Some people feel a strong opposition about rights for LGBT people. They stand in the way of full inclusion and equality. Why? What do they fear?
Most of the conflicts that occur in our homes and in society happen when one person or a group of people believe that something they need is threatened. It could be something serious like food supplies or water, or simple, let the need for some time alone. They may feel the need for respect from others. Perhaps they are gripped with a fear–real or perceived–that their security or the security of their loved ones may be compromised. When we feel our needs are threatened, we can react often violently.
When I was an Evangelical, Conservative, Republican Christian, I feared “the gay agenda.” My reaction was personal. I knew I was gay, and I hated that part of me; I wanted to destroy it. Any pro-gay message or proposed legislation for LGBT rights threatened my resolve to annihilate that gay part of me. I found it easier to despise a part of myself when there was a social consensus of queer revulsion.
I felt spiritually threatened too. I lived with the belief that if the United States caved into the demands of the homosexuals, this would trigger a spiritual catastrophe. Our permissiveness would so offend God, that God would turn his back on us as a nation. God would remove his special protective covering over us resulting in natural disasters, financial ruin, and diseases unleashed by God as punishment for our wicked ways.
Perhaps, I reasoned God would send these disasters in hopes of correcting us. If God pummeled us enough, we might just repent of our sins. I wanted to believe that, but really I feared horrors would come upon us sent from God because we finally crossed the line, a point of no return. God would swoop down, the angel of death, in a blast of wrath and righteousness.
Perhaps reading this some may scoff at such thoughts. It would be easy to mock people who ascribe to such a terror-driven theology. Some may assume that since these beliefs are so irrational, no one in their right mind could ever truly profess them. But fear messes with our heads. It literally alters our brain chemistry so that we do not think clearly when under its influence. Fear breeds more fear which incubates irrationality.
Looking at it today I realize that I didn’t really fear the gay agenda or the liberation of LGBTQ people. Instead I feared a God that was easily offended, a merciless heavenly father. I feared a being that had become weakened because of his own righteousness–so pure that no impurity could ever come near him. Like a person with no immune system, the God I believed in required a sanitized space, a sin-free environment–the God in the holy plastic bubble. This God, suffering from a sin-intolerance disorder, then lashed out at anything or anyone that threatened his security.
During the days of my Evangelical Christian zeal, the biggest danger in life was not a wayward society, particularly one that acknowledged and welcomed LGBT people. The greatest danger was an unhinged, wild God, the ultimate abuser. Yet I retained a steadfast allegiance much like how an abused person may go out of the way to defend an abuser.
In the book of Genesis earthlings are fashioned after God’s own image. If God is a creator, I imagine I feel most divine when I create something, be it a performance piece or a particularly healthy and tasty meal. Since we are all little creators, some folks have created God in their own image–a being who reacts with violence to security threats, a panicked deity that is so overwhelmed with terror that it can hear or learn or consider the stories and lives of others. Seems we need to liberate God from our limited imagination.
(Photo from cliff dwellers’ ruins in Walnut Canyon)
National Monument near Flagstaff, AZ)