UPDATE: Commenter Gary points out that this is about a year old. This is what happens when this particular blogger writes words on the internet without the coffee IV attached. That being said, Dan Savage linked to it yesterday, and I didn’t check the dates. That also being said, it’s a really good message, and it’s timely, with everything that’s been going on, with our kids being targeted by bullies young and old, so if it’s new to you, enjoy; if not, read it again.
This, from Bishop John Shelby Spong, is amazing:
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.” The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.
That is just the first paragraph. He goes on to direct his ire directly toward his own Episcopal Church, and then says something important to the media, a message they can’t learn soon enough:
In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by “fair-minded” channels that seek to give “both sides” of this issue “equal time.” I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.
Hear, hear! And read the whole thing. It is long past time that our mainstream media stop being so utterly lazy when it comes to gay issues. It’s long past time that people like Tony Perkins knock on the doors of the Washington Post and NPR, only to be rebuffed with the message, “No, sir, you’re a hatemonger who doesn’t tell the truth about anything, you’re not an opposing side.” There is no valid opposing side — not anymore. There is far too much education available, far too much research, far too much information for anyone with Googling fingers.
And as we’ve seen, the continued platform given to Religious Right hatemongers isn’t something we are simply academically opposed to; there are real world, tragic results when a man like Tony Perkins is able to go on NPR and tell depressed, suicidal gay kids that the reason they’re hurting is because they’re flawed and evil. And when these messages are treated as valid, they filter down to people like school board member Clint McCance of Independence County, Arkansas, who look up to Religious Right leaders, and who then feel completely comfortable ranting and reveling on Facebook over the fact that gay kids are committing suicide.
It’s simply unacceptable for our media to continue, as Spong said, pretending like there are two sides here. Because of the Fox News climate, the other mainstream sources are always obsessively trying to run from being tarred as “the liberal media” — well guess what? They’re going to be called that anyway. So, with that being the case, they might as well try out something new, like being decent reporters.