Are you anti-gay? No, I didn’t think so! God, of course you’re not. Glad we got that out of the way.
I used to be anti-gay. I grew up Catholic, back in the 70s, back when nobody thought the gays were OK, not even most of the accused. Can you even imagine believing your sexual desires were a sign that you are evil? Like you can exert mind control over your junk, right?
Some people were out back then, or actually not really out but just being themselves. Liberace for example, remember him? We take it for granted now, wow, so obviously gay, of course he was gay, Elton-John-Gay. And there’s another example – Elton John – a man who hid his gayness in plain sight, telling Rolling Stone in 1988 that it was common knowledge, but nobody in the press ever asked him directly before. Why did no one ever ask? Because we loved Elton John and being gay was a heinous crime back then. You could get beaten to death for it. Oh wait, you still can, the FBI, as reported by the New York Times last summer show that LGBTQ people are the people most likely to be victims of hate crimes in the USA, surpassing all other groups- Jews, African Americans and even belief-based groups like Muslims. But I digress- nobody wanted to know if Elton John really was gay because we loved him. I’m sure that’s how everyone turned a blind eye to Liberace, too, and good lord, nobody ever wanted to know someone like Gregory Peck was gay. If we knew the truth about people like them, if we could love them for who they really were, big ol’ homos, then we would have to also love the Gays of Our Lives for who they really were, too. And that might creep over into suspicion that we too were gay, and that’s SO GROSS! Oh my God!
I hadn’t given gay rights much thought lately, since people who are black have deservedly taken the top line of the U.S.’s Begging To Be Recognized as Human list. Social media shoved my nose in it again via a Washington Post opinion piece a few weeks ago and I’ve been turning it over in my mind ever since. I got a B in LGBTQ, BTW. So these things hit home for me. Bona Fide Gay White Man Brandon Ambrosino decried BuzzFeed exposure of two HGTV celebrities as members of a proudly, wildly anti-gay church. This offended Mr. Ambrosino. Everything’s just fine in Gayland, the Professional Gay Man wrote, patting the clammy hands of Christians who’d gotten the vapors at BuzzFeed’s temerity. Subtle are the ways of the apologist, yea, they sootheth the nerves of those who believeth them to be abominations. Ambrosino is tough enough to take the disdain; he seems to understand it completely.
It’s a smear, Ambrosino says, but how is publicizing what the Gaineses have already proudly made public a smear? If there is nothing wrong with thinking homosexuality is a sin against God then stand up and be counted! The rest of us have noticed that when we say there’s something wrong with homosexuals, their civil rights go away. Saying there’s something wrong with homosexuals gives moral sanctuary to bigots. That is wrong. The End.
The good news is now homophobes can find out how fun it is to be judged by something they can’t control! No fair! That’s what you do to trash like gays, not Christians, come on! Oh wait, bad analogy. You actually can control what church you step into every Sunday, you can question why God in all His Glory wouldn’t improve the product run, since He averages 10 to 20% abomination output on his Homo sapiens line. Maybe it’s not God who’s screwing up. He’s not the one applying the labels to His creations.. But back to the smear. Nowhere in the BuzzFeed article does reporter Kate Aurthur suggest boycotting the show or the Gaines or HGTV. Aurthur simply reports the facts, which I will sum up for you here: HGTV thinks The Gays are OK. The Gaineses do not comment. The Gaineses’ pastor Jimmy Seibert did comment. He doubled down and gave an interview with the Family Research Council just for that reason. You’ll notice he is publicly calling himself the Gaineses’ pastor. The video of their appearance on his show is still up. I’ll add that the Gaineses still do not comment. I’d be wearing chaps and riding the glitter cannon at the next available gay pride parade to prove my case if anyone ever accused me of not liking the gays. But that’s me. I got a B.
Churches, Ambrosino states, and I agree, have the right to believe whatever they wish. And we must defend that right. I’m on board with that; I have the right to believe the moon is made of green cheese, too. The difference is that one belief is based on science, no, wait, no, that’s not it. One is a belief singles out an entire type of human and calls them vile and the other describes the composition of an object. One belief provides moral cover for discrimination, from quietly refusing to consider suspected gays for employment to murdering 49 people in a nightclub, the other claims fermented bovine lactation regulates the tides. Let’s not conflate the right to believe whatever you want with the idea that having a belief consecrates. Your right to believe your belief doesn’t make your belief morally right. That’s lazy, dangerous thinking.
I’m puzzled too that Ambrosino repeatedly calls BuzzFeed’s expose a non-story. Would he say it wasn’t newsworthy if BuzzFeed revealed that Tom Hanks belongs to a white supremacist church? How about when Ellen Degeneres came out, after being hounded by a witch-hunting, no, sorry, wrong bigots, a gay-hunting press? That was probably before Brandon Ambrosino’s time. As I recall, her admission was extremely newsworthy, all over the media. It was brave, too; one woman standing up by herself to say she isn’t afraid of people like Jimmy Seibert and his congregation. Maybe the Gaineses disagree with their pastor on this issue. They may want to consider following Ellen’s example. We’re all ears over here.
At the beginning of his article, before he gets busy apologizing for being alive, Ambrosino waxes poetic about his upcoming nuptial, writing, presumably with a straight face, “I also believe that our marriage will offer a powerful testimony to skeptics that queer love can be God-honoring, and even sacramental.” Isn’t that cute? Even sacramental! Maybe I’ll set up a GoFundMe account to send the happy couple on a whirlwind tour. They could make their case to the Pope, that ol’ softie, even he thinks we don’t have a right to judge. The happy couple could then move on to rougher terrain in Nigeria and, if they make it out alive, end their trip with a nice chatty lunch with Putin in Chechnia. I’m sure he’d love to sit down and hear you out on your God-honoring, sacramental queer love, Brandon. Just keep assuring him he has the right to despise you. He’ll come around eventually.