Reference is made to the headline titled, “‘You can’t have a right to do what is wrong’ -Georgetown Ministers object to gay pride march, equal rights for all” (SN June 2). I saw the related picture of the ministers and was not surprised; I hear the message and shrink from that position. Now I am compelled, not for the first time, to share how I think and where I stand.
Before going further, I disclose knowing Rev. Loris Heywood for many a decade. I consider him more than a friend, all of a brother. Bro. Loris is a man completely faithful to his calling and deeply passionate in his beliefs. He is a sterling role model for many. Having said this much, I depart and say some more. It is not for me to endorse or applaud the orientation or lifestyle of any other; I am not fit, and thus I do not do so. But I do demand of myself, regardless of either discomfort or misgivings, to see them and embrace them as among God’s own prized creations. I also see them as bigger and better, if not greater, than my own skewered judgment is equipped to allow (cf. Mt 7:5). To be sure, authentic scriptural doctrinaires and purists may rightly take me to task for misunderstanding and misapplication of that verse. I may even agree; still I persevere with my position.
I persevere because I believe that love of neighbour as thine own self does not bar one single solitary soul; however flawed, however different from me; and sometimes however anathema to the acceptable. I do not have to like the lifestyle, but there must be no denying of it, no ostracizing of it and those who are part of it. Oh, I know all too well that this is directly contrary to interpretations and teachings of my own church; yet I do not retreat. I also know that for any one verse known and articulated, Bro. Loris and others can present a score more that are powerfully compelling and unambiguously imperishable. I still will walk alone on this one; even though I know that I never do. And maybe, just maybe, so too do those in that parade of sons and daughters of….not a lesser god. If not, then who else? In this era of cellophane sensitivity and single-interest rights, there are neither the lepers nor paralytics nor demoniacs nor divers diseases. But, there are those worth calling, and who just might be, too. If only we give them a chance, a place, and a way. Especially the latter, which has a luminous sheen to it, given its source.
I write all of this, for having seen and been discriminated against, how and why must I now extend the pain and continue and expand the cycle. It can be an endlessly vicious cycle characterized by formidable mental and spiritual fortifications that are skeletal in compassion. Where is the love? I hesitate to use the word intolerance. There is a harsh jarring finality embodied. To those who have experienced marginalization and the barren wilderness of the outsider, it is a short step to “dogs not allowed?” Or, more pointedly, “Irish, Catholics, Jews, Gypsies, and Negroes need not apply.” It should not escape notice that I did not distance canines from people. How far (and against whom) do objections and restrictive covenants of distaste and abhorrence reach? If I do not wish this upon myself, then I have sharp philosophical and psychic difficulty in inflicting this upon others. And so it must be. I venture farther afield now: this country needs some reaching; it could use a whole lot of loving; and it would benefit immensely from just a few droplets of healing.
I close by extending love to Bro. Loris from Lall; love too to lesbians and the little legions sometimes lost, but always lingering on the margins.