I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone.
I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance
that emanates from so many right-wing Christians
about how the Bible condemns homosexuality,
as if that point of view still has any credibility.
I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me
how homosexuality is "an abomination to God,"
about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle,"
or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling"
homosexual persons can be "cured."
Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy.
I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those
who advocate "reparative therapy,"
as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired.
I will no longer talk to those who believe
that the unity of the church can or should be achieved
by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of,
gay and lesbian people.
I will no longer take the time to refute
the unlearned and undocumented claims of certain world religious leaders
who call homosexuality "deviant."
I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality
that certain Christian leaders continue to employ,
which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that
"we love the sinner but hate the sin."
That statement is nothing more than a self-serving lie
designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons
and fear homosexuality itself,
but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ
they claim to profess,
so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.
I will no longer temper my understanding of truth
in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect
for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles
where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed
its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons
with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric."
The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me.
I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer.
The world has moved on,
leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust
to new knowledge or a new consciousness
lost in a sea of their own irrelevance.
They no longer talk to anyone but themselves.
I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness
by pretending that there is some middle ground
between prejudice and oppression.
Justice postponed is justice denied.
That can be a resting place no longer for anyone.
An old civil rights song proclaimed that
the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding
was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!"
Time waits for no one.
It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides
to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people.
There is no way that justice for homosexual people
can be compromised any longer.
I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected
if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able
to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak
with embarrassing ineptitude.
I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side,
nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it.
It is time to move on.
The battle is over.
The victory has been won.
There is no reasonable doubt
as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be.
Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings,
who have a legitimate claim on every right
that both church and society have to offer any of us.
Homosexual marriages will become legal,
recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church.
Can any of us imagine
having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue,
whether segregation should be dismantled,
whether voting privileges should be offered to women?
I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body
in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts
of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church.
No one should ever again be forced
to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation
or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.
The battle in both our culture and our church
to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished.
A new consciousness has arisen.
A decision has quite clearly been made.
Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue
in either church or state.
Therefore, I will from this moment on
refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice
by engaging it.
I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer.
From this moment on,
I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia.
I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes
or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.
Things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me.
I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either.
I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy
by casting demons out of the epileptic person;
I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions
that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection.
I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation
in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve
or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day.
Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize,
but do public penance
for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions
and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.
Life moves on.
As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago:
"New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth."
I am ready now to claim the victory.
I will from now on assume it and live into it.
I am unwilling to argue about it
or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer.
The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.