Monday, 1 December 2014

Bigots on every side

Today is World Aids Day and although I am not personally living with HIV I have friends who are.

But my day has taken an interesting track today.

For a start the letter that I had published in this morning's Belfast Telegraph led to one of my Christian friends in Northern Ireland telling me that they felt they could no longer remain my friend on Facebook and the unfriended me. I sent them the link to my blog post which gave the full version of my original letter to show them that I did not and would not have a go at Christian's per se, but I was having a go at those with privilege extending it to others. I also asked them to tell me in each of the examples that I listed which side was most of the churches or churched on at the times that equality was extended.

I hope they realise that the church has been behind on a number of occasions from slavery to other believe systems to women and that LGBT is just the latest manifestation.

But over the weekend I also posted a sad story about parents who sent their gay son to reparative therapy. Only for him later to rebel and seek to find himself, sadly in a way that would eventually kill him. But the happy ending is that they are teaching that the dangers of reparative therapy are more than the dangers of a LGBT child falling in love with someone of the same sex and settling down.

Sadly one of my acquaintances on Facebook without reading this attacked the article as being Churches attacking LGBT people. It led to some friends messaging me in private to tell me that they felt unsafe on commenting on this post to my time line. Friends who are in the church and supportive or leaning that way in relation to accepting LGBT people within it. When people like that, who are supportive, feel unable to speak up because someone else takes ownership of a thread despite their own ignorance as to the specifics that is as dangerous as reparative therapy. The reason is that some of those supporters get turned off from helping LGBT young people in their midst and the end result is that more of them will feel more isolated until they find others like themselves, if they do, and it is not too late.

So I make no apology for listing both these people as bigots and they exist on both sides of the debate over church and LGBT. But there really shouldn't be sides of this. However,  many church people cannot see LGBT individuals and issues as things that concern them, despite Jesus saying go into all the world. At the same time many LGBT people see no point in talking civilly to people who are religious, despite many of them being supportive and the best people to make sure other religious people become supportive too.

But while there are isolated incidents such as the ones I faced today there are far more people of faith or who are LGBT who are supportive of the stance that I take on this issue, treading a careful line between the two because both are part of who I and others actually are.

But while I felt a little stigma for being me today that is as nothing to the stigma that some who live with HIV feel everyday. But while we still have ignorant comments such as those of UKIP's deputy leader Christopher Monckton the other day many will continue to do so.

We need to stamp out bigotry and the stigma than involves and that goes both ways.

No comments:

Post a Comment