It’s been a rough week for the gays/great week for posting outraged posts to Facebook. Long time homo-nemesis Chick-Fil-A is back in the news for hating fags with their president declaring, “We are very much supportive of the family–the biblical definition of the family unit.” This statement saddens me because it means President Chick-4-Brains has probably never really appreciated an episode of Full House and thus he’s missed out on a crucial part of the 90s. Also it means his corporation is still an official hater and the boycott against them still stands.
Joining the hate parade alongside the fast food joint is the always charitable Salvation Army that thinks all fags should die and the Boy Scouts of America who after a 2-year review process are re-affirming their anti-gay stance (two years of debate and reflection and they are still a bunch of scared bigots). Besides being old fashioned homophobes, these organizations all share one thing in common: the love and scripture of Jesus Christ.
As I read through the headlines and stories, I’m struck by how these organizations–that are dedicated to creating greater good through home goods, wilderness skills, and honey mustard-covered waffle fries–are also so stubborn in their hate. It’s mind-numbingly frustrating that with all the progress blossoming around them, they continue to want to be on the wrong side of morality and history (WWJD, seriously). Is religious power so compelling that organizations will risk the wrath of the enlightened population/drops in their profits just to make a point? What are they thinking?
To answer this, I look back over my life and remember when I was a stubborn Christian zealot chaining myself to the ground due to fear of floating off into the chaotic world. From birth until about age 22, I went to church every Sunday and was deeply involved in the Christian community, scriptures, and beliefs. The world is a scary place and I used God as my shield through all things–especially issues that were new and challenging. Religion is great–it gives you all the answers and even a cover-all for all the un-answerables (“have faith, dear child, and trust in God…”).
So as a young man exploring the big dark world full of evils, I was able to quickly and efficiently classify everything as either godly or sinful…and then make sure to fill my life with only “godly” things and run away from everything “sinful.” As you can imagine for someone who was honestly investigating humanity around him this method quickly became unfulfilling and increasingly filled with philosophical conflicts. The Christians have great heart a lot of the time, but their faith has to be strict in order for the religion to work. As soon as I explored outside the lines, I found new truths and joy, but my faith crumbled.
And what emotion does someone feel when their foundational faith crumbles? Fear. And anger is almost always the result of fear. And as Yoda would say, “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate…hate leads to the dark side of the chicken sandwich” (paraphrased). So Chick-Fil-A, Salvation Army, and the Boy Scouts are all hateful, angry, but ultimately they are AFRAID.
Breaking the issue down like this suddenly makes me feel less frustration towards the people who hate me and instead more pity. They’re afraid of what will happen if the social rules of sex and relationships are changed. I get it–it is scary… once long ago I agreed that homos were a lost and confused people and the idea of men marrying men challenged every fairy tale story I had ever read. But of course as soon as you get to know a couple queers and you see how charmingly normal they are, you realize that beliefs can change.
Ironically enlightenment takes faith to achieve–faith in yourself and in others. The blind faith of Christians demands trust in the unknown and puts all the responsibility of result on God. The real faith of a human being asks for trust in yourself and gives you ownership of the change–whether that’s within you or in those around you.
Fear is a terrible way to live. And I believe the opposite of fear is love…and I think love is one of those things Christians are always talking about. I wonder if they’ll ever figure that out.