Gay Pride – Church Shame

June 17, 2012


Drag Queens, ostentatious, over the top displays of sexuality and militant protest actions are an undeniable part of early gay history in the United States. Those that took part in the Stonewall riots in New York as well as members of the progressive Mattachine Society are recognized by the gay community today for their brave actions in standing up for equal rights for gays and lesbians. The American government was not, and certainly today is not, quickly recognizing the equality of its gay and lesbian citizens. Rights were fought for by our gay forefathers and today gay people are joined in this struggle by straight allies. While I am not a big fan of gay pride parades which take place all over the world, I understand their place and the importance of displaying the variety and diversity of gay people everywhere.  From Dykes on Bikes to Log Cabin Gay Republicans, there is a place for everyone. 

In many churches of this country, there is no place for gays and lesbians. One Protestant pastor wants gay men and lesbians to be walled off from the rest of society in high fenced containment areas complete with barbed wire.  Another pastor counseled the fathers in his congregation to beat their sons if they “seemed gay”. A North Carolina congregation joyously applauded a very young child for signing a song that included the words “ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven.” A Baptist preacher called upon the US government to “kill gay people.” A leader in the Christian conservative movement recently compared gay people to cannibals, who eat the faces of homeless people. Truly, I could not make this stuff up and so the links to the stories are included at the end of this reflection. While the media is certainly focusing more on these types of sensational stories in light of the current gay marriage debate in this country, is there any doubt that the level of hyperbole has reached a new level? All of this at a time when an increased in the number of murders, triggered by anti-gay bias has been reported.  (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs) Is there a correlation between anti-gay violence and anti-gay messages from the pulpits of Christian congregations? 

The Orthodox Church also has its zealots in this area. In Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia, Gay Pride celebrations have had tremendous difficulty recently. The organizers of pride celebrations have met with heavy opposition from government forces as well as the Russian Orthodox Church. The pride celebration in Kiev, Ukraine was cancelled after violent actions from the “far right”.  In Moscow gay pride participants were arrested for simply unfurling a gay rainbow flag while others were brutally knocked to the ground and beaten for holding up gay pride posters.  On several of the video reports one can see Orthodox priests speaking to the assembled, not calling for calm, but condoning the actions of those committing the violence.  In another video one can find members of a Cossack group, holding crosses and icons, marching with church banners while sprinkling the gay pride participants with holy water.  Orthodox priests were seen throwing punches at gay rights activists in Tbilisi, Georgia. Instead of urging respect for human life and beginning a dialogue with the gay sons and daughters of the Church, the “official” Church remains silent. By its silence, the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and other predominant Orthodox countries is complicit in these illegal acts. 

Outing can be a dangerous practice that involves publically proclaiming that an individual, who has kept his or her sexual orientation a secret, is gay or lesbian.  It has been used particularly on politicians who while voting against legislation that would protect or grant equal rights to members of the LGBT community, are gay themselves and lead double lives.  The hypocrisy of their actions is brought to the attention of others, especially the voting public.  Perhaps it is time to practice this in the Orthodox Church.  If you spend any significant amount of time among bishops and clergy of the Church you soon discover their personal faults and frailties. While we all “miss the mark” and are guilty of sin, detestable are those leaders of the church who with their voices speak out against the very actions that they themselves indulge in. There are those bishops and priests who condemn gay pride celebrations and yet carry on secretive gay relationships. What hypocrisy! I am not sure if Jesus would march in a gay pride parade, but I am fairly certain what He would say about those who condone and encourage the violence committed in His name, especially about those promoting the violence are gay themselves. If those Patriarchs, Archbishops, Metropolitans, Bishops and Priests continue to speak out and act against gay and lesbians, it might be time to out them.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lee Bailey

    “And, to say so once for all, we decree that the faith shall stand firm and remain unsullied until the end of the world as well as the writings divinely handed down and the teachings of all those who have beautified and adorned the Church of God and were lights in the world, having embraced the word of life. And we reject and anathematize those whom they rejected and anathematized, as being enemies of the truth, and as insane ragers against God, and as lifters up of iniquity. But if any one at all shall not observe and embrace the aforesaid pious decrees, and teach and preach in accordance therewith, but shall attempt to set himself in opposition thereto, let him be anathema, according to the decree already promulgated by the approved holy and blessed Fathers, and let him be cast out and stricken off as an alien from the number of Christians. For our decrees add nothing to the things previously defined, nor do they take anything away, nor have we any such power.”

    Thats the end of Cannon 1 from the council of Trullo – we have no power to change the faith – morals are not relative and changing but in full effect for eternity – God absolutely loves the gays like he loves the blind and he sympathizes sincerely with their condition – however the light of Christ DOES INDEED come to give us sight!

    Here is the formal statement from Orthodoxy today – notice we as a church can only quote what we have held forever –

    What the church has held is none other than absolute love for homosexuals and all with sinful tendencies – we love them with a practical love – the church is there to show me, a very lustful man, that we are not primarily sexual beings, but primarily relational beings and sexuality is merely one facet of that relational essence – we steward our sexuality, money, prayer life, and everything in accordance with the way of true life – the way of a walk with Christ – this walk is in line with the didache – one of the earliest catachesims (while it does not mention homosexuality, it talks about the fullness of a walk with Christ) – to be Christian is much more than having right stances but is showing full selfless love and submission to God as an offering of our life to Him, no matter our tendencies in our flesh
    (didache – )

    I love you and hope you find joy in “laying aside the cares of this world that we may recieve the king of all” – this may hurt now, but our suffering bonds us with Christ – He has not come to eliminate suffering and make things easy or pleasurable but He comes to change the outcome of suffering – as we suffer to fight our sinful tendencies, we bond with CHRIST HIMSELF – He loves you and me – contact me any time

    With love and hope in God for us all.

    Lee Bailey

    PS I am so sorry that there is so much hypocrisy in the Church (as there always has been) – people not showing love to call our brothers to the fullness of Christ but instead showing hate – I apologize that I too am apart of this hypocrisy at times – live a life of repentance and pray for me that I may always be founded in love – Love for God and all He calls us to and love for all our fellow human beings who struggle beside us

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.