My “Agenda”

As many of my readers know, I can be pretty outspoken about my beliefs. I learned this in Bible College, where it was called “evangelism” and many of my peers tried to use guilt guilt to get me to speak more about why I am a Christian. After all, I graduated with honours in the pastoral studies program and I have a talent for debating, critical thinking and expression. My peers in churches and conservative organizations loved the way I could write to “defend the faith” and debate my beliefs of the day, and they encouraged my participation in discussions and disputes.

Unfortunately, this sort of backfired. Critical thinking and analysis involve a lot of honesty. The more I looked at much that has to do with the institutional church and the conservative perspective, the more I found it wanting. Times change, people change, cultures change. Americans are absorbing people and viewpoints from around the world, many of which challenge colloquial and provincial thinking. Unfortunately, we are at a time in history when being rigid doesn’t work. There is a long line of “issues” that have shifted over time: acceptance of divorce, equal authority of women in the family and the church, interracial marriage, etc. My old churches in the U.S., at one time (quite recently, actually) have stood against all these things. The most recent is a stand against homosexuals and the transgendered. This current perspective will eventually turn out to be equally wrong… but in the process of fighting to maintain the status quo, conservatives will cause as much hurt and pain as the other issues have caused. Look at the recent gay-bashing, bullying and successful suicides that are directly attributable to this perspective.

I find it ironic that many conservatives feel they have the right to spout religious based anger that is as filled with “terror” against homosexuals as any fatwa decreed by clerics in the middle east. Yet when I try to defend myself with the equivalent rhetoric, I’m accused of a host of generalized ills: if only because they can’t answer my points. I actually love when I’m accused of being part of the “homosexual agenda”; as an organized program it exists primarily in hyper-conservative minds, and makes its appearance primarily when they know they’ve lost in any kind of logical sense, and instead are desperately dragging in emotion and name-calling to the argument.

As part of this post, I wanted to see what conservatives think we are thinking. The following are apparently what conservatives think defines the “homosexual belief system” (Conservapedia: accessed Jan 7, 2012), and my responses:

  • censorship of any and all criticism of homosexuality as “hate speech”

    • No, I’ve had some great critical discussions regarding homosexuality. Some of them are quite accurate… although most misunderstand the difference between homosexuals and a narrower homosexual culture. The only material I think should be censored as “hate speech” is exactly that: which falls in line according to the Canadian definition (to which Gather does not subscribe): “A hate crime is one in which hate is the motive and can involve intimidation, harassment, physical force or threat of physical force against a person, a group or a property… The victims are targeted for who they are, not because of anything they have done… Section 319 [of the Canadian Criminal Code] deals with publicly stirring up or inciting hatred against an identifiable group based on colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” (CBC, 2011)
  • intense affirmative action in the form of preferential hiring and networking

    • Affirmative action is necessary for any discriminated group: and I suppose if you’re the one doing the discriminating, then it looks to be “preferential”. The same thing has been claimed about the Affirmative Action process with respect to race and gender. “Actually, most supporters of affirmative action oppose this type of preferential selection… federal regulations explicitly prohibit affirmative action programs in which unqualified or unneeded employees are hired “(10 Myths about Affirmative Action: Myth 10).
  • short-term outlook at the expense of the long-term future

    • I have yet to understand exactly what this means. The long-term “ills” that have been described to me are, again, fear-mongering and have no logical basis in fact. As an example: in spite of dire predictions, Canada and many other nations/states have approved same-sex marriage, now for many years. Not only have the predictions not come true, but there has been absolutely no move in the directions forecast that has not been parallelled by nations that have not approved same-sex marriage.

  • narcissistic in personality and relatively self-absorbed in outlook

    • Another item that is difficult to understand: I know straight people who are just as narcissistic and self-absorbed as any gay person. With regards to equal rights, most queer people are not fighting for their own rights. The very fact that they are able to fight means that they have reached a place in our society where discrimination affects them to a much lesser degree than others. They are fighting for the rights of others, even if those others are where they have been, and so they can use themselves as examples.

  • relatively prone to depression, and even suicide.

    • I can’t believe that this, a symptom of conservative hatred against gay people, also appears as part of what they think our ‘belief system” is. It is true that the suicide rate is higher among gay people than straight: but that is not a universal statement. It is not that such depression and suicide is an intrinsic part of being gay: it is a product of an environment that is antagonistic toward who we are. Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are “about 25 percent less likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts in politically conservative areas that lack school programs supporting gay rights, according to a study published today in Pediatrics.” (U.S. News: April 18, 2011) Isn’t that a sobering statistic?

Lastly, I will admit that I do have an “agenda” (or at least a goal) in my life and my writing. It is to improve communication between those who stand on different sides of different fences: gay and straight, Christian and atheist, scientist and non-scientist. Increased communication leads to improved interaction and broader understanding. Much though I hope to achieve equality for my sexual orientation, I believe the best we will do in my lifetime is to decrease inequality. Much though some people believe that can be done by repealing laws that punish gay love and affection, I believe we can still go much further than that.

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