Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One man's journey from religion-based bigotry to ally - his story gives this momma a reason to hope

Sometimes it gets to be too painful watching huge religious institutions like the Catholic and Mormon Churches working so hard to deny basic civil rights and dignity to gays and lesbians (which is why I've dropped off the radar so much - I need a break from it). It is agonizing to see these huge institutions using their tremendous power, resources, and reach in such hateful, destructive ways. I can only wonder how many thousands of people they will profoundly wound with their homophobia and hate before they see the terrible destruction they have wrought. And if I sound dramatic and shill --- well just chalk it up to the pain that those institutions have caused me, and so many other mothers and fathers who have gay and lesbian children. And this is something these churches are forgetting (at their own peril), and that is that for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person they hurt in their misguided crusade, there is a family and friends who are also hurt.

So it was a rather nice surprise to read this article in Newsweek by Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian, and executive director of Faith in America, and a former self-described "bigot" who attended and marched in the National Equality March in DC last weekend. It is a lovely article which, for me, came in just the nick of time. It doesn't make the hurt of religious-based bigotry and hate go away, but it does give me hope. And for that I am grateful.

Here is a small snippet:

During the past four years I have looked into the faces of those I once caused harm to with religion-based bigotry and prejudice. And while I may have never inflicted a physical blow, I know today that my words indeed caused deep wounds—perhaps at some point deeper than I care to dwell upon.

They are the faces of individuals like young Sean Kennedy, who died in Greenville, S.C., in 2007 after being struck by a person who considered Sean a "faggot"; Pat and Lynn Mulder of Auburndale, Fla., whose gay son also died as a result of a hate crime; Jared Horsford of Texas who carved derogatory words into his flesh because he thought it would help control the demon he was told lived there; Nicholas White who was relentlessly berated by fellow 4-H peers at camp this summer as other 4-H campers stood behind the tormentors in silence; or the mother I met recently in North Carolina who grieved over her dead son—a child that had been rejected because he was gay and thought peace could only come through suicide.


No comments: