Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Hell of a time

Someone I respect and love a great deal wrote this in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s death yesterday.
“Without wanting to jump on the Thatcher bandwagon... in the 80s her and Tebbit oversaw educational policy which saw me and many others sit quietly in fear while my teachers made my classmates laugh with lies (as I know) about 'queers'. I'm not negating the specific teachers’ responsibility, but Thatcher’s policies practically encouraged it. So personally, if there is a hell, I hope she's there, with other champions of hate.”
'Queers be damned'
Here is another glimpse of the little-known anguish suffered by LGBT people in the recent past. The comment may offend againt the principle of 'De mortuis nil nisi bonum', but it also betokens pain and anger. Sobering thought: while I was breezing through school, enjoying every minute of it (though I did have the pretension to consider myself ‘persecuted’ when someone scrawled an anti-God comment on my desk) – at the same school here was someone experiencing the blunt end of prejudice. And it wasn’t playground taunts; it was in the classroom, from the teachers.

I can’t hope anyone’s in hell (apart from anything else, for me hell isn’t an ‘if’) – but I do thank God (again, for me not an ‘if’) that our society is moving away from such woeful ignorance and prejudice.

'Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement'I hope the LGBT community can avoid the rhetoric of hate. It’s a big ask because there’s a lot of pain, and pain issues in anger, which can harden into hate. (It’s also a big ask from a Christian because the community of Christ has done so badly at avoiding such rhetoric – and that’s without having anything much to be angry about.) As my favourite gay wizard said: "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement."

Only a determined effort from all to get beyond slogans, ignorance and stereotypes, to listen, to learn – only such determination can take us away from a hell of hatred that still threatens to engulf us.

On one occasion, at the aforementioned school, the Jesus Army came in for some unfair criticism at the hands of a sociology teacher. I wasn’t there, but I heard what happened. The same young gay man, who’d previously sat in fear whilst he and other gay people were mocked, took his courage in both hands and spoke out in defence of the Jesus Army. He did it because he knew me – and he knew what was being said was unfair and prejudicial.

I wish I'd known about what he was going through then so that I could have defended him. And I pray God will give me courage to speak out in his defence – and in defence of his community – now and in the future.


Anonymous said...

I was a child schooled under Thatcher although I do not agree with her methods, I do admire her down right strength of conviction. Also may I say I did not get taught to persecute gays at school but rather by family who found it unnatural and incorrect to be gay, as my older sister is gay I get quite a lot of persecution as I have my beleifs about homosexuality and the fear is there in modern society that if you speak out and disagree wth being gay then you are a biggot or Nazi and you can be persecuted and verbally attacked for your opinion. My opinion is to love the person no matter what but I do not think homosexuals are to carry on with the act if they want to be christians as it says in the bible man is not to lie with man, howevere express this and face persecution as you do not line up with the world view just the bible

n0rma1 said...

Thanks for commenting, albeit anonymously. I'm glad you aim to love people no matter what. With respect, however, I think you are mistaken to describe opposition you receive for saying you 'disagree with being gay' as 'persecution'. if persecution is when someone is victimised for being what they are this would seem, in fact, to be your approach to gay people rather than their approach to you. As for your reference to the bible, please be careful you don't use an over-simplistic reading of the scripture to justify the kind of judgementalism that Jesus explicitly condemned. At the heart of the scripture is the gospel and the heart of the gospel is the message of radical inclusion of all.

Tim Randle said...

Well said James! And I'm completely with you on the post too.... Just wish Christians would see beyond the old cliche of 'love the person and not their actions'! Can't we accept that God loves every type of person?
And in that, can't we accept each for who they are....
I'll leave God to make the judgments later! He'll do a much better job than us pretentious humans, in love, grace and with a view on the heart. I think we may be suprised!..

Anonymous said...

Hi I am persecuted by my family due to being hetrosexual and married with kids, being christian causes persecution and a tenacity to stick to what the bible teaches causes the persecution. Being GAY is NOW seen as being normal and to be married and straight as abnormal I pertsonally have no problems with gay people how ever some seem to have a problem with me as do some straight people and christians. Are we not supposed to have a childlike faith.