I have seen human capability for extreme love and forgiveness. But I have also seen a lot of ignorance and hate. I’d love to think that everyone is kind and beautiful, but that would be naïve.
There are people in their twenties who have never stepped out of their tiny sphere of influence and picked up a book, or talked to a person with differing beliefs from their own. There are people in their eighties who have a grandson who is gay, and fully love and accept them, and raise a rainbow flag in pride. There are people who are gay and must hide it, because they fear they will lose their families or their church community. There are people of every kind, and as a heterosexual white female I have noticed that it is most often those who believe they are justified in their beliefs of exclusivity that are filled with the most hate. As I said before, this is especially vibrant on social media. In the debate which we face now against Pride Fest, I have witnessed that it is the LGBTQ + community that is most forgiving and loving, even to those who shame and reproach them.
I grew up like almost any white, middle-class millennial might have who was raised on a farm in Alberta, Canada. I went to a tiny farm school, attended a tiny Lutheran church, and went about my days thinking I knew absolutely everything because I had two conservative parents who always had a heavy hand in informing my decisions. That’s not to say that my parents were purposefully brainwashing me. That’s simply how things were done. I was told something, and I believed it because it corresponded with all of my preconceived biases (I hate to say it, but as far as I know that’s how a lot of the political systems in the States seem to work). I lived in a bubble, and saw only the very middle of every debate. Then I moved to Southern Alberta (the big wide world at my fingertips) and I went to university. Suddenly I had friends who had different beliefs than I did. (What? Individuals with personalities? How do I cope!). I worked at Starbucks, which happened to be a center for a lot of the gay community, and I got to hear the ‘other side’. I realized that, wait for it, homosexuals are people too! I found a new way of reading that so-called infallible bible, and it didn’t involve hatred or standing against gay marriage (if you’re more interested in how I re-evaluated my Christian belief system, I would reference the podcasts by ‘the Liturgists’, as it had a great influence on my deconstruction and newfound faith).
I believe everyone has their rights, and they have the right to speak them out. That being said, if a church does not feel comfortable marrying two same-sex people, then don’t force them. That’s their beliefs, and if your lifestyle does not coincide with theirs, you probably don’t want to be part of that church anyways.
Some people like to say, “if there’s pride week and women’s marches, why don’t we have a week that celebrates straight, white males?”. Well, you don’t have to look far to see that every country since recorded history has awarded dominance to straight males. With colonialism, straight, white male supremacy became even more pronounced. Even now it is prominent. So no, there is no special week for this people group. Because they already have every advantage that society can offer them (though I hope to see this change over the coming years with equal human rights).
All of this is my opinion, of course. As much as I try to look in and be a part of this conversation, I am still an outsider. I am not a member of the LGBTQ + community. I am simply a supporter of human rights. A Christian humanist, if you will. I stand for equality in all matters, whether that is gender equality, marriage equality, racial equality, etc. Is that such a hard thing for people to do? To let love win? Surprisingly, it is. Now I’m not saying that you should stand up for murderers, or rapists, or any person who degrades another human being. That’s different. And if you don’t know that, then there are a lot more books you should read before turning on this article.
What I can say about this week, in 2017, is that it is Pride Fest. For the occasion, the Pride Fest committee in Lethbridge, Alberta painted two crosswalks: one rainbow crosswalk, and one transgender crosswalk. After only a week of this, and hundreds of Facebook debates involving misquoting the bible and using hateful language, the rainbow crosswalk has been smeared with tar and manure in the early hours of the day.
Do you think after this vandalism that the LGBTQ + community then went and smeared tar on the doors of a church? No. They didn’t. Because they stand for love and acceptance, not vengeance.
Once, Christians used the bible to support heinous crimes such as genocide, slavery, and underage marriages. Some day, I hope, we will see the error in our judgments, just as we are able to look into the past and see the erred ways of our predecessors.
Happy pride week, everyone.