In the wake of the Orlando shooting, I am reminded of a sermon once if not often given by Dan Seaborn in which he proclaims that homosexuality is wrong, and further expresses the fear that he might very well be put in prison some day for having said so.
Saturday night’s events expose the utter nonsense these words represent as they issue forth from the lips of a white Protestant male in West Michigan. And while Seaborn’s public words invite a specific response, it is this community at large, and those like it, that have allowed anti-gay sentiments to fester, take root and grow ultimately into the kind of deeply entrenched hate witnessed by all of us who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The indoctrination has finally been mistaken for conscience by its recipients.
Over a hundred men were shot on Saturday, with 50 dead; Seaborn and like-minded men of privilege have so far seen no jail time. The roles in this story are clear. For Christians to play the victim in a “culture war” that has us LGBT folks worried for our physical safety is not only preposterous, it is profoundly anti-Christian. Christians may be persecuted elsewhere, but not much in America, and certainly not in Holland.
That the culture increasingly expresses disagreement with some fundamentalist dogmas should not be interpreted as persecution; it should be interpreted as disagreement. The disproportionately hateful treatment and murder of minorities in America makes this difference clear to any objective observer.
Why say so? Because the blood is on the hands of any and all who fail to act — who do not stand up for “the least of these.” There are the parents whose child blurted “faggot” at me on Eighth Street some months ago; no correction was given. There are the churches who have failed to protect me or else actively excluded me because I am gay; no one cared to call afterward. There are the daily unfriendly stares and avoidance of men whose own masculinity is apparently so delicate that a measure of insult is required to ensure its safe preservation; I am sometimes sure to leave in a crowd to guarantee my safety.
These, friends, are the promulgators of hate, or else the bystanders at the trial of the innocent who say nothing. You have seen the fruits. But will you change the tree?
Chase W. Nelson
Originally published in The Holland Sentinel.