Posted on March 4, 2012 at 8:44 am
So I had this friend. An old girlfriend, actually, who is now (I swear this is true) a Christian missionary who serves mostly in Thailand. And last night she posted, as her Facebook status, a statement supporting Kirk Cameron and his ignorant, hateful anti-gay, anti-gay-marriage rhetoric. It’s not all that surprising, I guess – she’s a Christian missionary, after all – but I hadn’t seen her post stuff like that before.
I don’t want to see that shit come up on my news feed, honestly, and really, I don’t need to be friends with anyone who, forty-some years into this life, is still so blind and closed-minded. (I find such moral absolutism particularly ludicrous in the context of what she and I were doing on prom night in 1987.) But before I “unfriended” her, which was a sad and unsatisfying way to close a relationship that’s lasted for over a quarter-century, I wrote a comment on her page, and I’m going to post it here because I’m glad I said it and I want to be able to remind myself that I said something that mattered to me tonight.
I appreciate that you live your beliefs, Jen, and I know you to be a very kind and sincere person, but this truth you claim to live by is a cruel truth. Homosexuality won’t stop because you tell people they can’t get married. Men will still love other men, women will still love other women. When they can marry, the way you and your husband could marry, then their children can be part of the community they live in, they can be legally responsible for each other, and they can help their community grow because they are supported and accepted for who they are. And you will not be hurt by their marriage. No part of your life will suffer for two people who love each other being able to claim that legal status. When you talk about your “evil desires” or equate loving someone of the same gender with “killing someone or stealing something,” you don’t do your cause any favors. Love wins, Jen; surely Jesus would agree with that. If you were told you could not practice your faith, you could not share your beliefs with someone else in public, you would do it anyway, because you are who you are and you feel what you feel in your heart. Remember, if you can, that you are not the only person who believes strongly in something, and that your faith is far from the only faith. I wish you only the best.
Amen. Well spoken, sir.
I agree with everything you said, except for the “what she and I were doing on prom night in 1987.” That, coupled with her first name, means that people who knew both of you, or even that she once dated you, will be able to identify her, and will know something that’s very private: embarrassing her in a public audience (and you almost certainly have a larger audience than her) doesn’t do our cause any favors, sir.
[FROM JRB: Thanks for writing, Rachel. I understand what you’re saying, and I can see where it seems like a cheap shot, but it’s not, as far as I’m concerned. First of all, no one who knew us in high school doesn’t know the extent of our relationship. More importantly, the gentle tone of my note above perhaps fails to convey how incredibly fucking outraged I am by her religiously-sponsored bigotry. My audience is bigger? She’s a MISSIONARY. Working for and on behalf of her church, as part of a network that stretches across the globe. And it is important, I honestly believe, to note the hypocrisy that accompanies that bigotry, even enables it. I’m not trying to “take Jen down,” believe me, I’ve got much more effective rhetorical weapons in my quiver if that’s what I wanted to do. But nor do I think that she gets to tell people what rights they’re allowed to have; I have no trouble answering for who I am and what I’ve done in this life, and if she wants to take a position of moral superiority, she should be prepared to answer for those things as well.]
I am of the same faith as Kirk Cameron and watching that interview made me sick. The Bible is mostly about love and justice. It is a terrible thing to not treat others with love and respect and it’s a slippery slope to not fight for all people to have the same rights. Not to mention, I believe if Jesus were here, he would lovingly accept all of us.
This is another reason why I love JRB. We need more people like you in the world.
You really love that soapbox, don’t you JRB? I agree with what you wrote, but can’t help but notice your increasing sense of power and importance.
[FROM JRB: Look, there’s no point in me pretending I’m not some kind of public figure. If I’ve got a platform, I might as well take advantage of it at a time when the public discourse is so grotesque and worrisome. I realize there is no shortage of voices on either side of the political line these days, but I’ve begun to realize that the value of speaking out outweighs the dangers of upsetting some of my audience.]
I have also unfriended every person that has written such remarks on their Facebook walls. As far as I’m concerned, it’s very simple, If you are against same sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex.
There need to be MORE people using their “soapbox” to talk about this. It’s alarming that more people don’t realize what a major human-rights issue this is!
Thanks for responding to me before — I just saw it now. I totally understand your outrage, and thanks for filling in the context. I guess this goes to show how much relative power I assign to “musical theater composer” and “missionary” in my own life: your word is clearly both far more important and more singable. 😉
Good morning. A little late, but thanks for your master class for our “13” performers at Woodland. You might have “winged” it for the evening performance… we loved every minute of your music that tells a story,that big voice and piano playing personality!!
You filled up our wonderful historic Opera House with the joys of grand original music. Again, thanks.
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