Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Christian or Heterosexual Bigotry?

Reports, this past weekend, about the alleged vicious assault of a Lesbian by a fellow female member of her church made me sit up and take notice. Firstly due to the bigotry of this Christian who allegedly perpetrated the assault and secondly the fact that homophobia is still rife and incidents like this are not as uncommon as we may like to believe. This incident reminded me of a line from Queer as Folk where the one character stated “There are only two kinds of straight people in this world – the ones that hates you to your face and the ones that hates you behind your back.” I was left wondering, is this really true?
Cecillia Munnik was reported to be suing a member of her church in the High Court for R1, 5 million (+/-$200 000), in damages for an incident that occurred in 2007. It’s alleged that her assailant repeatedly kicked her between her legs until she lost consciousness in an attempt to “convert” her to heterosexuality. During the attack profanities was also screamed at Munnik and she was told she was going to hell for being gay and that she was “ungodly”. The queer thing is that both Munnik and her assailant belonged to the same church and supposedly believed in the same God. Yet, Munnik was called an insult to Christianity. This begs the question, whose behaviour in this incident was more Christian like and who truly was an insult to their own religion?
This incident and a few others made me wonder what the true root cause of homophobia is. Is it religion or is there another social source. Most people’s frame of reference when it comes to morality is religion. Your religion will dictate what is morally right or wrong and provide you with some moral compass by which to live your life. Religions, in some cases, are also a convenient excuse when used as a tool to justify institutionalized discrimination. Just look at Uganda with their proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. When it’s stated by religious leaders that gays are going to hell, it makes it easier for their followers to commit appalling acts with the premise that they are acting in "God’s will", no matter whether their own actions are also condemned by that same religion. This creates a breeding ground for the bigotry we see emerging every day.
Some people don’t need to use religion as an excuse to be homophobic and display discriminating behaviour. As it goes for racism these people, for some odd reason, believe they are superior to others and gay people are unworthy members of society just like black, coloured and Indian people are seen as subhuman. I have experienced some of this myself. I have too heard certain snickers and insults directed at me, mostly behind my back. For some reason certain people don’t have the balls to confront you when they are not supported by a group of people. A few years ago, I had to have a tire fixed and everything was going well. After the tire was fixed and I paid for the repairs and the transaction could no longer be reversed I heard the first homophobic slur made about me by an employee there. It was a hushed taunt and slanderous comment supposedly not audible enough for me to hear – but I did. Apparently, my money was good enough there but as a gay person I wasn’t and this faggot should go back to his part of town. Needless to say, this faggot did not leave it there, and after the incident was reported to their head office I was refunded and received a written apology.
Not all people are homophobic by nature. There are people whose ignorance and lack of knowledge about the gay community promotes their lack of sensitivity and understanding. These are the individuals who are most vulnerable to the influence of unscrupulous groups who fuels homophobia and hate. These are the same groups that make straight people believe that my marriage in some strange way will destroy their own and that my mere existence poses an immediate threat to their children’s mental and moral health. If you think about it, who do gay people hurt by being gay? Do we start wars over infringements of our human rights? Do we start urban violent terror campaigns when ever our community is wronged? Have you ever heard of a straight bashing? Do we picket religious events stating heterosexuals are abominations, unchristian and should be going to hell? Do we insist on taking away the basic human rights of other people? No, we don’t, our fight for our rights is a mostly peaceful one. All we want is to be treated like everyone else and be afforded the same human rights and level of respect.
Having many heterosexual friends I can honestly say there are three kinds of heterosexuals – those who hate you to your face (like the Christian lady who assaulted the lesbian), the ones that hates you behind your back (the tire repair store employee) and the ones that don’t give a rats ass who you sleep with and respects you for who you are. Yes, there are many bigots out there, some sitting in the pews of their church on a Sunday, and others in a store assisting you and some are even world leaders. These are the people that give religion a bad name, make politics a dirty business and at times cause many gay people to wonder what their straight friends really think about our lifestyle.
Till next time.

Hedda Lettuce - Lady Gaga Bad Romance Parody (for the mature audience)

10 comments:

nothingprofound said...

A lot of angry, frustrated people latch on to religion and politics and use it as a means to vent and legitimize their hostility. Politics and religion often provide them with convenient scapegoats-homosexuals, members of other religions, ethnic groups, and political persuasions being among them. The terrifying thing is how politicians and religious leaders exploit that anger and frustration to achieve their own selfish ambitions.

Pierre said...

nothingprofound, my question is where this anger and frustration is coming from? The fact that religious leaders and politicians exploit this anger and frustration does not surprise me.

cnith said...

People get angry because their lives are not going right. Rather than look upon THEMSELVES for the problem, they want someone to blame.

"I suck at my job so I got fired." Just doesnt' fit right...so they go on the parade that says "damn illegals stealing my job! Get them the fuck out!"

Hmm...

It's no different than gay hate when you think about it. "I suck at my relationships and my children hate me b/c I don't spend time with them." no... let's jump on the bandwagon that says "it's all the gay people's fault! They've corrupted our youth and give couples a bad name!"

Hmmm...

Maybe if they didn't suck so much they'd realise that it's THEIR OWN problem.

I love how religion says love everyone. I find it hilarious that it seems to have a condition when supposedly god loves unconditionally. I love you but dont be gay, dont be brown/black/yellow/whatever, dont think about another possibility of a deity or religion, etc etc...

Anger and frustration come from not having some kind of need met. In this case, the need is, I think, acceptance of who they really are. So it's easier to not accept others and hate them for it. Why should you accept them, when no one accepts you? It's total bollocks... but that's what I think.

Not saying you should 'love yourself' first but I think if you start to accept others, they start to accept you too. And who knows, maybe even YOU will start to accept you... It's worth a shot, no?

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

This is just wonderfully written!!

timotito said...

I'm a gay Christian man and I was raised to believe homosexuality was a sin. And I believed it. That's why I pursued various ex-gay ministries, trying to become the good hetero Christian boy that I was expected to be. But I was also that hatred and violence are wrong as well. So even while I tried not to be gay, I could never hate another person for who they are or even for what they do. (By identifying now as both Gay and Christian, I've come to accept that both are part of my life, and that they aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.)

Sometimes I do feel hatred stirring within me. I'm human. It happens. And in those times, I ask God to take away the hatred and give me the ability to forgive the person(s).

I wonder if this "Christian" woman realized that what she did (both in thought and deed) was just as sinful as what she *believed* was sinful behavior by the other person? And I wonder what others in the church said to them both? Whose side were they on? Did they support the assailant? the victim? maybe neither? (the latter is more likely.) And I wonder if this assailant faced any criminal charges for what she did to the other woman? (I can only hope she spent at least a few months behind bars with other women who would love to have her to themselves! lol)

Pierre said...

cnith, I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your very true and enlightening comment. I wish some of those ignoramuses will actually try and find peace withing themselves without externalizing their own insecurities.

Pierre said...

timotito, there are many gay Christians in the world as are there many gay people belonging to other faiths. I sometimes wish that certain religious leaders would focus on the essence of their faith instead of getting stuck on negative aspects. Instead of preaching hate, preaching love. It saddens me that the actions of a few individuals or groups can cause a whole religion to be brought into disrepute as these people calls themselves one thing but in actual fact are the complete opposite.

Clueless said...

Pierre,

I forgot to tell you in the first post...Congratulations on your 12th Anniversary.

As a straight female, long time Christian, I am in furiated about how Christian are portrayed and how they behave...I feel like I have to be careful sometimes letting people know about my being a Christian.

I am not promoting my blog, but I did a series on how I became a supporter of gay rights. You might find it interesting. This is the link http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-10-19T01%3A19%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=12#uds-search-results

Sorry if I gave this to you before. But this is my view as a Christian from a very different stand point than those that receive the most media attention. I hope that you will take a look at it. Parts I and II, are the most pertinent.

Clueless said...

Hey everyone,

Great comments.

As a straight female, long time Christian, I am infuriated about how Christians are portrayed and how they behave...I feel like I have to be careful sometimes letting people know that I am a Christian as I often am the target of discrimination.

However, I have a blog where I wrote a series from a Biblical and psychological point of view on this topic. I am not promoting my blog, the series is about how I became a supporter of gay rights. You might find it interesting. This is the link http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-10-19T01%3A19%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=12#uds-search-results

Jackrabbit said...

Well, this just has to stop. If members of the Christian community in her area don't make a big stink about this, I am officially appalled.

So, I've only been seriously involving myself in the local gay community for about nine months now, but I've been a serious Christian for about nine years. And the longer I see this kind of response to gays and lesbians, the more I'm beginning to understand that Christianity isn't the source of the problem.

Sure, there are Christians who have honest ethical and theological questions about Christianity out there, but the most gut-reflex, hateful, vicious responses I've seen to same-sex desire from Christians have never once come from Biblical morality. It's always something deeper and more primal than that.

Instead, the Bible makes them feel justified in their hate. The church becomes their refuge, their safe place to not have to change their opinions about their hate, and they ignore all of Christ's injunctions to love as a consequence.

So, from a Christian perspective, I do think the Church is guilty of something terrible, but it's not for originating homophobic behavior. It's guilty for giving that hatred a safe haven and not challenging it openly.

Case in point: I was visiting an older friend of mine who has teenage boys, and I went with her to pick them up from school. After her eldest got in the van, we slowly herded our way through a huge throng of eighth graders crossing the road. Suddenly, "Charlie" grabbed his mother's seat and yelled, "Step on the gas and run that kid over, Mom! He's so freaking gay!"

His mother reprimanded him, but not for his bigotry. She told him to sit down and shut up because there was company in the car. I hit the roof. As I launched into a heated response to "Charlie's" comments, his mother was honestly surprised I was so angry. "But, the Bible says that homosexuality IS a sin," she corrected, but a little uncertainly. "I agree he's being a little unfair..."

"That's completely beside the point," I fumed. "Your son thinks it's okay to attack another human being over a supposed 'sin,' and you're okay with this? What if he said he wanted to kill his little brother? Would you still care about that theological distinction?" I'm afraid my friend didn't really know how to answer.

Having spent several years in "Charlie's" youth department at church, I'm positive he didn't learn that there. He also didn't learn that from his father. That vicious, instinctual malevolence came from somewhere else.

I can only speculate, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's because he's been bullied himself for years for being very small and delicate for his age and having a high voice. Maybe he's internalized this hatred because he's been called "gay" when those bullies have beaten him up.

But in a real sense, where "Charlie" learned to hate is beside the point. His church is supposed to teach him to despise hate and love everyone as God's children, and it's not. His church, I think, will have to bear the guilt for that-- and I am genuinely afraid that an innocent gay person might have to suffer the consequences...

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