I can honestly tell you from writing this blog for the past few years that my experiences with fundamentalist Christians have taught me many lessons. I can also honestly tell you that I feel astonished and amazed because I really value the truth, I really value facts and science. I find those things to be the heart of mankind’s beauty. I cannot say with any confidence that I have ever met a right wing christian who seems anything like the Jesus Christ I have read about in my bible. I have met Christians who have been very much like the Christ of the bible, but none of them leaned so far to the right as to shun, dismiss or judge others.
As a writer, I have struggled to reconcile my need and desire to write nonviolently. In the spirit of Gandhi who could use the written word to enlighten and invoke anger so people would change for the better, I have struggled to paint pictures of others that tell the story, but don’t create negative images. To try to understand more than judge has been an important goal. It has also not been an easy goal to achieve. On some days I can do it and on others I fail.
From DL Foster, to Stacy Harp, to the “gays have sex with infants” man himself, Guy Adams, I have yet to meet a right wing Christian who models the man I read about in the bible named Christ. I have to wonder to myself, if Jesus really did exist, then what would he think of the things these folks have said? Would he approve of the moral judgments, the cheap shots at my education or denial of the beauty of science? What would he think of the name calling? What would he think of any of it?
The most recent article about me from the parents of Russell Groff states:
Gay bloggers are like a vicious cycle, the repeat their lies over and over, and do it in a very hurtful way. Mr. Brummer, you are no different in my eyes, you do not seem to care how you hurt people.
Anyone that has spent anytime reading this blog knows I care greatly about people’s feelings and have spent lots of time studying how I can say what I think needs to be said without hurting anyone. I felt disappointed when I read these words as I really would like people to see me authentically, to see me as I truly am but that isn’t likely at all. I often read that I am a militant activist or from the Groff Family blog, Carolyn Groff states, “From what I have gathered on the Internet, Joe is a homosexual activist, and pretty much listens to the lies that are told to him.” It does make me wonder if it is possible for people to put down their weapons or in this case bibles and see each other as humans with human needs.
I have watched myself transform on this blog from a sometimes, snippy and cut throat writer who wanted to be witty and clever to a student of Martin Luther King, Jr’s writing and Gandhi’s philosophies. I saw my writing shift to a new place where I tried my best to respond to each inaccurate thing about gays and lesbians with dignity for those who wrote it, no matter how angry I was. It shifted again as I studied further into nonviolence learning about Einstein wishes for peace and the stories of those who survived Rwanda though nonviolence. Lately, I am studying Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. I wanted to be someone who called anti-gay folks out not only on the misinformation but the enemy images and violence it helps foster but do it with a sense of respect for their humanity. I succeed at that sometimes and at others I have not.
In the time I have written this blog, I have refrained from calling people names and I have deleted comments from those who have called people names. With many gay bloggers, that hasn’t made me popular. I have tried to respond in kind even when I am angry. Yet, nothing in my eyes has changed. It has been 10 years since the death of Matt Shepard and nothing has changed. We do not even have a federal hate crimes law. For as long as these people believe in the talking snake, and the 900 year old sea captain, not much is going to change. They refuse to look at the science regardless what it says about human sexuality. There is loads of evidence now that will tell you people are born gay and that it is not changeable. Forget the whole ex-gay thing, all ex-gays are just changing the words not the sexuality. Ask any ex-gay if they are “tempted” and see what they say….yet they will continue this charade regardless who it hurts, just to be “right” with god. Again, I wonder what he would think if he really existed.
I can’t honestly tell you where this article is going. I am more venting my feelings and thoughts about the most recent attacks on me from the Groff Family. They paint a picture of some militant activist who could care less about others and even my most outspoken adversary could tell you that isn’t true.
As I look for a new job in my new state, I can’t wonder what prospective employers think of me when they Google my name. I never set out to be an “activist.” I am the survivor of 2 gay bashing who needed to reconcile violence in my heart and head. I needed to understand how people can hit, punch and make another bleed just because they are different. I needed to heal the anger I felt at the pain I suffered. I heard Stephen Bennett’s radio show and something clicked for me. I instantly understood why people would want to hurt or kill gays. They are painted as such monsters out to get everyone and everthing in the religious press, it is no wonder people felt a need to defend themselves. I wanted to speak out against what I saw and still see as the root of violence against gays, hate speech.
I will share with you that in my day world, where I am not an armchair activist, I am a trained mediator. I have sat down at the table with many people who really needed to solved their conflict. Many times or most of the time mediation is the last resort, a last ditch effort before taking a chance before the judge in small claims court. It has been my experience that everyone, regardless of facts, believes they are right for the deepest and most personal reasons. The fight over gay rights seems little different to me. We all hold onto the most personal and deepest of reasons, even when the evidence is stack against us in the hope we must might win. The problem with that thinking is that people, real people get hurt in the process. Many of them give their lives and not willingly at the hand of those who are convinced they are right regardless of how much evidence is stacked against them.
I can only hope for a better future. My thoughts to get there, learn Nonviolent Communication. No matter what side of this “cultural war” you are on, you will be given skills to communicate your side witht the least amount of harm. I also ask people stop the name calling. It helps no one. Stop with the words bigot, fundie, faggot, fairy, jesus freak, or whatever other creative “whitty” thing you have to say to get hits on your site. If all you care about it “hits” then you might be in this for the wrong reasons.
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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