Dear Ms. Marcus,
Your column in last Sunday’s Washington Post caused me to pause and reflect.
My family’s history is rooted in the lower Midwest: Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. My grandfather and great grandfather owned large tobacco farms along the Ohio River. My birth mother was born across the river in Warsaw, Kentucky. I am a Buckeye, the simple result of being born in Cincinnati.
The rising level of gay hate is a cause for great and grave concern. While Governor Mike Pence’s true colors are out there for the world to see, there is a more nefarious crusade at work. That crusade disturbs me immensely because it could lead to widespread, rampant violence against gays and lesbians.
That crusade is the one now being waged by Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, James Dobson and Pat Robertson; to name just four. (There are more.) The crusade’s herald is that gays are committing “jihad” against Christians. Robertson has mused how gays are going to force straight men into gay sex. One woman pol has declared that gays are recruiting straight men to convert them to homosexuality.
While the better educated and informed among us might discern the absolute absurdity and unreality of such claims, there is a large segment in this nation who are so dumbed down they will believe every word of it. The O’Connor’s in Walkerton IN are a good example of what I am speaking about.
Their hatred is so palpable and its potential for serious violence against gays, I must wonder if that is in fact what Cruz and company want. The hideousness of their words is beyond frightening.
Worse is how these gay haters and hate baiters lean on Holy Scripture to support their pernicious agenda. As an ordained Christian theologian who spent three years in graduate school studying both Christian and Hebrew Bible, I can assure anyone willing to listen those enemies of gay rights are patently wrong. They parse Holy Scripture to find those passages which support their claims to undergird their messages of hate and destruction.
This concern is deeply personal for me. I have been homosexual since the earliest stages of my life. I simply did not understand it, my powerful attraction to other men, until I was in my teens. I ultimately “came out” in 1968 with my first partner; two years after my Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force. “Coming out” in 1968 meant coming to terms with one’s homosexuality and then going out to find other gay men to socialize with. “Gay” as a term did not come into common use until roughly my last year as a Sergeant in our Air Force.
The fear of discovery was a constant in my life; less of a concern to partner. I was building a career in the private business where I continue as a senior management executive. I was putting myself through the University of Maryland while working full time and using the GI Bill benefits to help me reach my goal of a business degree, which I realized in 1974. I continue to be very close to the vest about my sexual orientation, having felt the stinging insults and intolerance it can bring forth. Gays are considered “lesser” people, some suggesting we are not even “children of God”.
Perhaps “by the Grace of God” I pass as straight. I have all my life. I love all the “guy things”: fast cars, hot cars, football (pro and college), ice hockey, rugby, soccer, martial arts. But, I also love opera, symphony, Country & Western, Celtic and Gospel.
The fact is, I am not unusual when compared with other gay men. The majority of us really do not have a desire to declare to the world our sexual orientation. I feel no more the need to announce my homosexuality to someone than I would expect them to announce their heterosexuality to me. The only caveat to that premise is how some “straight” folk react when they suddenly learn or discover one is gay: They feel they have been deceived; left out. “Why didn’t you tell us? We don’t care.” Yeah, well. One never quite knows how that one might turn out.
So, back to our Christian heretics: They are broadcasting consummate evil with the potential for serious backlash against gays and lesbians. While I never was subjected to full on violence for being gay, I know about those who have been (mostly gay men as opposed to lesbians). Some have been killed; some left in endless comas; others injured for life. Why? Simply because we enjoy our sexual interaction in a manner that is different from heterosexuals? And, come to think about it, “straights” indulge in many of the sexual plays that gays and lesbians enjoy. A word to the queasy: If you don’t like what you think gays do in bed, then don’t think about it. If you do think about it, it suggests to many psychotherapists that you have undisclosed fantasies.
The Ted Cruzes of our world are the equivalent of homegrown terrorists, using lies and hyperbole to ramp up a message simply overloaded with evil purpose and deception. As a Christian Priest, I take great offense and exception to those who would put a target on the back of every gay and lesbian. The Ted Cruzes of our world are vile, narcissistic purveyors of the most vulgar of assertions using their nefarious messages of hate to fill their war chests. It is time for gays and lesbians and our advocates across this land to make battle ready. As much as some want to force us back into the closet, we “ain’t” going. If this turns into an all-out cultural war, then so be it.