A few weeks ago I went to a fundraising dinner with my parents, for the charity they both work for. Two people I know from my local pub were also there, parents of one of my mum’s co-workers, and there’s a bit of history here. Let’s call them Dave and Sharon. They’re both Jehovah’s Witnesses, and about 9 months ago, Dave added me on Facebook. I often post stories related to gay rights issues on my Facebook profile, among other things, and on one of these stories Dave said something to the effect of “it’s unnatural, it should be banned.” Unsurprisingly he got torn apart by people who objected to what he’d said, I chimed in and said I didn’t agree, and within a couple of days Dave had deleted me from his friends. He soon had a conversation in the pub with my dad where he said that’s what I was into, ‘all that gay stuff’, presumably implying that I must be gay. If I’d been there I would have noted that since (I presume) Dave didn’t believe in slavery, and he believed women should have the vote, he must be a black woman by his logic. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t.
Anyway back to the dinner a couple of weeks ago, I considered that all over, and Dave and Sharon were sitting next to me at the table. After a while, Sharon said that Dave had got quite a lot of stick from my friends on Facebook, and then there was a pause. I don’t know what they wanted me to say but I wasn’t surprised and I thought he deserved it. She went on, “it’s not the people, it’s what they do that’s the problem. We believe it’s wrong.” Another pause, as if as soon as the word ‘belief’ had come up, I was supposed to back off because that’s sacred. Anyone who knows me will know that that’s not how I work.
Anyway some examples came up and they talked about a gay mutual friend, who they referred to as a very nice man. It all reeked to me of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” rubbish I’d been taught in school. I say rubbish not because it’s a bad idea, indeed this idea has probably protected a lot of people from harm, but because it doesn’t make any sense. They obviously consider homosexuality (or at least sodomy) a sin*. Let’s say it’s as bad a sin as theft** – I do know Christians who say all sins are equal but I find that idea ridiculous. Now would Dave and Sharon have said “he’s a very nice man, except that every Friday night he unapologetically goes out and burgles houses”? Of course not! If he regularly does something that they consider wrong, and he shows no remorse for it, then clearly in their opinion he shouldn’t be a very nice man. And if they really do hate the sin and love the sinner, then why all the discrimination? It’s a load of tosh. These aren’t the kind of people you’re going to convince any time soon, so I bit my tongue and changed the subject.
* On a complete tangent, I can’t recall any part of the Bible that condemns female homosexuality. Indeed IIRC, Queen Victoria didn’t make lesbianism illegal because she didn’t believe it existed. You’d think all these Bible literalists would at least legalise gay marriage for lesbians.
** On another tangent, homosexuality is only condemned in a few passages in the Bible, along with masturbation, planting two different crops in the same furrow, wearing garments made of two different cloths, being an unruly child, etc. In fact honouring your father and mother even made it into the 10 Commandments, why is it that Bible literalists are so intent on stopping gay marriage and they aren’t going mental about all the people disrespecting their parents? If all sins are equal, why focus so much on this one? The answer’s simple, because it fits into their own bigotry and ideology.