Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Responsibility of Privilege

Closeted Pastor linked to my post on the big gay wedding. She quoted some of what I had placed in the comment section. If you are a nice person, go and wish her well. If you are a butthead, stay here and hassle me.

This is what I wrote in the comment section and she picked up:

When I met with our local PFLAG group at my previous location, this conversation or a form of it happened at every meeting.

Remember PFLAG is a secular organization. Yet the religious discussion would happen again and again. A high school student, or a 20s or 30s something person would tell a little about his or her story.

Someone would ask, "How are your parents doing with this?"

The individual would reply, "Well, you know, they are Christian."

And everyone would groan. They all knew exactly what that meant, bigotry. Perhaps it meant being kicked out of the house; each story was different on the specific incarnation of bigotry in each household.

I believe that the Christian religion, at least in America, is the leading cause of injustice toward gays. I lay the blame at the feet of Christianity. Not just some Christians, all Christians.

I say this as a Christian minister. It is as much my fault as it is the god hates fags people.

Why? Because the Christian umbrella allows sanctuary to bigotry.

If Christians who think differently do not speak out and act for justice, we are not following Christ.

We are not even being neutral.

I should probably give a disclaimer for what I wrote. I am pretty much out there on my views and activities regarding my gay friends (shorthand for the alphabet soup). It isn't because I am courageous or stupid. (It may be because I am the spawn of Satan. The verdict isn't out yet on that).

I wrote in her comment section the following:

I am straight, married, kids, white, and serve a progressive congregation. My privilege allows (and in my case I feel, compels) me to speak out more than others who do not share this privilege.

What I am saying is a disclaimer for my comment you quoted. I really cannot tell others what to do. I don't even know myself what to do.

The risks for you are far greater than they are for me. For instance, if you were in my denomination and you were outed you could lose your credentials. That is something I am not in danger of losing.

My point was to those who are in a position of privilege to use that privilege for justice, not just sit on it. We all have to follow our own conscience and do what we can within our limits.
Preachers know this scenario. They preach a sermon on loving enemies, forgiving, humility, and looking out for the interests of others more than your own, and the only people who get it are those who have these qualities already. The buttheads don't think it applies to them!

I got my first call because I wasn't a woman. Someone on the committee was adamant that they not hire a woman, so they didn't even seriously consider qualified women candidates. If I was gay and out, I wouldn't have even been able to interview.

Buttheads think that is a good thing. They want to keep women and gays out because they fear the competition. I think that is it. I don't think I thought of it that way before. The keep-gays-from-being-ordained crowd are really afraid of competition. Wimps.

Anyway, when I get on my soapbox and tell folks to take risks in regards to justice for gays, I am not speaking to those who can really lose everything. I am talking to those of us with privilege. I am talking to those of us who might risk losing a tall steeple call if we are too forthcoming with what we know is right. Friends, tall steeples ain't what they are cracked up to be.

We all have our limits. We all have risks and contexts. We all have our own style. No one can tell anyone what to do. But I gotta think that we could as a church and as a nation turn a lot of things around if those of us with privilege developed a conscience to go with it.