It’s been awhile since I’ve been attacked in church. I sat there and listened to the preacher spit the word “sodomite” from the pulpit, over and over again, like a spear being hurled directly at me, and I bit my tongue. I’m a good Episcopalian and we don’t cause a scene in church. Looking back, I think I’m a bit grateful for the experience. It’s a reminder of the real world. An ugly reminder.
I live in my little blue bubble. I’ve got a loving, open, and welcoming church in DC. My company, while very conservative in nature, has never been anything but supportive. John and I went to the company holiday parties and everyone was welcoming, or atleast had the decency/civility to keep any ugly comments to themselves. My family met John and loved him. Between Ptown and my Big Gay Cruises, I even vacation in a little blue bubble. I’m not subjected to hate, or bigotry, directly. Not that I’m not aware of it in the world. I am. But I’m lucky enough to be able to wrap a nice big blue blanket around me to insulate me from the hate and bigotry. Most of the time.
On Sunday, I went to church with my Mom. It’s a very conservative Anglican Church aligned to the Anglican Church of Nigeria. They don’t like The Gays. The preacher had an interesting sermon about what the end of times means for Christians. Interesting, but not something I agreed with. But other than the random slight to Islam and the weird digs against Baptists and 7th Day Adventists, it was fine. Just a comment. In the 13 years I’ve been going to my church, I’ve never heard a preacher denigrate or disparage another religion or church. Anyways, I’m not sure what happened, but he sort of went off the rails. I truly believe his ad hominem attack on gays (and women) was not planned at all. But there he was blaming sodomites for the reason why he can’t celebrate in the Episcopal Church. Now, the term sodomites is such a good biblical term and as he said the word, repeatedly, you could hear the hate behind his use of the word. It’s like when people use the word “homosexual” instead of gay because they mean it to be disparaging, degrading, or insulting. In his mind and according to his sermon, priests need to be fighters. And that’s why women and effeminate men (I don’t need to translate that for you, right?) shouldn’t be priests. Priests need to be manly men who will fight to make the church pure and ready for the return of Jesus. Right. Because Jesus was such a fighter. It’s WWJF, right? Who Would Jesus Fight?
I still went up to take communion. Regardless of the hateful speech that preacher used, I was in a house of God and I know that God loves me. After the service, the Rector (head Priest in Charge) came to our pew to apologize. So props to him for doing the right thing. Oh, I totally believe that he agrees with the preacher’s sentiments, but not the language used. He’s a friend of the family and I truly think he was appalled by the language that was used. I thanked him for his apology and told him that I really appreciate it. My mother, apparently zoned out during the sermon and was oblivious to the situation. So that’s a blessing.
Mom does altar guild after the service and I politely declined to help her and said I would meet her in the courtyard. I walked by the preacher who gave the sermon and didn’t look at him, didn’t shake his hand. Just walked on by.
I had too many thoughts in my head to be able to say anything to him. Of course, in his sermon he also mentioned that he didn’t want to debate this issue. He was right. Anything else was wrong. It was against the Bible. So having a discussion wouldn’t have worked anyways. He’s pure of heart of course.
All of this happened the day after Charlottesville. The caustic bubble of Alt-Right, Nazism, hate and bigotry that has been hidden/submerged in our American politics for long finally burst out of the sewer and onto the streets in a disgusting display of intolerance, fear, and hate.
All of this happened the day after a Alt-Right supporter whose twisted thoughts and beliefs led him to drive his car into a group of protestors killing one and injuring 19.
If I had the chance to say something to that preacher, I think I would say something like this:
Yesterday, hundreds of Alt-Right/Nazi supporters marched in Charlottesville chanting “Blood and Soil”, “Jew Will Not Replace Us”, and “Fuck the Faggots.” You used the word Sodomite today in your sermon. But you meant Faggot. And that’s not the love of God you are preaching. You are teaching people to hate the “others”. And one day your teaching will lead to the death of a child of Christ by someone who you’ve taught to hate. What would Jesus say about that?
P.S. A light, fun, non-political, non-religous, blog post soon! I promise!