of
their children's sexual orientation is a tragedy of the highest order.
I firmly believe that gay people form long, loving and monogamous
relationships. I believe that love can be a beautiful thing which just coincidentally
happens to include coming together in a physical act, but which is mainly the totality of
two people's love for one another.
Are there promiscuous gay people? Of course. Are there promiscuous
straight people? Of course. Why is one worse than the other?
So to express all of this from the view of someone who is firmly
convinced that homosexuality is wrong has been, I've discovered, impossible. I can say the
words because I've heard them for years, but whenever I try to write them down, it comes
out sounding stilted and...phony, because I'm writing things which at my very core I do
I went to Ned, who first suggested this exercise and told him the
problem I was having. His response was:
What does this tell us about our own expectations/desires
toward our opponents? What does it tell us about how we ought to proceed?
Asking them to accept homosexuality is akin to asking us to
denounce homosexuality. Where does that leave us?
And maybe trying to do this exercise has taught me some sort of a
lesson. It has taught me how very difficult it is to express opinions that disagree with
what you believe to the very core of your being.
Perhaps it has made me a little more sympathetic toward people with
similarly held beliefs in the wrongness of homosexuality.
Perhaps it has taught me that the only way to deal with the furor
around the issue is to agree to disagree on what is right and what is wrong, but to hope
that in that agreement, everyone can realize that there are real people with real lives
and real loves who are being caught in the crossfire. People who deserve to live
unthreatened lives. Who deserve to be afforded equal rights with their straight neighbors.
So I am not going to write an entry discussing why I believe
homosexuality is wrong, because I can't even do that in theory. I will do the On Display
assignment, but I will have to pick a different issue.