I grew up in southern Indiana right where the Ohio River makes a curly seam against Kentucky. I was a Southern Baptist boy, at first by tradition and then by choice. That’s what we Southern Hoosiers did in those days.
Those circumstances were the perfect yet unfortunate set up for a lot of heartache. As my teenage years progressed, I gradually discovered that I was the devil in disguise, so to speak, for everyone around me. I was a homosexual, the despised and mythical creature about whom the Sunday school teacher warned us. I’m being dramatic about it now, but back then the stakes were quite high.
Nothing seems to change in my home state. It seemed a bit of a miracle when the marriage ban was struck down, then perhaps a bit predictable when Indiana became the latest state to pass a religious freedom act. On Monday, the state became the latest to pass such legislation. Gov. Mike Pence has said he’ll sign it.
I’m no longer a Christian, but I very much remember the mindset of the fundamentalist. Modern American fundamentalism is a faith of mean-ness — of exclusion — of turning your fears into God’s will and your gossip into prayer requests. I remember it well.
The irony is they completely think they’re doing the right thing…what Jesus would do.
The Jesus Christ of my imagination gladly makes flowers and cakes for gay people. I mean, that seemed to be his M.O. in scripture, hanging out with and helping people regardless of what they believed. Alas, the Jesus Christ of my imagination is irrelevant. What matters now is the savior in the minds of those pressing for the protection of their so-called religious freedom.
It seems an easy realization, that this religious freedom comes at the cost of oppressing another. But in defense, they would very much say the same applies to them, and now we are in a Catch 22 of prejudice.
The answer (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this) is Jesus. The man who who loved all unconditionally. For those so concerned with the inevitable coming of gay marriage, is it not time to sincerely ask, “What would Jesus do?”
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post