So, I'm reading a magazine and find an article that says the Episcopal Church has lost a butt load of people over the last three years because a tiny, cold diocese at the top of the map elevated an already out gay priest to the position of bishop. The Anglican world hasn't recovered yet, and the American branch of that Communion has had a dip in numbers. Because an already ordained, already out gay man was made a bishop - not the first gay bishop, just the first honest gay bishop. And because Gene Robinson lives in a stable and loving relationship with another man in New Hampshire, Episcopalians in Texas and Virginia abandon ship. The logic escapes me. But then, homophobia isn't about logic; its about fear and hatred.
Bored with my magazine, I check my email. In my inbox is a commentary about Ted Haggard. The electronic article points out that disgraced evangelical gay basher (and, as it turns out, gay or at least bisexual man) Ted Haggard was caught having paid a male escort for sex, but he readily admitted to buying an illegal substance that has damaged the health of countless gay men in recent years. What brought him down? Not his use of an illegal, addictive, and deleterious substance, but his alleged same-gender sexual affair. What does that say about our society that honestly couldn't care less if the poor man was throwing away his money and his health on drugs but couldn't toss his butt out of his church fast enough for doing the naughty with another man? Two adult men had a consensual encounter (whether it was an erotic massage or more) and that destroyed a man's career. I might understand if it damaged his marriage. I have little sympathy for a gay man who projects his own self-loathing out to make life difficult for other gay people. But I do have compassion for anyone who is abused because of their sexual orientation.
I hope and honestly pray that rather than beating himself up over "falling from grace" or "committing a sin" or "being tempted by the devil" or any such theological low blows, that Mr. Haggard will say to himself, "Maybe I betrayed my wife because who I really am is a gay man. I should apologize to myself and to her for living a lie that has now hurt our entire family, but I am not sorry for being who I am. I won't try to change myself by oppressing others like me who have embraced their truth more readily any longer." I know, I'm praying for a miracle on the scale of walking on water or turning water into wine, but that's me, the eternal optimist.
And now, the Catholic bishops will vote next week on finding kinder, gentler ways of telling homosexuals that they are sub-human. Does anyone detect a running theme here?
Enough with the gay bashing. Enough with the out of control fears of anything sexual or anyone who dares talk openly about sex. The Good News of Jesus Christ isn't about policing zippers. If you honestly believe you have the gift of celibacy, then enjoy your gift (it's a gift that I would want to exchange, but that's just me). If you are in a monogamous relationship, honor your commitment and live happily ever after. If your relationship has a complex set of rules that allows for more than one sexual partner, then play by those rules. But in any case, live out your sexuality in ways that enrich your life and stop blaming phobias and guilt and shame on God. Wars and disease and executions and violent crime and environmental devastation are all surely keeping the divine Mystery busy enough. We needn't be so self-absorbed as to think with all that is going on in the world that God has the time or inclination to be a peeping Tom peering into our bedrooms. God isn't Mrs. Kravitz, obsessively staring through windows and clucking her tongue at what she sees.
I'm almost flattered that the Catholics, the Anglicans, and the Fundamentalists are all so interested in my sex life (well, not mine specifically, but you know what I mean). But their obsession with the gay "other" (which often borders on a voyeuristic fetish) is hurting their own cause, hurting families, and distracting everyone from the Gospel - the Good News of God's ALL INCLUSIVE and UNCONDITIONAL Love.