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I had a debate yesterday with a preacher that was on my college campus. Anyone who is in college has seen these people. If you haven’t you’re lucky.

Anyways, as I’m walking past, a girl is engaging this woman in an argument on the Biblical stance on homosexuality. Of course, I HAD to jump in. How fun! I could see that she (not the crone, the girl) was tiring in the face of the stream of hatred, so I put myself in its path.

From now on, I shall refer to the woman as the Crone.

The Crone was telling the girl that the Bible proscribed homosexuality because the Greeks were all immoral. I tried to explain to her the difference between pederast-type relationships and relationships between consenting adults, and the Crone responded with:

“Oh, were you there?” Very mature, huh?

Continuing, the Crone immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was gay. Well, of course, she was right, so I confirmed this.

Here’s a little litany of things that are going to happen to ALL of us:

AIDS

Suicide

Rape

We are all child molesters

We are all pedophiles

We cannot have a stable relationship

Jesus hates us all

So, as I’m digesting this stream of filth, the Crone starts to ask me personal questions. What’s your major, how old are you, etc. The Crone asked me about my mother, and I told her that my mother had been married twice and divorced twice, both of them being alcoholics and abusive people, one mentally and the other both mentally and physically. The Crone proceeded to tell me that my mother made bad decisions, and that that made me gay. Then the Crone told me that my mother should have disowned me. Then she told me that God hated my character, and my mother’s.

This was the hardest place to remain civil throughout the whole conversation. I managed to choke out:

“Don’t you DARE cast aspersions upon my mother. No one made me this way except God. This is between you and me, ma’am.”

At this, the crone proceeded to tell me that she would have disowned her sons. I responded with:

“That’s why I love my mother, because she didn’t do that.”

Then the crone began questioning me about my own faith. I told her that I was Catholic, at which point she asked me if my priest was the one who had “seduced me to homosexuality.” She also stated that “your pope isn’t too happy with you.” I politely informed the crone that she could no more speak for the pope than she could God, and to stop doing that.

At this point, we engaged in a long discourse on the nature of Jesus Christ and his purpose. I will not give you a blow-by-blow, only a summary of the pertinent points.

Me: Jesus died upon the cross to wash away my sins. I was bathed in the blood of the Lamb upon Baptism, and thus my sins were washed away. As long as I still hold Jesus in my heart, he will help me. Jesus will never turn his back on someone who asks for his help, and he loves all equally, even those who do not agree with him.

The Crone: Jesus hates gay people. He, and God, have abandoned us. Being gay hardens our hearts, as we live in a life of sin, and Jesus will not listen to us if we ask for forgiveness. We are condemned to eternal damnation, because the Lord is unforgiving and petty. If you have not been born again, Jesus will never help you.

At this point in the debate, I paused. I was becoming upset at this point, but I was able to breathe and continue on. I responded to her telling me that Jesus hated me and that I would harden my heart against him with about ten minutes of passionate oratory. I had no idea that I still believed deeply enough in Jesus or religion in general to feel like that. I was so fervent that she couldn’t argue against me. I won’t recount that, either. I don’t fully remember it.

At this point, I had won the debate. I had not damned nor judged her. I was civil and polite at all times. I had actually argued an Evangelical to silence with their rhetoric, admittedly a tad differently viewed, but still. A religious fanatic, stifled by religion? It was a heady experience, but one that didn’t last.

The Crone, as you may have guessed, is rather old. She was tiring, and she CALLED IN BACKUP. This was when I began to think that I might be in over my head.

A man came over at a signal from her. She began to tag team with him, making me argue my points to two fronts. I began to lose patience at this point, but I knew that if I could defeat one of them, I might have a chance at two. Passerby were looking, and we had our own little circle around us. It would have been a gift had I been able to argue BOTH of them to silence.

The man started by touching me. I was not happy with this. It was a struggle to stifle my first impulse, which was to snap up my arm and knock his off my shoulder, but I managed to just ask civilly:

Me: “Don’t touch me, if you would.”

Man: *backing away* “Well, I’ll try not to be in your space.”

Me: “Patronizing tone not appreciated. You not touching me is. Thank you.”

Then this man commences to try to argue some of the same points the Crone did. The Crone at this point has taken a passive role in the conflict, sitting in her little folding chair and nodding in all the wrong places.

This man believed that I had a problem. The devil had whispered in my ear, and had convinced me to harden my heart against God.

I told him that that was irrational, since I had never communicated with the devil, and that God had made me this way.

He then decided that we would avoid “the Homosexuality issue”, since they were losing.

He tried to make a parable between being gay and marriage. He went on and on about marriage, and adultery, and how we had a sacred contract with God. It’s ok to have homosexual desires, he said, just not to act upon them. He proceeded to give me an example of why we shouldn’t act on those desires, using the Crone.

“Now, say that I had my choice (yeah, the C word. I knew that it was only a matter of time) between this lady here, and a hot, young sixteen year old girl. Who do you think that I’d rather have sex with?”

“That’s illegal, it’s child molestation.”

“Illegality isn’t the issue”

*Takes a look at my face*

“Let’s make the age 18, then. Which would I choose?”

Now, does anyone see the relationship here? Because I certainly didn’t.

Then the Crone became animated again. She told the man about my eventual goal of the US Senate. She turned to me and asked, “Are you going to be open in your campaign? About being gay? You’ll be disgraced like, whatshisname, Larry Craig.”

I interrupted her, right at the part about being open, and screamed “I’m gay”, and pointed to myself, addressing the plaza at large. I looked at her and said:

“Your point? I’m not going to change between now and the Senate.”

Then I went on to point out that Larry Craig is only disgraced because he lied about who he is.

The Crone shook her head, and retook her seat. This, somehow, provided the man with a nice opportunity to segue in to the “fact” that I was a terribly troubled young man, and that most gay people commit suicide, and that only with the help of Jesus could I avoid a terrible life. I laughed outright, and told them that the only reason GLBT people committed suicide is because of ignorant bigots like them.

Anyway, at this point, I recreated the argument that stopped the Crone in her tracks. I told him how I had Jesus in my heart, and I would always have Jesus in my heart, but even if I didn’t, he would love me. I told him that everyone was equal in the eyes of the lord, him and The Crone and I, and everyone else. I told him that Jesus preached love and tolerance, and not hate for his fellow man. I reprimanded them both for speaking for God and Jesus, telling them that they couldn’t speak for God anymore than I can.

This went on and on. It was masterful, if I may be allowed a moment of conceit. Again, I had no idea that I still had faith like that.

After this, which had exhausted the Crone, he wanted to continue the debate. I was done at that point, thanked him and The Crone for listening to me, and went over to the girl who had been there originally. She gave me a hug and told me not to let it bother me.

The thing is, it didn’t bother me personally. The only things that made me truly angry were the Crone’s presumption that she could speak for Jesus, and the personal attack on my mother.

The thing that bothered me, the thing that brings tears to my eyes right now, is the thought that somewhere there is someone who is not as strong willed as me. There is someone who is not as self-confident, not as mature, not as immune to stupidity. That someone might actually listen to these deluded people, and allow themselves to be convinced that they have a problem, and that with these peoples help they can overcome it.

This is the thought that kept me up last night, and that will haunt me probably for the rest of my life.

The devil that they spoke of? The one that whispers lies in our ears?

They are that devil.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Wow. Well spoken, and well written. I’m actually a Protestant Christian, and find that ‘Fundies’ have a tendancy to go a little over the top (http://fstdt.com as evidence). It’s kind of a shame, because the word ‘fundamentalist’ kind of implies getting right back to the basics, which is kinda what Martin Luther did, and in my opinion, a very good thing.

    One way or another, my stance is that God/Jesus loves everyone (ALL sinners) but still hates the sin. Whether homosexual acts are sins or not, that’s up to everyone to decide. Personally, I don’t agree with it, but one of my Christian friends once said that “Whilst [she] would never engage in homosexual relations because [she believes] God says it’s wrong, she’s not going to force that upon others.” Wise words… and forcing your views upon people is certainly not the way Jesus went about his ministry. He tended to use rational argument, and evidence in the form of Miracles instead.

    Hope I’ve said something relevant here, once again, ten points for standing up for what you believe in.

  2. Thank you very much. You were relevant, yes, that was pretty much my message. Jesus led, he didn’t condemn.

  3. 100% pure excellence, beating fundies at their own game, while keeping your cool and not sinking to their level. I wonder, when you told them about Jesus remaining in your heart and loving you regardless, did they play the “Well then you must not be a REAL Christian” card? And if so, how did you trump it?

  4. No, they didn’t, thankfully. I had established that I was, but since I wasn’t their denomination it didn’t count.


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