Debate Magazine

Race, Sexuality & Evangelical Androgyny

By Pomozone @pomozone
Recently, I was accused by the leader of a Christian group of heading up The Gay Posse, an insult that was punishment for my effective defense of someone wrongly accused of a crime. I was a little confused at first about the accusation. But over time it became obvious why he called me gay. Because he was too politically correct to call me nigger.
Blasphemy laws in the religious world have changed, directly reflecting the blasphemy laws of the wider culture. It's no longer popular to level racial epithets at people you dislike unless you do it discreetly within a forum that shuns the sensibilities of the wider world. Because it's legally actionable. While the gay and lesbian community have slowly developed a nice, fat portfolio of civil rights victories over the last three decades, it's still popular to indicate ultimate disgust for a person or organization by citing his or its reticence to the acquiescence of an aggressive homophobia. 
Yet very few people take into account the obvious parallels between the two groups. In the last century alone Civil Rights activists and legislation for both groups have been identified as progressive, anti-Biblical, unAmerican, and Communist. Both groups have been segregated, minimized, and persecuted and often in the name of a religious orthodoxy. Both groups have made gains against popular, governmental policy because of the advocacy of "the little people" who often risked everything to change public opinion (sometimes accidentally. Many did not plan to be martyrs for any sort of cause. Rosa Parks tried to explain this. In her opinion she only wanted to sit down because she was tired.), only turning the tide once they elicited societal rage through the sacrifice of their lives. 
People have asked me "How can you say such a thing? That's sacrilegious."
Because it's true, and I am certain that truth is not sacrilegious. Unless you and I are not living in the same world or accessing the same news, the facts are open for verification. Sure, one "condition" is considered genetic while the other "condition" is considered to be within the realm of theoretical genetics, but if there really is such a difference between the two then why the same kind of humiliating treatment for both? That kind of rage is not the fault of the Black or of the homosexual. That rage is the level of retribution the punishers deemed necessary to redeem the offense.
People have told me "If I were Black, I would be offended at being associated with homosexuals." 
But they never ask me if I'm offended by the zealously religious who cite additional restrictions--"as laid out in the Bible" even--about who I can and cannot marry, how I am and am not designed, what I am and am not likely to do in my life. They think I should actually prefer that kind of treatment to my association with the other group. Maybe I should. But I don't. But also maybe they have no idea what they would do or think were they Black.
I find three things difficult to speak about with religiously devout people. The first is politics. Politics is gaming, I think, and the seriousness that people take the game off the board and into the Great Beyond is surreal to me. When Clinton first was elected as President, a number of people on my college campus wore black to protest. The professor of my Materials & Methods class took the first few minutes of class that morning to address the mood. One student cited Clinton as supporting the killing of babies. But Bill Clinton wasn't even President yet. Weren't babies already being killed? How was he now responsible and the current President not? Oh, because the current President didn't "believe in" abortion. That's what makes him innocent and Clinton guilty, and I would know that were I taking the game as seriously as I should. 
Secondly, I find it difficult to speak about "emerging" Christianity, as if emerging Christianity were like an erection in danger of going flat. Christianity has survived approximately 2012 years and will undoubtedly last the next 2012 with the longevity of a cockroach and without the futuristic branding techniques of chubby apologists and innovative marketeers who collaborate in their ecclesio-cubicles on not-for-profit think tanks that turn a profit to convince us that Christianity is in danger of extinction if we don't purchase their line of commercial goods that somehow magically fouls the impotent efforts of Antichrist himself from emerging. Such ideologues seem to have one objective: not to have Antichrist rear his voldemortish head as long as they are alive. 
Last of all, I find it difficult to speak about race. I don't think that people who are not Black should tell me what it is like to be one. Yesterday at my office I introduced my student, CVR recording artist Gabrielle Solair, to Marcela Gomez, The Hispanic Marketing Group founder and CEO. Both women are Colombian. I sat down and listened to them talk for over an hour in pointed, blunt, no-holds-barred Colombian fashion. Gabrielle, turning 17 this weekend, finally found someone who spoke to that part of her heritage that for almost seventeen years had been described to be culturally embarrassing and rebellious, suppressed and refined by Southern hospitality, and finally shunned. While their conversation disparaged the male dominance of American culture (I made sure to keep my mouth shut because I'm male) and analyzed the quirks of American White women (I made sure to keep my mouth shut because my wife is White), it was beautiful. In my office yesterday the Colombians were the majority, the Black the minority (once again, haha), and the world was balanced because understanding was happening.

What is uncomfortably painful to religiously conscientious minorities in dominant-culture congregations is that while our congregations battle the political issues of the day in Sunday school lessons, sermons, and extra-curricular activities, we do not want to be involved in Jim Crow tactics used on our people just a few short years ago (or for some Hispanics, tactics currently being used on their people). Want to make us more uncomfortable and that much more distant from you and your creed? Then talk about how we are "obligated" to believe the way you do. I do not like talking about illegal immigration or homosexuality with church people. I just don't. Insert the word "Black" every time they say "homosexual" or "Hispanic", and you will know why.
So if the religious community wants to characterize the homosexual as "confused" or "rebellious", it should assume that many minorities fall within the same camp. We have no idea what our congregations think about our people groups, our history, or our presence in their congregations save that they tolerate us. What a mixed message. The Christian idea that man is made in God's image is deliciously tantalizing to millions of us. Until we realize that it's application is qualified by factors many of us cannot control. 
I cannot wholeheartedly agree with the religiously ideological treatment of homosexuals because I simultaneously find myself rationalizing the lynching of my great-grandfather for having a child with my German great-grandmother (American race laws forbade it). I find myself rationalizing the shutting up of my German grandmother in the psych ward in Somerset County, Pennsylvania to live out the rest of her days because she had a biracial child (Children obey your parents). I find myself rationalizing the deportment of Hispanic children born in this country. I find myself being understanding of all the Black, Mexican, and Polish jokes that were a part of my fundamentalist and evangelical experience. So someone is going to have to come up with a better apologetic for describing the difference between my racial history and the history of "behavioral" minorities like homosexuals. It all sounds androgynous to me.
So the leader of that Christian group should really consider his terminology. And while he's at it, he needs to honestly determine why he had no knowledge that his perverted best friend was plowing his only son in the bum for at least five of those precious teen years. I humbly defer the leadership of The Gay Posse to a more deserving opponent.

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