There was an event recently in Waterloo, Iowa called “The Cedar Valley Pride Fest.” It was two days of fun activities and music for anyone who wished to participate to demonstrate that the LGBTQ community is a healthy and active part of our larger community. The message is one of inclusion and to celebrate diversity.
There was also a small protest by who I assumed were the Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ. One carried a sign denouncing “Sodomy.” A few others roamed the perimeter to engage participants in a conversation about how they must repent or suffer eternal damnation.
The protest was smaller than last year which I should probably gauge as a good sign, but I’m not convinced that means growing acceptance. I still encounter a lot of people in my travels who oppose Gay Rights. They just don’t carry placards.
One missionary engaged me by quoting Leviticus to remind me that what I am doing is a sin, while also telling me that he loved me. I feel no need whatsoever to explain that I am not gay, and preferred to let my loving assailant assume that I am.
I replied, “I don’t think you do love me. I think that’s just a convenient way to feel better about what you hate. Could it be that God made people all sorts of different ways and you feel vulnerable? God loves me, you, those people, that guy, that girl, just the way we are. And He’s fine, by the way, with me eating shellfish on Sundays.”
I’m not so naïve to assume that I won the argument, but he walked away.
Perhaps, I lack credibility as a spokesman for the LGBTQ community since I am not a member, but I AM a card carrying member of the “Society of People Who Understand Freedom and Justice” and we want to extend our hand to those who don’t.
We understand you’re scared and we just want you all to know that we will be there with you, to help you through these difficult times when it seems like your world is caving in from the forces of progress.
Just like we were there for you in the mid 60’s when the passing of John F Kennedy’s legislation to give “all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public” and for “greater protection for the right to vote” had your conservative forebears screaming in the streets, fearing that such legislation diminished their freedom.
We even kept you in our hearts when the conservative Senator Richard Russell rose from your ranks and said, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races.”
And we held your hands when you whined in 1938 that capitalism will crumble from the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act that ushered in a 40 hour work week, a minimum wage, workers benefits, health standards, and even child labor laws.
We can forgive you, because we are forgiving people. Just like we forgave you in 1919 when the thought of including women in our political process was anathema to your comfort. Many conservatives, not just fundamentalists, believed that the 19th Amendment was contrary to Christian values.
We’ve endured each time and we will stand by your side again, with love, as your fears continue to overwhelm your better judgment regarding the natural evolution of human beings toward a more civilized, peaceful, diverse and generous future.