What Are You So Afraid Of?

With all the uproar over marriage equality lately, one thing has become abundantly clear: some conservative Christians are blatantly homophobic. I know many of you are thinking “Wow, what a news flash. We’ve known that for years.” True, we have known this for a long time; it’s just that now is they’ve quit trying to hide it. Why do I say that you ask? Let me give you a few examples:


  • Hard-core conservative (i.e. Tea Party) politicians in North Carolina proposed an amendment to the state constitution that included a draconian ban on any union save that of marriage between a man and a women, citing their wish to “protect” traditional marriage. This amendment passed with 61% of the vote.
  • In the lead up to the vote, a Baptist pastor in Fayetteville recommended violence against boys who showed what he considered homosexual tendencies and reinforced traditional roles for girls (i.e. wear a dress, look pretty).
  • Another pastor in Winston-Salem, NC advocated the re-criminalization of homosexuality, calling it “a perverted lifestyle” and saying “”For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle…, We’ve gone down the wrong path. We’ve become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we’ve…discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck!”
  • Yet another pastor, this one from Raleigh NC, equated same-sex marriage with bestiality with this lovely comment: “What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We’re not far from that.”
  • After President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute said the President may be gay and that “.., the long-term goal of the homosexual movement is to get every little boy to grab his ankles and every little girl to give it a try. They will not rest until every one of our children at least gets to try, has the opportunity and maybe is forced to at least once experience homosexual acts.”

Each and every one of these comments are reprehensible, disgusting, despicable and any other derogatory adjective you think of. They pander to the lowest common denominator in humanity and promote pride of place over brotherhood and community. To hear them come from supposed “men of God” (except Cameron, he’s a psychologist and should still know better) makes me sick at heart. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how people feel this way and I came to the conclusion that they’re afraid (yes, I know that’s another no-brainer).

So, what do I think they’re afraid of? That took a little longer to figure out because there’s no shortage of opinions on the subject. On the Christian front, I believe it boils down to this: for the people fighting against equal right for LGBT people, if the Bible isn’t true on this, it isn’t true on anything. This idea is best addressed by two authors I respect: Phyllis Tickle and Rob Bell. In his book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, Bell said:

“..for (these people), faith…,is a wall of bricks. Each of the core doctrines for him is like an individual brick that stacks on top of the others. If you pull one out, the whole wall starts to crumble. It appears quite strong and rigid, but if you begin to rethink or discuss even one brick, the whole thing is in danger.”

“…one of the things that happens in ‘brickworld’: you spend a lot of time talking about how right you are. Which of course leads to how wrong everybody else is. Which then leads to defending the wall [doctrines]”

In The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why“,Ms. Phyllis said

” To approach any of the arguments and questions surrounding homosexuality in the closing years of the twentieth century and the opening ones of the twenty-first is to approach a battle to the death. When it is all resolved–and it most surely will be–the Reformation’s understanding of Scripture as it had been taught by Protestantism for almost five centuries will be dead…, Of all the fights, the gay one must be–has to be–the bitterest, because once it is lost, there are no more fights to be had. It is finished.”

So, the wild, unreasoning comments on this subject come from fear of change; the idea that things are going to be different. Maybe so different as to be unrecognizable to the people fighting the change. But, different is not necessarily a bad thing. We’ve just got to find a way to convince our brothers and sisters of that…, which is easier said than done.