Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Love is ALL That Matters

I was perusing the facebook blog page and ran across a link to an article that caught my attention.  I followed the link, read the article, and cried.  I couldn't figure out why it made me cry at that moment.  It just touched a place in my soul that's sensitive.  Then, I saw another post, reminding people that I was the guest writer of the month on a very popular anti-hate website.  In the reminder, he told his audience that I was writing about my childhood experiences.  Then, it made sense.  The tears were coming from that still-bruised 12-year-old.  You have to read the article to understand.

In a nutshell, the link led me to a lengthy comment to an article from another blogger, "I'm a Christian, Unless You're Gay" which, itself, is a rather lengthy article.  Lengthy but very worthwhile.  Correction:  lengthy but a must-read!!!  The article is powerful.  It's powerful because the author, Dan Pearce, is speaking the truth on a topic that far too many people shy away from.  It's powerful because it hits the nail right on the head.  It's top-dead-center.  Perfect.  It's what I've been saying, in one form or another, here in this blog.  But, wait!  For as powerful as the article, itself, is, the article isn't what this is about.  The message he sends is, in a nutshell, love is all that matters.

Writing such powerful articles, straightforward, honest, and real is certain to evoke plenty of emotions and get overwhelming responses.  THAT'S what this is about.  The still-bruised 12-year-old who resides inside of me connected with that lengthy comment that was left by one of his readers.  A teacher gave this article to his class and told them to write about it.  In that class was a 15-year-old gay student.  The article resonated with him.  See, in his Christian home, in his community, homosexuality wasn't just frowned upon:  it was more like the ultimate sin.  As such, he'd lived his entire life buried deeply, and safely, in the closet.  That is until he was handed this assignment and read it.  The comment was written by his devoutly Christian, deeply homophobic mother.

We see it everywhere.  We see it in the news regularly.  We see it in communities across the country, and around the world.  We see it in our homes.  We hear it from certain politicians.  We hear it from some religious "leaders".  The message is clear:  God hates gays!!!  In God's eyes, gays are condemned to hell.  Sick.  Disgusting.  Perverted.  The list goes on.  The message is picked up by the LGBT youth across the country and around the world.  The results...well, we're seeing the results.  The results are being manifested in the bullying we're seeing that's leading far-too-many LGBT teens to suicide.  The results are being manifested in the lack of self-esteem that far-too-many LGBT teens experience that leads them to depression, drug-abuse, and eventually suicide.  Here's the real deal:  this message is being sent by people who call themselves Christians.  In their own minds, and in their own warped visions of religion, they are "doing God's will".  The wake-up call is that God Doesn't Hate!  I say this a lot, and I say it for good reason:  1 John 4:8 could not be any clearer.  "God is love".

The core message in Dan's article is one that I've been saying all the while:  in order to change the culture of hatred and intolerance that plagues our society, the one that leads to the bullying and violence we're seeing towards our LGBT teens, the one that's leading to far, far-too-many LGBT teen suicides, we have to start with the adults.  Look, no one is born hating.  No one is born intolerant.  We're born to love.  Plain and simple.  We're taught hatred and intolerance.  Young people are taught that it's ok, and in some cases accepted and expected, for them to treat people who are different than themselves harshly.  With disdain.  With disgust.  With hatred.  With intolerance.  Especially if they're gay or lesbian...real or perceived.  And, they are being taught that from certain political "leaders", some religious "leaders", and from their own parents.  Meanwhile, in many of these ultra-conservative, "religious" homes resides an LGBT teen who are being destroyed from the inside out by the nastiness and disgust they hear coming from their parents' mouths.  The end result is usually bad news.  On the other side of the coin, in many of these ultra-conservative, "religious" homes, there are impressionable teens hearing mom and dad saying those very same words of disgust and intolerance, being taught to live "right", live up to the parents' expectations, and pass their hatred and intolerance on to any classmate he or she may have who is even perceived to be gay or lesbian.  The end result is equally bad news.

Here's the real deal:  it is time for people to start speaking up for love, to start speaking up against hate...in all forms.  It's the only way we're going to change our culture.  It's the only way we're going to start seeing the incidences of bullying, hatred, violence and intolerance towards LGBT teens or anybody perceived to be different.  And, it's the only way we're ever going to start seeing the number of teen suicides, LGBT and straight, begin to reduce.  Regardless of what Fred and his group of loonies say, God does not "hate fags".  In fact, God doesn't hate.  Remember that.  God is love.  And, love is all that matters!

Thanks, Adriana.  And, thanks, Dan!!