That’s not an apt title for this blog, yet it’s a warning that I am going to spill gut.
I’ll begin by saying that this blog entry will not be an argument. I don’t intend to win anything or to lose anything. You, the reader, won’t either. However it is a deeply felt sharing, one I have long hesitated to do.
Simply stated: at this point in my life I do not have a clear conscience in being a member of an organization that excludes gays and lesbians and those who live in a committed relationship with a person of similar sex. This includes the church.
Before elaborating on that one-sentence paragraph let me declare myself. I am straight, that is, heterosexual. My extended family includes homosexuals. My neighborhood includes homosexuals. My college classrooms contained homosexuals. So what? Homosexuality is a non-issue for me. In my friendships with straights or gays, I don’t think about it …
except for one thing. I have heard about and have felt the life-long exclusion that gays and lesbians suffer. What we consider our rights, we simply take for granted. I’m talking about security, finances, jobs, affection … and worship. There is little they can take for granted except exclusion.
The church that is founded upon the teachings and examples of Jesus whose own attention was constantly called to the side of the road to a person in need today says, “Come unto me, excepting if you are gay or lesbian.”
For a moment I will take the other side. I fully understand that Biblical literalists can find in the Bible strong anti-gay sentiments. I understand equally the long, long tradition, based partly on the need to populate the earth, of enforcing procreation. I told my troubled father who was crushed upon learning of his gay nephew’s marriage that we gave him permission to feel bad. We understood where he came from. We knew that he was being faithful to a world and religious view.
That world and religious view are no longer mine. I am not a Biblical literalist. The Bible does not define for me biology or cosmology or physics or many other disciplines of knowledge. I value the Bible, nonetheless, as a holy narrative open for allegorical and metaphorical interpretation and nourishment.
I further understand an organization’s “right” to define who may or who may not be a member. Thus I have no interest in arguing with an individual about whether homosexuality is a sin or not. Nor do I have interest in arguing with the church on whether it should include gays. I have no interest in carrying a sign, on being an activist.
But I do care about being a friend, a non-discriminating friend, a person deeply committed to rid myself of prejudices against people different from me. I do care when they are hurt. I do care when they are excluded. Thus, how can I join hands in a communion circle that won’t allow my homosexual friends in?
In consequence I am contemplating a withdrawal from church membership. Of course I welcome your prayers.