I've recently read an old blog post written by a Baptist pastor on homosexuality, and it struck a chord with me. The pastor was writing about his experiences during an outreach he did to the local gay community during their Pride festival in handing out bottled water to hot, thirsty celebrants. You can find the full story here.
In other posts he has made, he clearly states that he believes that sexual acts outside of the traditional male/female marriage is completely outside of God's will. Yet in his blog about handing out water, he laments when a woman asks him if his church is "pro-gay" or "anti-gay." He has no answer, as he has already stated he believes God is anti-gay, therefore his church (as he is a church-planter, so someone who founded the church) is anti-gay. The blog post is an after-thought, how he should have answered that question.
I was left feeling extremely unsettled by his well-thought out approach to the divide between the Christian church and the Queer community. His entire argument that "I don’t think I even know what gay fully means but I do know this: there are infinitely more important things about you than who you’re attracted to. I reject the idea in our culture that who we are is intrinsically tied to what we do with our genitals, and who we do it with" completely negates the entire Queer movement for recognition and respect for queer identities. It's true- there is much more to us than our sexual orientation- regardless of if you're straight, gay, bi, queer, asexual, or any other number of identities. And yet I know from my experienes (not being straight)- I'd at least like to have my sexual orientation and gender identity recognized and respected. For some it's a constant battle against homophobia and transphobia. The Pride celebration, while it may not be as politically motivated as the StoneWall Riots, is still a political movement for visibility and acceptance.
He tries to diminish the queer experience by saying "There are more important things about who you are than how you feel about penises." Very easy to say when your identity and feelings towards penises isn't the subject of debate, ridicule, political scrutiny, religious scrutiny, and fear. It's easy to dismiss a person's sexual orientation when speaking out of a place of privilege, isn't it? It's easy to look at something like a Pride celebration and say that really, there's more to you as a person, so why is all of this necessary, when your own identity has never been questioned. When you've never felt the fear of coming out of the closet to those you love. When you've never felt the judgement of hearing insults yelled at you while you walk down the street holding the hand of your partner. Of walking into a restaraunt and being refused service based on the company you are with and that it's clearly a date.
What frightens me most about this pastor's thoughts is that I question his motivations for reaching out to the queer community. Sure, Christ calls on his followers to act in love, treat others as they want to be treated, etc, yet this man is a church planter. His entire mission is to start and grow a church community. Yes, he is claiming he is merely trying to bridge the divide between the church and the queers, but to what end? Is he simply putting a kinder, gentler face on assimilation and destruction of queer identities? In his attempt to show us love, will he also show acceptance? Or will he show love by trying to "fix" us? His inability to truly support homosexuality by not being able to clearly state: "YES, we are a pro-gay church," makes me question all of his motives.