Dear Mr. Masters:
Thank you for writing in response to my recent column, “The Separation of Gay Church and State.” I have copied your entire email below. Interspersed between each paragraph you will find my responses to your pleas for tolerance and acceptance.
“I was, prior to learning you teach in our system of higher education, proud of calling North Carolina my home. I’m not ashamed that we would employ someone like you as a college professor.”
I want to start by giving you the benefit of a contextual, rather than literal, reading of your missive. Because you have urged me – in the final paragraph of this missive – to move to Africa, I will assume that sentence two of this first paragraph was meant to read “now ashamed” rather than “not ashamed.” It would appear that you just got a little emotional and hit “t” instead of “w”. Everyone makes mistakes. I will now, oops! - I mean, I will not hold you accountable for this one little error. I know context is everything with my postmodern readers.
“I have been a Christian my entire life. I have been Methodist, and I am active in my Methodist Church, even teaching a very challenging Adult Sunday School class. After years of careful study, and learning about some of interpretations and translations of original language, and better understanding the context of the writings, I find NOTHING in scripture that speaks to our modern understanding of homosexuality. Please don’t claim to believe in the Levitical laws, unless you are keeping all of them, including the dietary laws, and those related to the wearing of blended fabrics. It is all or nothing, unless you concede there are interpretative differences between the contextual understanding during the time of the writing of Bible and our understanding today.”
Well, this probably marks the first time I’ve read an email from a homosexual who is familiar with the Old Testament but not the New Testament. Obviously, as my original article states, there are New Testament references to homosexuality as sin. St. Jude is not the only one who condemns it. The Apostle Paul did, too. So it looks like you are in the awkward position of having to throw out the Old and New Testaments in order to justify your lifestyle. Would it not be better to just change your lifestyle?
I am also very perplexed by your assertion that you have been a Christian your entire life. Does that mean you were born Christian? Does that mean there is a Christian gene? If so, would you also concede that there may be an anti-gay gene, which means that I really can’t control myself?
“As a gay person, I will not sit in the back of the bus, and after 50 years of life, I will not stand by and watch as young people are told they should sit in the back of the bus. You know, as do I, that colleges often provide listings and directories to help incoming students find non-campus related businesses, churches, and other services. Do you object to all of those efforts? Of course not, you think that somehow your hate and bigotry are sacrosanct. You are, unfortunately very wrong. Jesus commandment is simple…love God and love one another. You sir, are doing neither, and you expose yourself as a bigot and intellectual lightweight if you haven’t done at least the same amount of theological study as any other lay person.”
First of all, I want you to know that I would never make you sit in the back of a public bus. The reason for that is simple: I’m opposed to public transportation. And that includes public buses. But I’m shocked that you would compare yourself to Rosa Parks given that you make such a racist statement in your final paragraph. But I’ll return to that issue later.
For the record, yes, I am also against the other “listings and directories to help incoming students find non-campus related businesses” that you reference above. For example, I am against The Black Pages – a publication that has been distributed at our African American Center. It encourages blacks to patronize black-owned businesses. The gay church guide I wrote about was part of a larger guide that encouraged gays to patronize gay-owned businesses. What’s next? Should there be a guide encouraging whites to patronize white businesses? Let me add that you are wrong to lump them together. The gay guide included a section of recommended churches. And they were recommended by a state-run office. And that is different than the gay hot dog stand that was recommended in the business section.
Finally, I’m afraid I cannot allow you to quote Jesus’ two Great Commandments from the Gospel of Matthew. When you are losing an argument you appear to rip out portions of the Bible that you find to be problematic. So if you get to negate the words of Paul and Jude then I am going to have to remove the other portions of the New Testament you rely upon. You are seeking equality, aren’t you?
"I believe they have a religious belief system in Africa that is much closer to yours. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable teaching there. You’re not welcome in my home state."
John, when you wrote with your suggestion that I move to Africa did you do so with or without the awareness that my ancestors are from Africa? Generations ago, my ancestors moved from Africa to America. In other words, I am an African American. So I don’t appreciate you telling me to move back to Africa. I think Rosa Parks would be appalled to hear you make such a racist remark – even if you were born with the gay racist gene.
Thanks for leaving your name and phone number, John, but I’m afraid I already have a girlfriend that I met at church. And we both found the church without the help of a government-funded Heterosexual Resource Office.