Pride month (and the ubiquitous Facebook Pride flag) ended yesterday. Today is my wedding anniversary, a wedding that had to be held in exile, a wedding that was both celebrated by my church community and yet defined the first step out. A wedding for a marriage that is gift beyond imagining, true love, life shared. The confluence of emotions is pretty overwhelming this week.
As I consider what might be a helpful foci for our community this month, I’m struck that for St. Louis peeps there is very practical work to be done. Our beloved Cardinals have stepped into the culture wars suggested that one can be either Christian (which, based on their planned celebration, is anti-LGBTQIA) *or* one can have Pride (embracing LGBTQIA); not both and not together. In an attempt to appease the Cardinal’s have announced separate nights for each, exactly one month apart. Really.
To the most obvious point, neutrality: it doesn’t exist. Neutrality is passivity in the face of conflict with implied loyalty to the victor; it is silent acquiescence with the oppressor. If you’re struggling for breath, neutrality is never your ally.
The more troubling issue, for me, is the bifurcation. Sure, the liberals will come one night and the conservatives another (these labels are just so wrong on so many levels). But where does it leave any of us who are unabashedly queer but still dare to believe Jesus about god? Once more we assured that our only rightful place is outside of church.
I’ve read several folks, many hetero, celebrate the announced Pride night at the Cardinals. Please don’t. While a clear victory for the gay-hating Christians, this “pride” night is not a win for any of us who are queer. This is a bone thrown to keep us quiet and away from the precious Christian folk who will gather on July 30 and hear Lance Baker spew hate.
Make no mistake, the Cardinals version of Christianity leaves all of us who are LGBTQIA remembering why we are not in pews this weekend. Church folk who might be following (are there any hetero STL church peeps reading?), I am hoping that you will respond. The Cardinal’s are defining Christianity as anti-queer. Is this what you believe? And if not, what are you doing to set the record straight? Your hetero silence or (worse) celebration of the bone (Pride night) only confirms our worst fears.
For today, drinking a second cup of coffee on this 7th day of being 55, I’m struck that there are things that I can let go. The Cardinals for one. The church for another; not my faith, but (with a few claw marks) the institution and (with a few more claw marks) even the ritual. But what I won’t relinquish is my right to marry the one whom I love; to share life, passion, and resources with the spouse of my choosing. Profoundly grateful for the gift of my wife, our marriage, and the life we share together, I recognize the rest as dross.
In the midst of the cacophony, I hear the voice of my beloved.
And it is very good.