Enough already. Another teenager killed herself last week because of her sexuality. Her memorial service will be held Wednesday in San Diego with a memorial service being held at Howard University where she had been a student. How many more will there be?
There have been so many well written, well articulated commentaries the past couple of weeks. I hesitated to write one more. And yet, the bullying, the comments, the sneers have got to stop. Each generation struggles with this issue. For each generation, it may be a different issue that surrounds the bullying. However, in each generation, voices for justice, for equality and for what is good and right must be raised against the voices of hatred, bigotry and intolerance.
I acknowledge that the "church" doesn't hold the same opinion in terms of sexuality. Some denominations openly accept gay and lesbian persons. Some denominations strongly condemn gays and lesbians. Some, such as my own United Methodist Church, seem somewhat schizophrenic in thier views: i.e. "all persons are of sacred worth" which is combined with "self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church."
Even acknowledging different understandings and practices leaves no room for bigotry, name calling, bullying or intolerance. Since not all Christians agree, and all persons are not Christians, we must find a way to protect the vulnerable from attacks by those who are stronger, who gang up on others and who try and force their own theology on others.
I cringe every time I hear some one say, "That's so GAY". While others laugh, I wonder who is joining in so as not to be "outed" by their own discomfort. Crude comments and jokes about other human beings because of their sexuality must not be tolerated anymore than comments and jokes about the color of one's skin.
In my own Christian understanding, I think Jesus was pretty clear about what we say and do. "I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable...and if you say 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire." (Matthew 5: 22)
Of course, Jesus said many other things as well, but it is clear to me, that Jesus believed and preached that our words and actions matter. And I believe they do too. Faithful people of all kinds are challenged to live out faith in a way that makes the world a better place. Not just for those who are "like us", whoever we are, but for all people.
I have said it before and I say it again, words matter. They can encourage life or death, hope or despair, love or hate. I choose again this day, words of life, of hope, of love. I stand against hate, intolerance and bigotry. May I be
Graced to Serve