… I also do not believe everyone who belongs to a church whose doctrine includes anti-gay rhetoric is themselves anti-gay. Certainly, I wish they’d consider their denomination’s dogma and examine whether it follows their true feelings. But I don’t think all Catholics or Mormons or Scientologists or Southern Baptists are necessarily homophobes even though their religions have been overwhelmingly unsupportive of LGBT people and our rights. The irony of my love the sinner, not the sin approach to deeply religious people is not lost on me.
Which leads me to the recent heated fandom debates – to put it very mildly; you should see the email folder I’ve made for all the messages – over Rachel Skarsten of “Lost Girl” and most recently Laura Prepon of “Orange Is the New Black.” Both have been tied to churches that are reportedly anti-gay. For Rachel it is the Los Angeles church Mosaic and its pastor Erwin McManus. And for Laura it is Scientology and the speculation it had something to do with leaving her show.
McManus is on record seven years ago giving an all-too-familiar kind of soft-focus anti-gay sermon about how “I don’t believe you are in a healthy place when your identity is built around who you have sex with” and other such nonsense that’ll make you grind your teeth. You can download a full podcast of his October 2006 sermon “Life’s Toughest Questions” on iTunes for free. As for Scientology, high-profile claims of homophobia in the church and from its late founder L. Ron Hubbard have been around for ages. You can get trapped in that Google search rabbit hole for days.
I am, admittedly and obviously, not really a fan of either church or leader. And that is being incredibly gracious about my opinion. ….
Now, some folks may be very upset at my refusal to condemn either Rachel or Laura off hand. You are mad that they went to those churches in the first place. You are mad that they talked about their religions at all. I can see where you’re coming from. Though it should be noted that Rachel was specifically asked what projects she was working on besides “Lost Girl” in the interview in question. And so she answered accordingly.
Thing is, when we start telling people what they can and cannot say about something that matters in their lives, then how different are we than the people who tell us what we can or cannot say about ourselves? The people who tell us to keep our lives quiet and stop being so blatant and other words synonymous for “couldn’t you please just be invisible.”
I will not be invisible. But I will also not force other people to be. And if we truly are in a battle for the hearts and minds for those people and organizations that do not accept us, we will need people on our side on the inside. We need LGBT friendly Catholics and Mormons and Scientologists and Southern Baptists and everything in between. We cannot do it alone. We need allies everywhere.
Calling someone a homophobe is a powerful thing not to be taken lightly. A homophobe hates us. A homophobe fears us. A homophobe fights against us in words or actions. A homophobe thinks we truly are an abomination and wants us to be treated as such. …
Hate can consume us, whether from others or ourselves. It’s an insidious, ugly thing that – fast or slow – corrodes our ability to feel all other emotions. I feel bad for those who have it in their hearts. I understand the white-hot rage we feel when it’s directed at us. But pick your battles, and make sure your enemies are really enemies. I may not be a person of faith, but I try to have faith in the goodness and growth of others’ hearts.