I admit it. I have a “gay” agenda. It is the result of nights of plotting and scheming: Plan A’s and Plan B’s. I consider strategy and laugh maniacally as I see my designs come to fruition….
What? A bit much?
Fine, no maniacal laughter, but at least there is an agenda – albeit not all that “secret”. My big gay plan is this: I want people to stop and think twice about publicly opposing homosexual interests-specifically gay marriage. Now, before you start screaming the 23rd Psalm and commence to spritzin’ the holy water, let me ‘splain.
I want to normalize homosexuality in a way that people recognize it to be a condition that happens every now and then and become accustomed to having gays around. Homosexuality isn’t some tacky rainbow secret combination that is out to destroy Christendom through gentrification and snappy outfits.
If you want to stand up for your beliefs as the prophet has asked, that is commendable. It truly is. More often than not, the words of our prophet fall on deaf ears. But I make a request: please, check your motives first.
I want to protect children from the harmful influence that homosexuality can have, you say. Okay, but remember that I am gay, too. Your brother, your son, your friend. Ah, but “he is different”. No, I am not. I am just as gay as the next queer. I didn’t ask to be gay just like you didn’t ask to be straight, but know that I am no more ashamed of my sexuality than you are. If gays are harmful influence to your children, then so am I. Do you really feel the need to protect your family against me?
I want to protect traditional marriage, you say. Okay, but know what that truly means. You aren’t protecting it from people who aren’t taking the commitment seriously – no less than you did, anyway. Our feelings for the people we love run just as deeply as yours and we want to create families with them just as much as you did. Our capacity to love is just as mature, significant, and profound as yours. Would you be satisfied with a “domestic partnership” being your only option when it came to building a family?
I want to protect the church, you say. The church could lose its tax-exempt status if it doesn’t comply with a possible mandate to solemnize same-sex marriages. No longer would we be able to write off tithing and fast-offerings as charitable contributions. Um…is your motivation in this actually money? Are you really okay with that?
Whoa, whoa, whoa! What happened to Prop-8 Agnostic? I maintain that position. How can I still say that? Because I simply want people to consider the motivations behind their actions and take an honest look at the issue from the perspective of someone on the other side. If anything, Christ taught that the motivations behind our actions are just as important as the actions themselves. If we are taking a position out of fear, hate, or greed, then maybe we need to take a step back to reflect.
It can be scary to question your own beliefs, because, what if you don’t end up at the same result? But, then again, do you really want to have your beliefs based on anything other than the truth? If you can take a step back and make sure that your beliefs are free from prejudice, misinformation, and even hatred, then you will be able to continue with confidence and demonstrate true compassion. It is more difficult that way, it’s true, but remember that unscrupulous means often leads to hollow and disillusioning ends.
Now, not to leave the other side out: demonizing swings both ways. It’s true that many in the religious right hasn’t always been, well, civil towards the gay community. There have been times where they’ve been downright horrible. But is a motivation behind your actions based on a desire for familial responsibility and equality or on years of hurt because of mistreatment? You may assume that Ma and Pa Redneck are only doing what they are because they were told that by their preacher/bishop, but are you ready to accept that they might have a gay son that they love and accept and after careful consideration still disagree with you on the issue of gay marriage? Are you sure that you aren’t just as close-minded as you claim your opponents to be by assuming all religious people are bigots? Many aren’t. Many can accept the points above, can show genuine compassion, and can still think differently with you. An open-minded person can show genuine love and compassion for someone even while disagreeing with them. Do you truly believe that just because someone is different, they are worthy of acceptance and respect…or does that just apply to people who are different from “them”?
More than anything, this is a call to honesty. If you really have to believe that the other side is hateful/evil/sinful/immoral/bigoted/selfish in order to maintain passion in your cause, then maybe you should take some time to purify your motives and consider the consequences of your words and actions. Look at it from a new perspective, “their” perspective. If people actually saw the other side as, well, people who are like them (which they are, I’m serious) they might actually be able to disagree and still love each other at the end of the day. I trust people to be able to do that. I really do.
I guess this violates what I said two posts ago, but, come on, did you really think that that was going to stick?
I usually reserve my blog fandom for Samantha but you sir truly Rock!
Bwaa-Ha-Ha-Ha [while wringing hands in glee]
Clint, you and I seem to be so much on the same wavelength. For me, if someone wants to vote for Prop 8 because they’re really, truly convinced that it’s utterly wrong, fine, but don’t do it because you believe all the tripe e-mails that are going around trying to scare people into voting No.
Thanks for being a little less Agnostic. ;)
I reiterate that this post is not an endorsement for No On 8. It is a call for people to base their views on solid principles, not fearful rumors and misinformation. This applies to both sides.
You know, I’m torqued about the Church’s involvement in Prop 8, but it’s not because they have a different opinion than I do. Reasonable people may have different ideas about what the law should be. That’s fine. Instead, I am outraged that the Yes on 8 campaign’s tactics have been so dishonorable. It’s fine to have an opinion; it’s not fine to launch a smear campaign of lies.
I also object to the Church’s active involvement in the political process. I agree that its actions are legal, but what is legal can sometimes be unethical or ill advised. The fallout from this effort, in terms of split families, alienated members and bad PR, is just not worth it.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of love. There’s no question in my mind that gays love each other just as much as straight people love each other. Love is love. That’s what it all boils down to for me. Yes, love within the proper frame is what we should aspire to: marriage between a man and a woman, sex only within the bonds of marriage. A non-heterosexual, non-marital expression of sexuality is a sin. I get that and I accept it. But can “love” in itself ever be something bad? If there world is lacking in something, it’s love. The way I see it, the more love, the better. Obviously, it’s not all going to happen in the traditional way that we want to see it happen (i.e. traditional marriage). Does that, then, make love a bad thing when two people love each other but don’t express it within the proper frame? Can true love (not sex, but LOVE) ever be a bad thing?
And by “love,” I don’t just mean love for our fellow man, but the burning, romantic head-over-heels love that two people can have for each other, whether gay or straight. Would it be wrong for 2 men or 2 women to have a passionate, loving, non-sexual relationship? I’ve often wondered about that.
Clint, I am seriously impressed not only by your perceptiveness and maturity but also the humor and fluency with which you express them. If all gay men were like you, your devious secret agenda would have been accomplished decades ago and the world would be a much better place.
Clint, I’ve been a lurker for a long time now, but decided to comment and let you know how much I appreciate your blog. You have changed my outlook forever! I have so much respect for you and your beliefs I can’t even tell you. Thank you so much for letting us read about your thoughts and feelings. You are spreading much good in the world, please keep it up! And I hope you don’t mind if I linked your website from my blog. I’d like more people to read about what you say. Thank you again!
Please forgive this intrusion into your blog. I am not an LDS member, but am a gay man who was raised in the Catholic Church, so I have some idea how difficult it is (and will continue to be) for you to reconcile two such divergent parts of your being. Good luck with your journey. I mean that sincerely.
Alas for me, reconciling the beliefs I was raised with and my own immanent sexuality was not ultimately possible, and after many years of torturing myself and others, and unable to divorce myself from the latter or live with the ever-increasing dissonance (which for me was sadly transsubstantiating into bitterness and a helpless self-loathing hypocrisy), I left my Church and shattered belief system behind. FWIW, I (personally, just speaking for myself alone) am very glad I did. My family also likes me a lot better now that I am not lying to them anymore.
It is obvious you don’t need my advice. OK, maybe just one tidbit. Whenever I felt down, I reminded myself that God doesn’t make trash, so who was I (or anyone else) to treat me like trash. That kept my spirits (and head) high until I made peace with myself.
Meanwhile, it is good to read (from various Mormon blogs I have followed) that the Saints do not hate us sinners, which is a noble thing if you can pull it off, so you should find increasing support within your Church. This is all the better, as you may find the converse is very much not true. I sense that anger directed towards Mormons by non-Mormon gays has risen substantially of late (I too have been guilty of this!), and will probably reach a fever pitch if Prop. 8 should pass, leaving you in the crossfire.
Only you can decide how and when you are ready to intercede or try to explain one side to the other, but (take it from one who’s been there) put your own well-being first, or you will do more harm than good, say things you don’t mean, and find yourself feeling alienated from both sides, if you are not careful and prepared for the reaction. After all, what does it profit a gay man to take on the whole world and lose himself in the process?
I look forward to your posts with great anticipation. I can easily say that your blog has become my very favorite. Thank you so much for putting your thoughts out here on the internet. Thank you for being so fair and careful in what you post. On this issue, we need to hear from more meek and accepting peacemakers like you. I’m glad you wrote another post about Prop 8 because we need your voice of tolerance.
And I think your secret mission is a admirable one, although you walk a fine line. It would be marvelous if there wasn’t a stigma surrounding gays and lesbians, if strangers could come to know and love them without awkwardness and prejudice. They’re not inherently more sinful than we straights are. We’re all sinners. And I think we would live in a better world if everyone concentrated on their own faults, rather than constantly picked at the motes in our neighbors’ eyes.
I am an avid supporter of proposition 8, and I believe I can honestly say it is not out of hate but out of a deep conviction that 1) the success of traditional families is critical for society as a whole, and 2) the redefinition of marriage to include relationships other than a man and a woman will weaken social support for, and consequently the success of, traditional families.
As a friend of mine recently said, if Proposition 8 passes it will be a very sad day for many people. I aknowledge that. I am going forward in the faith that the Lord’s commands are always with a purpose. And those who seem to be harmed by his works are not always guilty–how many babies died in Noah’s flood? With our imperfect understanding, the best we can do is listen to our Prophet and follow as best we can. And hopefully we can do so with compassion rather than fear and hatred.
Thank you for writing this blog. Those of us who have not personally dealt with same-sex attraction often find ourselves floundering as we try to understand the struggles and choices of friends and family. It is good to have an honest perpective from someone who has been able to maintain his faith in the midst of such challenges.
@A.J. – You should see me play “Rock Band”. Friggin’ A. :-)
@Abelard – I was “Dr. Horrible” for the ward’s Halloween party. I thought the maniacal laughter appropriate.
@Kengo B. – Hmm, great minds and all that, I suppose…
@MHH – The “Hear Hear” reminds me of a movie reference…dangit…tip of the tongue… (sigh) lost it.
@TFD – I think that is a question beyond me…
@Alan – If all gay men were like me, we’d probably lose our reputation for having good taste in outerwear.
@Louise – Don’t worry, I always enjoy a good lurk (I have no idea what that was supposed to mean).
@Dan Weston – Your words came at a very opportune time. I thank you.
@Carolyn – Walking fine lines worry me; I’m not known for my physical grace.
@Paula – I really hope this blog aids in understanding. That is the goal.
Hi, I like the blog a lot. I was steered to it by a casual reference on a cousin’s blog.
The LDS church has always played games around sociopolitical issues. The did it with ERA in the 70s in which a letter was read in Sacrament meetings admonishing the members to vote against it. They did it with the Briggs initiative in 1978. Again with gay marriage in Hawaii in the 1990s.
The LDS church worries that legalizing gay marriage will jeopardize their tax exempt status if they refuse to solemnize same-sex unions. The truth is, they should have lost their tax-exempt status decades ago for influencing the political process in violation of IRS code.
I left the Church decades ago and don’t miss it at all. But it’s interesting to note that an increasing number of the Saints are starting to openly question the exclusion of their gay family members from church life. We can only hope that movement intensifies for the people out there who feel a hole in their religious lives
Anyway, keep up the good work.
I’m a LDS-member from Sweden that are aslo gay and I must say that you missed somethings. For starters what does God want for us? He wants us to get come to Him in the celestial kingdom. And by that must we get married in the temple and that can only be between a man and a woman.
We can be happy to live with a partner (or get married with that person) but it won’t be that same happiness as it woul be as we choosed not to. Beacuse when we choose to get involved into those relationsships will it be harder to stay in the Lords way for us to come back to him. Even if we might not would come as far in His plan as we would if we chosed differant paths, will it mostly drag us down.
All of this is what the man say. Listen what the Lord wants through his prophet. And if you want to know something that you are confused about. Write to him or one of the apostels to get the answear to your question.
Clint, the quality of your writing is amazing. As a straight LDS person against Prop 8, I have been trying to verbalize some of the things that you pinpointed exactly. I don’t know how you do it, but you are able to put things in such a logical perspective and in a way that commands attention and respect. A truly great post.
(and I understand that you are not taking a side on Prop 8)
It isn’t clear to me that you aren’t taking sides in the Prop. 8 issue. (I know this issue is supposedly “over,” but I suspect it isn’t, we just haven’t seen it rise to a national level yet, or so that’s my speculation.) My comment, by the way, isn’t meant to provoke. Rather, I just think you clearly stated your perspective, albeit carefully, honestly (as you stated), and kindly. Still, to me it amounts to “your take” and perhaps bias.
I’m just saying. :)
I’m not threatened so much by the divergent points of view on the matter. I certainly am very much against institutionalizing genderless marriage by any form of law or governmental intervention. I view this ongoing debate as further confusion about the true value of marriage, with the initial heavy assault taking place during the 60s when “free love” undermined the value of marriage in society at large. I am a conservative in the truest sense of the word (you might call it post-modern), and a traditionalist of true principles, but…and this is where I have a more difficult time…
I’m also very liberal, in a sense that often evades modern self-defined liberals. My point being, I think one of the largest complaints I hear from gays in the Church is something to the tune of “you don’t understand us.” There’s probably some truth in the matter, and I’m not saying it ain’t true. I’m also not necessarily accusing you of saying this, per se, (I’m just saying :), but I’ve heard the saying enough times now to wonder on its preoccupation. Usually to the tune of ramming arguments at each other. I don’t feel like you are ramming at all.
I can’t speak for the majority of Mormons; I’ll speak for myself. I do understand most of the arguments in favor of genderless marriage, i.e., redefining a traditional institution for modern wayz (couldn’t help myself). I understand most of the asserted logic or emotionalism. The distinction between gay sex and homosexuality is clear to me; for that matter, the distinction between sex and heterosexuality is just as clear. Unfortunately, the language is a little muddled, and we don’t have clear enough terms for different manifestations. When we say “gay,” for example, it could mean sexually active lifestyle, or it could mean someone who feels a certain way but doesn’t want to be actively involved in promiscuous behavior—for most of society that distinction isn’t important.
I’m grateful for my gay friends, and—honestly—I don’t begrudge them any happiness. In all honesty, my take on what that entails is robust in a different measure than some of my gay friends—that’s to be expected. Hell (sorry for the swears), I have friends who are robustly different than me in many areas: politics, religion, culture. I suppose the thrust of what I’m saying here is that it can be a little tiring fighting over the differences, and even more tiring asserting “you don’t understand me,” or “you’re just wrong.” Granted this may all be true at different times and in different places. Certainly, Joseph Smith felt this way, Jesus felt this way, I imagine that you feel this way, I sometimes feel this way.
Not saying that I agree with you. But I’ve enjoyed this blog, if anything, for the tone. It’s a real achievement.
I’m just saying.
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