Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peace and rest

Before I left for that wonderful trip and with my friend and debate partner's prompting I wrote about Chicago sports figures riding in that city's gay pride parade and how that is a symbol of changing attitudes towards gays. I finished off that post with: "That leaves one major hurdle -- acceptance of LGBTs in conservative churches."

My friend and debate partner responded. I'll intersperse his comments with my reply.

I'd say it leaves a long list of major hurdles: legal, emotional, psychological, financial, medical, religious, family-based, community-based... more, I'm sure. Humans have a lot of vested interests.

Our society will never come to peace about homosexuality if the standard for achieving that is perfection. I'm delighted to see so much improvement in social functionality.

As your friend, I see your mainstream church POV really getting in your way. From Jewish roots, I never spent a minute worrying about whether non-Jews agree with me. We are a small minority, still significantly hated, dependent on society's assertion of our rights. That's my small-minority POV. Every small minority carries some anxiety about its safety and survival. It yearns for sincere, non-patronizing societal acceptance. LGBTs are a small minority not yet accorded clear rights -- that's the biggest issue in my mind, the big risk.

While the Jewish Anti-Defamation League is not going to close up shop due to a lack of things to do, discrimination against Jews is similar to discrimination against Blacks -- as noted below it at least brings on public disgrace. However, discrimination of LGBTs is not yet at that point. We still face, as mentioned above, hurdles in legal, financial, emotional and more issues. And all of our opposition is driven by the conservative churches.

While I don't deal with these people directly on a daily basis, I and my relatives (sister and partner, niece and partner) deal with the consequences of their condemnation in many areas of our lives. Our acceptance by society would be much faster without those conservative shouters.

I do wish you peace over these issues. What would put your heart and mind at rest? When sexual preference is added to the federal list of characteristics for which discrimination is illegal, will that bring you rest? It's not conservative churches alone that delay that overdue step. It's the whole slow, complex process of social change from deeply established habits of thinking and behavior. Faulty church doctrine reflects the backwardness of church members, self-reinforced.

I'm puzzled by your wish for peace on these issues. I'm sure I've already discussed my personal peace and acceptance over my life. However, our opponents are still out there and still doing considerable mischief through laws and public opinion. I must remain active in my small role of changing the rest of society. Yes, it is a slow process of convincing the muddled middle that what conservatives shout is not true. But the engine of our society's animosity towards LGBTs remains the conservative church.

We've all agreed to ban discrimination over race (that is, public expression of racial bigotry wins disgrace), yet racial discrimination undeniably continues and will for a long time. And the race revolution was 50 years ago, not 25. I'm guilty of that myself -- I don't seek out black women as partners because I see creating an intimate relationship with one as a cultural chasm too wide to bridge. Of course, black women vary so extensively that my reasoning is ridiculous, but its how I behave. Younger generations are doing better at that, but we have a long ways to go.

And I plan to go the distance.

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