Marriage equality in the US, the increase of gay affirming religious denominations, and some politicians openly pledging to protect the rights of LGBTQ people are all wonderful advances for justice in our country, but there is more work to do. And, we can see easily enough that with these advances the political and religious extreme Right continues to work to slow and even reverse the progress that has been made.
The insults from the Right, especially those who claim to speak for “God” as they call gay people “sinners” and demean gay lives as a “lifestyle” may not pack the political punch they once did, but they are still ever present.
I completely (and publicly) reject the idea that same-gender love or attraction is in any way “sinful.” Often, the response to my not accepting a sub-human status is for anti-gay religionists to quote some bible verse at me (as if I just never ran across those verses in seminary or in my ministerial career). When belching a bible verse at me like a sorcerer’s curse doesn’t zap me straight (or at least render me contrite for being gay), bible bullies will often deliver this all too familiar spiritual sucker punch: “We’ll have to agree to disagree.”
The attempted set up in such a situation is to suggest that if same-gender loving people can’t smile when being attacked, then there must be something horribly wrong with us. I don’t think so. They’re trying to sell it, but I ain’t buying it.
I will disagree with someone who says a verse here or there from an ancient text proves that I’m pond scum, but I will not agree that our disagreement is merely two opposing but equally valid views. My sacred value is not a matter for debate; it is the one thing about which I am completely unwilling to compromise.
The fact is that a significant percentage of every population in every era of human history (and in animal populations as well) develop same-gender love and attraction, and are probably biologically predisposed to do so. This isn’t new information. The Kinsey Reports of the 40s and 50s, Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s research in the late 50s, the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, the American Psychological Association in 1975, and every major mental health organization (including the World Health Organization) in the west and many throughout the world have confirmed this.
There is nothing aberrant, disordered, immoral, wicked, or shameful about mutually beneficial and agreed upon relationships. The gender identities of those in a relationship are not what make those relationships sacred.
The simple truth is that some people are gay, it’s perfectly natural for them, and it harms no one to acknowledge that. Period.
LGBTQ people are a wonderful part of the glorious diversity of the world. Being gay is one my blessings and I give thanks for the life I share with the person I love.
Religion should never be used to make people feel ashamed of who they are, and it certainly shouldn’t be used to punish genuine, mutually shared love. Religion at its best will affirm the inherent dignity of all people. That is, at least, the religion I try to practice and the religion I wish to share.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins is the author of Saved From Salvation (available at Amazon.com) and is the senior minister of Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.