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LGBTs, Atheists, and Theists December 19, 2013

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Christianity, Friends, hate speech, LGBT, Morality, Relationships, Theology.
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Anyone who spends more than a few minutes around me will soon recognize that I have a WIDE circle of friends. Although registered Republican (Democrat curious), I am good friends with many who claim the label “Liberal.” I’m simultaneously friends with many who consider themselves strongly “Conservative.”

I have friends who are (like me) theists, ranging from the theologically liberal to the most ardent conservative, and friends who are atheists (and Atheists). I am friends with several people who have come out as lesbian or gay, countless others whose family members fall under the LGBT umbrella, and I’m friends with a lot of people who are straight (like me).

Lately, I’ve found myself hearing parallel comments that I’ve found fascinating.

Stuck in the Middle

On Facebook, few subjects generate as much heat and furor as religion and sexual orientation. Not surprisingly, this is as true on my FB page as any, and possibly more so because of the number of friends that I have across these social divisions.

Within the realm of religious discussions, I will hear something like the following from fellow theists, in defense of their position:

  • “This is what I feel and believe to be true, and this relationship is real. You can’t deny the reality of what’s in my heart.”
  • “Biology can’t explain everything, and someday, scientists will figure out that this is real.”
  • “Why can’t you tolerate my position? I’m not hurting anyone.”

These statements generally get an eye roll in response, or something along the lines of “When you can prove it with science, then we’ll talk. Until then, I reject this ‘relationship’ as a game you’re playing inside your head to justify things that you want to be true.” (Of course, there are valid questions being asked about whether or not people have been hurt by various theological positions, either by wars waged over theology, or by families restricting access to health care for their children over “religious” reasons.)

Interestingly, I saw something similar from a gay friend, in defense of his lifestyle:

  • “This is what I feel and believe to be true, and this relationship is real. You can’t deny the reality of what’s in my heart.”
  • “Biology can’t explain everything, and someday, scientists will figure out that this is real.”
  • “Why can’t you tolerate my position? I’m not hurting anyone.”

These statements also seem to get an eye roll in response, with a comment like “When you can prove it with science, then we’ll talk. Until then, I reject this ‘relationship’ as a game you’re playing inside your head to justify things that you want to be true.”

Thank You, Captain Obvious

In the past day or so, Phil Robertson, of “Duck Dynasty” fame, has found himself on hiatus because of voicing his opinion of the morality of a gay/lesbian lifestyle. To be certain, Robertson’s reference to gay anal sex was extreme, but his views were hardly surprising, given the conservative theology that he’s made very clear in recent years. Why is there surprise that someone like Robertson would consider a gay relationship as “illogical”?

Of course, news of Robertson’s “hiatus” has been a rallying point for theological conservatives, as they are now petitioning for him to be reinstated. I find this curious, as said groups are regularly wanting to have people booted from shows for espousing ideology of beliefs that run counter to their sensibilities. Why doesn’t A&E get to freely choose the image they want to promote?

The news has likewise drawn praise from LGBT groups for being the right response to “gay bashing.” This is just as curious to me as the conservative response, given how painfully obvious it’s been what the Robertson family’s theological position is on other issues, and it wouldn’t take a rocket surgeon to extrapolate this to what they believe about homosexual or extramarital relationships. You may not like what Robertson has to say, but he certainly has a right to express his opinions.

Conclusion

As I stated above, I have several friends who are part of the LGBT community. They are my friends, not because of their sexual orientation, nor in spite of it, but for a host of reasons that are as varied as they are. In the same way, I have friends who aren’t theists, and their reasons for not believing as I do are similarly varied.

Because all of these people are my friends, I don’t tolerate anyone saying dismissive or insulting things about the LGBT community, lest my friends feel that they might be targets of attacks. Likewise, I don’t tolerate comments stating dismissive or insulting things about my friends who are atheists. I would hope that my friends who are theists, and want others to accept their “illogical” faith position as valid extend the same courtesy to my friends who are gay and are looking for acceptance of their “illogical” sexual orientation.

I say this, as a theist, heterosexual male that will never completely understand the emotional and social issues that accompany being gay, and who is so thoroughly immersed in “church life” that I’m largely unaware of how deeply it impacts my view of the world. I can try to understand being gay, but such an attraction will never make logical sense in my brain. I would assume that, in the same way, my atheist friends can try to understand my faith, but may not be able to make logical sense of it. For me, understanding (or even making sense of) a lifestyle has nothing to do with treating the beliefs and feelings of my friends (and people like them) respectfully.

Comments»

1. Anne Miller - December 19, 2013

Since I never watch “Duck Dynasty,” and probably couldn’t distinguish one bearded guy from another, this is a non-issue for me. Shows like this offend my sensibilities for numerous reasons, mostly having to do with what I perceive to be the dumbing-down of America, and its effect on how the world perceives us..


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