Comment Pt 1: Dont call me a bigot. I have a right to my opinion!!

A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

These 3 posts arise out of comments/ questions posed by one of our readers. The full comment and other replies can be found on the 6 December post “Sorry Rob Pollnitz and the CSBQ”.

Our reader says…
Personal Observation: There is a small group in the pro-gay lobby who I find rather bigoted and intolerant to my beliefs. Everyone is free to hold to their own beliefs, Yes? As Voltaire said “I don’t agree with what you are saying but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But please, please don’t tell me that my beliefs are bigoted and intolerant just because they differ from yours. In a free society everyone has a right to their opinion about these matters but what I find offensive is that I am told I have no right to my set of beliefs and values. I found it objectionable when a no doubt small element in the pro-gay lobby demand that their opinion should be my opinion or label me homophobic. Friends the name calling cuts both ways.

Reader, if what we were talking about were the football teams we supported or political parties we favoured i would agree with you. However, this is not two equal sides arguing about a theoretical issue.

There is a huge power imbalance here. You speak on this issue from the side of power. You speak from the side of a church that calls the sexuality of LGBT people sinful. You speak from the side of a church that tells them that they do not have the freedom to act on their desires to have a lifelong caring , committed and sexual relationship with the person they love. You speak from the side of a country that has said, until very recently, (as late as the 1980’s in Australia), that acting on their love was a criminal activity punishable by imprisonment. You speak from the side of a government that says they cannot get married, that their rights are different to the rights of all other australians.

Hillary Clinton, just this week, announcing the US intention to uphold the human rights of LGBT people around the world.   She said that human rights are violated whenever people are forced to hide in shadows for fear of harm because of who they are. In our church LGBT pastors teachers and church workers cannot be open about their sexuality without it negatively effecting their career paths. They cannot enter into lifelong loving committed sexual relationships with the ones they love or their jobs would be forfeit. They are  forced into the shadows. You speak therefore from the side of a church that violates their human rights. For LGBT people our church and our government do not uphold the truth voiced by the 1948 UN declaration of human rights which says that they are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Now, all of the above is simple fact. Not speculation. Our church and our country may say that there are good reasons for what they do. They may say that they act with the majority of public opinion. They may say that homosexual activity is sinful or wrong. But the fact that LGBT rights are violated, that these people are discriminated against is not in question. The LGBT people therefore are on the marginalised and the oppressed side of this argument. You speak from the position of power.

When you say “friends, the name calling cuts both ways” it sounds a little like this to me…

It is the late 1850’s in North America. Many are campaigning for the end of slavery. Many, including the church are campaigning for the continuation of the God given biblical social order of slavery. There are loud arguments both ways. One side has power, tradition, history and the word of God on their side. The other side holds to compassion, an innate sense of justice and the belief that all people, even slaves,  are created equal.

One slave on one plantation dares to stand before the Master and demand justice. In his anger and frustration he yells abuse at the slave owner. He calls for freedom and equal rights. He accuses the slave owner of being harsh, that his treatment of his slaves is cruel and inhumane. The master collects his whip and calls his armed field bosses to stand  beside him as he faces the slave to continue the discussion.

Reader, this is not about 2 equal sides name calling across a fence. This is about a marginalised and oppressed group who are beginning to raise their voice against the prejudice and hurt they have endured all of their lives.

“And the godly slave owner laid down his whip and sent his armed guards home and put aside his sense of right and hugged the slave and asked for forgiveness….”