Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Christians

Do You Understand?

To those in the Christian faith who do not accept gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders:

Do you consider yourself different than Fred Phelps and the extreme condemnation provided by his family at Westboro Baptist Church - the people who now sprout up to post their anti-gay tirade at the funerals of our military service people who have lost their lives in the cause of duty? Do you understand that I don't find you different?

Phelps is incredibly hurtful and blunt with his rhetoric, no one questions that, but just because you think you are different because your rhetoric is softer (my favorite..."hate the sin, love the sinner") doesn't mean I make that distinction. To me, I hear the same anger, the same passion, the same motivation in the antics of Phelps and the message you provide. Do you understand that in that same anger, passion and motivation, I am fearful? Fearful of spiritual and emotional violence, yes. But also literally fearful of physical harm. Yes, for me and many others the Cross is a symbol from which I must initially feel I need to withdraw - for my safety.

Do you understand that in the voices of those who do harm us - gay bashing, trans murders and the like - that I hear the same anger, emotion and motivation in them that I hear in yours. This is why I must first protect myself. This isn't about your beliefs...believe as you must...but this is the manner in which you express those beliefs. Do you have the same anger, passion and motivation about poverty? Hunger? Genocide?

Do you understand that the suicide rate among LGBT youth is many times higher than that for other teens and is completely unacceptable? They, too, hear your incessant thumping and condemnation. They do not - and can not - make the distinction between Phelps and you. And why should they? Do you understand your message, your "Christian" message is killing people, not saving them. Is that not what Jesus taught...saving, not extinguishing?

These deaths are real. And yes, I hold you responsible - along with Phelps - for helping nurture a culture which works to demonize and debase the lives of those who are different. A sin? If you think so, then so be it. But I see a much more sinister sin committed by those who foster a society that is willing to lose the lives of people simply because of a "sin".

Do you understand? Do you even care?

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