Words are not important. When we walk into a library I am not confronted but the power of words, but rather its the sentences which are important and hold the true power. Words are only a building block and can be used and abused according to the speaker’s whim. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. If I write “faith doesn’t kill human rights” we have five words that state very clearly that religion doesn’t destroy human rights. Five words that speak a clear message. But if I change two of those words round “doesn’t faith kill human rights” we move into a world where the subject, “faith”, could be seen to be perjured and an injustice done. So the five words are not what is important, its the arrangement of them that is. The five words I quoted actually come from a piece I wrote and allows me to show another concept of language that has been forgotten. That concept is “context”. The idea of understanding a whole piece rather than just the bit which may speak most deeply to you or make a good sound bite.The full sentence read “I have nothing against faith because faith doesn’t kill human rights, it is the people who abuse religion for their own ends and pervert faith’s true meaning that do.”
As we take the time to write and talk in long sentences and not just in sound bites we can see more clearly and understand more completely.
In the world as it is today we face a choice. Media has taught us to look for the soundbite and reject the context, it has taught us not to think long thoughts but instead rely on a micro-sentence to give us our core values. It’s almost as though we have allowed our intellects to be reduced until we no longer want to deal with anything bigger than can be fitted onto a banner or sign. I personally don’t think this is because we are lazy, we have been told we are too busy, our lives should be focused on other things like wealth, nice homes, and acquiring the latest electronics. Everything we do should be fast because then we can have more. In short our thinking has been turned into a thing of the production line and the industrial age, where free thought and the time to investigate before forming an opinion are unacceptable, because in the end that time has not been profitably used, it has been judged as wasted. If you need a sound bite to understand this then it would have to be “you’re too busy living – trust us!”
So with this in mind let’s turn to the world of the homophobe and see a better path to dealing with the problems they may cause in your life. The homophobe as an animal is intelligent, passionate, willing to fight for their ideals, and deserves respect. While they may seem angry, violent even, and full of hatred take away the subject of homosexuality and you will find them to be just like every other human being, a mixture of positive and negative thoughts and ideals that color their view of the world. Just as there are people who would describe themselves as “rednecks” working for NASA in senior scientific positions, so to are there homophobes who have allowed themselves to be influenced by the soundbites of others and the belief that because the man at the front says he speaks for God, he actually does. So to the homosexual the homophobe seems an angry bastard who is determined to destroy civilized society. Anger and distaste is then met with anger and distaste so both look at the other side saying “see this is why I hate them!” In the end we loose the ability to see that like all life the homophobe can change and through love we can offer them the ability to do so. By teaching a better path by living it rather than constantly reinforcing the ugly abhorrent behaviour we dislike so much we can show by example how humans can live together.
Loving the homophobe is a very easy thing to do. As you go through your day treat everyone as though they were human, let them see the real you and not the Judy Garland wannabe that you think you should show off. When the homophobe sees that you fart, drink, and can use a power drill like any other human being a bond can form, and where there is a bond it becomes more difficult to hate. In short see the context of the homophobe. Just as what you do in the bedroom is just one tiny part of the whole you, so too is their hatred of humanity. They have family they love, a job they are good at, they may enjoy making models of steam trains out of navel lint, in short, the sound bite, “they are human and so much more than homophobes.” The finest example I can give of this concept is Gandhi. He may be held as a supreme force in nonviolent protest and civil rights worldwide, but I would invite you to read what he, himself, wrote about the African races. He was human and so a mix of positive and negative like the rest of us. When you do read what he wrote I would remind you he still accomplished great things and that he had a focus that was not worldwide but specific to his country. He was human and allowed to be a whole not just a small part.
When I was young, back in the time when cavemen rode dinosaurs and the Hillside singers were trying to teach the world to sing, the world was a very different place. New and exciting ideas were pouring out of America especially into my world regarding Christianity. It was the age of the Billy Graham crusade, a time for masses to move forward and be converted, it was a revival in the church along the lines of the snake handling preacher and mountain tent church. All fire and brimstone and the power of Christ compelling you to “SAIN NAMORE”.
There was power in each eternal life offering sound bite, each fleck of spittle from the preacher’s lips, each ardent call for a better tomorrow and a key to a home in heaven. It had a vitality and energy that was addictive and it changed my world forever. Using the same techniques that Hitler used to convert the German people to Nazism so Billy Graham and his sort used those proven techniques and found they worked for them. The seduction of it was that everything was about changing things to one view point where everyone was equal in God’s eyes, there was hope for all in a single path and all you needed to do was chop off the bits that didn’t fit. Sadly for me I was one of those bits.
By the age of sixteen I had had the gay prayed away, been exorcised, been rejected by my church and my family, because I was seen as one small part of the whole which was the true me. There is nothing like having “is this because you’re gay” being demanded as a reason for bad behaviour when the true one was “no I’m just a snotty, scared, rebelling teenager who is fucked off with the fact that his family is so dysfunctional that he can’t focus at school,when he comes home he is faced by world war three between the adults, who you never gave a workable positive role model to, has no friends because you never bothered to encouraged him to have any, and frankly wishes he was dead because now you know I am gay that’s another reason why you can’t love me.” Those were the homophobes that I lived with. They were religious bigots who hated the concept of having a gay son and brother, used all the things they had taught him through his young life to make him hate himself, and looked to the church for answers rather than a rational, non-biased source of information. They saw me as a stereotype and so I gave them the one they thought I should be.
Those were my homophobes, my haters, my aggressors who did real physical and mental damage, but they were also my mum, my dad and my sister and I loved them. I loved the fact my dad was clever, that he knew lots of things about fossils, history, science, the earth and pased it on in away that had love in every word. He had a smile that lit up my day and the same was true for my mum. This woman made the best flapjack, gave the best cuddles and still does. She taught me how to cook, and even in her own depression could never truly throw me away. My sister rocks as she is one of the most exceptional poppers of bullshit bubbles I know and she cares so deeply for humanity it makes me cry. I loved them with a fierce passion and looking back a lot of the anger and bad behaviour was just a way of saying to them “no I won’t accept the little piece that religion is as being the total you, because it is diminishing everything great that I love about you.” Believe me when I say that even though they were homophobic, bigoted, and intolerant they were the best parents and sister a boy could have and I miss being a kid and living with them because they were and are the my tribe. Homophobes huh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
When I looked old enough to get away with it I began to investigate the gay community which was itself still in its infancy. There I saw angry, hurt, bitter humans who had been made like that by the homophobes that were around them. I can remember feeling the anger whenever a “breeder” was mentioned. There was hatred in those conversations, and as a very wise man once said, “poison goes where poison is welcome.” I had been hurt, time and again by the homophobes in my community until I could no longer see the truth of my life. I welcomed the poison of intolerance and hatred in and it came like a flood.
The sad thing was most people loved me because I was a loving, clever, artistic young man who was just fantastic at making people smile and feel good about themselves too. The few who labelled me with the word “gay”, in the hetero and homosexual communities, were the ones who defined me and I allowed them to do it. The gay community had found an advocate who was above articulate, reinforced just how hated he was and let him loose on the world. I became an anachronism of myself, loosing all the good bits because the bad was fed by both sides. I allowed myself to see the world in their sound bites and feel pain, anger, rejection, and depression where I should have been confident in the whole me and shown that.
I have wasted twenty five years in fighting homophobia and homophobes when I should have been loving them and showing them just how small the differences actually are. For this I apologize to the world in general and to my family specifically. In my defense all I can offer is that it was my journey, I found the truth though the way was very hard, and that is that love is more than “what I don’t actually do any more in bed” and your belief in something you can’t prove. In the end as one human to another I love you because you are human and are so much more than your hatred. I hope you can love me for being so much more than just what you suspect I might do but actually don’t. I will never again diminish your gifts to the world because of a small part of your whole, please let me give my gifts to the world too, they may be small but they are worth having.
So to love your homophobe is not about homophobia. It is about showing them that the whole is so much more than just the one small part that they are currently focused on. It is about showing them that the whole is beautiful and makes the world so much better than the bit they’re focused on. Homosexuality can’t corrupt the world. The act of love between two men or women is no different to that of a man and a woman. It is a private, beautiful thing but it is just that, private. Unless we start allowing people to have sex in the street it has no power over humanity. What has happened is that the sound bite has been allowed to corrupt the thinking of intelligent people. For example the debate on allowing homosexuals to teach. Hate to say it but they all ready are. They are responsible for loving your kids enough to want them to have a better future. They put up with long hours, incredibly insulting pay, and the demands from parents and pupils alike. They don’t go into teaching because they are gay, because they have an agenda to corrupt the youth of the world. They go into teaching because they have a gift for passing on knowledge and they love the world enough to want to ensure the next generation, which you created, has the best chance possible. They choose to hide and subjugate their private life in order that the children have a chance at making a better tomorrow, or at least one that isn’t worse than today. When it comes to pedophilia in schools how many times is the perpetrator identified as gay huh? Nine times out of ten the villain has a wife, a family, or is even female, but no, you choose to block those with gifts from giving them because they might possibly destroy humanity by showing children that they can be a whole, fulfilled, functioning members of society. You see every homosexual in one perverse mass of uncontrolled sexual abhorrence, and yet fail to see heterosexuals in the same light. Even when it comes to the ones who ARE abusing your children. I love you my homophobes and love you for all of you, but I need to show you just how ridiculous your thoughts are when you think in this way. If most pedophiles are heterosexual then shouldn’t I hate all homosexuals and campaign to stop them breeding for the “sake of the children”? Better no children than that one of your lot abuses and destroys a precious gift from God.
In my search for a religion since being rejected by homophobic christians as “unsaveable” I have walked many paths. I have explored LGBTQ accepting Christianity, atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism, new age beliefs, prechristian beliefs, Indian mysticism and none of it sat well with my spirit. In all of them there was a pause, a moment where in my spirit I didn’t feel right with myself because in the end they all taught “love under condition”, just like the regular churches did. I found my peaceful place, my temple, in the wild, wet woods away from organized religions and the people who want to tell me how I am wrong rather than how I am their equal. All are welcome in my church because my message is this, “When it comes to God, be he, she, or whatever, it is your God and you alone”. The relationship you have with your deity is an individual one that no one else has a right to determine or dictate. But neither do you have the right to determine or dictate how another worships or chooses to have faith. Your message to the world should be that “God loves each of us”, not “this is what you must do to be lovable”. In short you must learn to see beyond the things you hate, to see the individual and the beautiful whole that they are. It’s time to “let go and let God” but as the phrase was truly meant to be used. To “let go” of preconceptions and the old belief that we can throw away the whole for one small part, and “let God” use us to show our love to the world by seeing that it is between him and the individual, and not something we should feel we have a say in.
In the end we all want to be loved, all want to be treated fairly, all want to be seen as good enough, its why we have laws. Under the law all citizens of a country should be seen as equal when they are not actively seeking to destroy the balance of society. It is a black and white, matter of fact, non negotiable fact that someone who thinks murder, pedophilia, spousal abuse, or theft are a good thing are not healthy for the whole society and so we make these crimes. When it comes to an act of love between to consenting adults there can be no justification for prejudice. As it is written in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
What has been allowed to happen is the church, which was supposed to be kept separate from the State, has been allowed to influence the thinking of the law makers. It’s why in Uganda a government has allowed itself to be pushed by the minority (the christians) into a genocidal stance towards its people, its why in certain states, a woman wanting to exercise her personal freedom to have an abortion, a very private act which will impinge on her future success and happiness, has to undergo rape by blunt instrument because it is now sanctioned by the state. All people are equal, all people have the right to pursue happiness as they find happiness, all people have a right to say what happens to their body, and to decide without censure who will make them most happy in a relationship. No where in the document does it say that the pursuit of happiness is only allowed in accordance with the faith of 33% of the world’s population, because that’s the percentage of the world that identifies as Christian. That’s not even enough to get a bill through congress, and anyway isn’t there supposed to be a division of church and state?
In the end religion has been allowed to dehumanize large groups of people and force laws through because of an unsubstantiated belief. If I am not allowed to say that the lightening which struck St. Peter’s in Rome is a message from my God to say “leave the homosexuals alone”, then please don’t blame me for wars, famines, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. That smacks of the old “Zeus is angry” mentality with a new lick of paint. Besides there are homosexual meteorologists who have proved its all to do with barometric pressures and what not, and homosexual geophysicists who can show you just how the tectonic plates moved to create that earthquake, and if they aren’t homosexual? Then they probably had a homosexual teacher who encouraged them to such heretical belief systems as science. They can prove their beliefs while I am still waiting for the proof that God is angry at me and causing Asia to suffer for my sin. The pursuit of happiness is an individual right and so no one else has the right to dictate what makes me happy.
In remembering this too I am able to love the homophobe. They have a right to be ridiculous, just as they have a right to be brilliant. I love the whole and choose not to chop off the bits that I don’t agree with. I hope they do the same for me. I love my parents and sister for the brilliant, amazing beautiful wholes that they are, however, I accept I will never truly get them past the idea that I am only what they think I do in bed. They are beautiful and I love them as is, no substitutions, and I will take down any man who says they aren’t awesome. “They are my mum, my dad and my sister. They Rock!” How’s that for a sound bite?