The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

"Why do you hate us?"

In today's Tennessean, there is a great opinion article by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts. Pitts writes for the Miami Herald, which you can access online, but it's a registration-required site.

I would encourage those of you in Tennessee to pick it up and read it. He wrote it in response to an email he got "from...a lawyer in a red state". The lawyer expressed concern over laws passed restricting rights based on sexuality, calling it the beginning of a "Gay Holocaust". Mr. Pitts was very clear to say that he thinks that the Holocaust was a very serious, very specific event, and that "there is a reason the word takes a capital 'h'". But he goes on to draw some interesting comparisons:

1. Both the Holocaust and our current need to crimialize everything homosexual comes from "a mindset that says a given people are so loathsome, so offensive to our sensibilities, that we are obliged to place them outside the circle of normal human compassion." Basing someone's rights on their sexuality sends the message that the wrong sexuality makes you inhuman. "We don't have to hear their cries, don't have to respect their humanity, don't have to revere their tears, because they are less than we - and at the same time, are responsible for everything that scares or threatens us."

2. "The Holocaust was, after all, only hatred carried out to its logical extreme, the predictable outcome of an environment where we countenance taking rights from 'them', heaping scorn on 'them', making scapegoats of 'them'." Isn't this they way we treat "the terrorists" as well? Look at what we've done to the detainees in Guantanomo Bay and Abu Ghraib. I'm not saying the right-wing fundamentalists are about to start rounding up the homosexual community into workcamps, but at the same time, it's clear that we as Christians and Americans have a higher tolerance for such things than we might be willing to admit.

3. "It prompted a group of gay Alabamans to rise before a legislative committee and ask a pregnant question. Why do you hate us? And it strikes me that the same thing could have been asked by an Armenian in 1915, by a Bosnian Muslim in 1992, by a Rwandan in 1994, and, yes, by a Jew in 1936."

There are so many parallels between what is going on in greater Christianity in America today and what the Pharisees were doing when Jesus was here. The narrow focus on enforcing compliance with a set of rules, blinding us and them to the hurting all around us. How many gay people have been permanently driven from God by the actions of His children?

Everytime we seek to exclude someone from our world, based on their behavior, we are to some degree telling them they aren't as good as we are, whether we're talking about legal rights, church services and events, or even just our social circle. How can someone come to know God, and be healed, if their very brokenness is what we're using to keep them out in the first place?

I have more thoughts floating around in my head, but am having a hard time expressing them. I'm sure I'll come back to this issue again; I always do.

3 Responses to “"Why do you hate us?"”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hi, Tiffany. Saw your blog cited at another blog. Thought I'd give you a try.

    Very thought provoking. A couple of reactions:

    1. Kenny Chesney - You seemed somewhat smitten. Guess you're in mourning now that he's signed up for life with Rene. Of course, being a "lifer" doesn't mean what it used to mean. I suspect he'll be back on the streets in about 6 months.


    2. The Pitts op/ed piece - Yes, I read it at the time. It troubled me a bit, just as your comments have.

    I have no wisdom on this, but you said, "How can someone come to know God, and be healed, if their very brokenness is what we're using to keep them out in the first place?" And I know what you are saying. But even in saying what you did, I think you have a problem. Do gays think they are "broken?" I mean, I'll bet you'd get an argument about that statement from a gay. Many gays, I suspect, would tend to revel in what you would call their "broken-ness" - and at the same time tell you they are not "broken" at all.

    And looking at it from my viewpoint, must I, to be called a liberated, loving, modern Christian, just pat them on the back and say, "Go in peace?" Welcome into my fellowship? Do I have no leeway at all to restrict behavior within my circle of influence? Any behavior at all?

    Well, I told you I was not wise. Now I've just proved my point, I guess. I'm just one of the little ones in God's kingdom. Trying to figure it all out. Striving for obedience to what little I know. Basking in love. Praying for mercy.

    Keep writing and sharing.  

  2. # Blogger Tiffany

    Thanks for stopping by, and your thoughts.

    I'm personally torn on the morality of homosexuality. My point was just that we use it as a reason to keep people from God; the Christians who condemn them for this behavior are the very obstacles keeping them from God.

    I do think accountability is necessary within the church. Jesus never compromised on that. But there is a difference between someone's behavior being regulated by rules and their behavior changing as a result of God's love.

    One of my very best friends is gay, and he has a great faith. He and I have discussed the issue, and it's really opened my eyes to the way Christians treat this one community.

    Again, I'm studying and praying and trying to understand what Scripture tells us, but what I keep coming back to is that as a Christian, it's my responsibility to love and show people to God, and it's His responsibility to change their lives.

    Ultimately, I'm just concerned with any action the "christian community" takes that separates us from the world, rather than taking us into it. Political movements like this one have exactly that effect.  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Yes ... I hear you ... and you're probably "righter" on this than I am.

    It's definitely one of the tough ones, as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm still thinking ... thinking ... thinking ...

    Thanks for your calm and thoughtful reply to a problem that could - in different hands - end up in a shouting match.

    I'm enjoying your words. Keep up the good work.


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