Thursday, June 18, 2009

What the Red Shirts Really Said

Last night's public testimony from the red-shirted ABT people (Anchorage Baptist Temple, the church led by Jerry Prevo) boils down to this:

I'm ok, you're not

The LGBT community is not okay because God said so, according to the Prevochristians™.  They are extremely agitated at the thought that the Anchorage Assembly might pass an ordinance saying that gays actually are okay in the eyes of the law.

The Prevochristians™ won't say this out loud, but they are afraid this might mean that they are not exclusively okay. According to Prevo, there is only one kind of okay.  People who believe as he does are it.  So people who don't believe as he does can't be okay, can they?

The red shirts claim that their rights will be taken away if sexual orientation is added as a protected class along with other identifiers like race, color, creed, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, and marital status.  The only "right" they would lose, it seems to me, is the right to discriminate against a lesbian or gay or transgender person—which seems just fine to me.  If they ever had that right in the first place it was because they assumed too much.

Pastor Prevo has developed a litany of reasons why gay people are not okay, and red shirt after red shirt stepped up to the microphone last night and read out the reasons.
  1. Being gay is a choice, a lifestyle, a behavior.  (Even if this were true, going to ABT and believing what Prevo says is also a choice.) 
  2. Since gayness can be cured it is okay to ostracize, ridicule, reject and otherwise discriminate against gays who don't seek treatment. (Sorry, being gay is not a physical or mental disease.)
  3. God condemns homosexuality as a sin.  (Whose god?)
  4. Gays have an agenda! (And Jerry Prevo does not?)
  5. Gays try to convert you into being gay too!  (Ahem.  Who is trying to convert who?)
It is immensely sad and quite unsettling to me that in order to grow a church, certain religious leaders opt to create a box in which to keep their congregations.
red cube

It's very hard to see what is outside the box when you are inside it. The box protects you and shields you, but it also blinds you and breaks your connection to the rest of the world. I don't have a problem with people being in a box as long as they know they are in a box, and as long as they accept that being in that box isn't the only right way to live.
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