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You’re tolerant? That’s great. Prove it.

A friend shared the blog post entitled “You love gay people? That’s great. Prove it.

I felt this needed a counter-post.

You see, when I was in college many years ago, I had a girlfriend whose roommate was best friends with “David” and “Jonathan”, a gay couple she had met through the university’s theater program. I was actually interested in being friends with these two men because of our shared interest in all things Shakespeare and theater.

ToleranceHowever, it was never to be.

They quickly realized that I was dedicated to the Christian faith, including living the law of chastity.

(To be clear, the law of chastity, by Biblical definition, prescribes abstinence from sex before marriage and complete fidelity after marriage. It proscribes homosexual behavior of any kind, either before or after a marriage. The Bible also clearly teaches that there is no such thing as homosexual “marriage”. Those behaviors are an abomination to the Lord, even though He loves each and every person, heterosexual or homosexual, who struggles against the temptation to commit those behaviors.)

As soon as it dawned on them what type of Christian I was, “David” began to hurl at me every kind of tale of sexual conquest and activity that both he and Jonathan engaged in regularly. These conversations made me uncomfortable, and, trying not to offend directly, I made attempts using my body language and facial expressions, as well as changing the subject frequently, to indicate that I was not interested in hearing about their private sexual lives.

I mean, let’s think about it from a strictly hetero perspective. If I came to a party at your house, and we’re all having a good time watching some movie or whatnot, and I start telling you the intimate details of my relationship with my wife, wouldn’t you be a little uncomfortable?

Apparently there are some who believe those rules of decorum do not apply to gay people. And, apparently, I have bad luck, because with the exception of three individuals (two co-workers and a cousin), every time I have come in contact socially with one or more homosexuals, and they happen discover my affinity for the Christian faith and set of morals (I don’t push it into their faces, but I don’t hide it, either), they literally cannot help but engage in trying to shock my sensibilities with lurid details of their sex lives.

So, can I help it if I sometimes feel a little justified in responding by pointing out that certain choices and behaviors are not pleasing to God? Should I have to refrain from doing so, when such an obvious courtesy from the other side is not forthcoming?

Look. Even though we don’t agree about God’s purpose for sexuality (or maybe that there even is a God) in the name of your god of tolerance, can we not agree to disagree and just try to have civil conversations in mixed company? You respect my spiritual turf, and I’ll respect your sexual turf. If you really want religion out of your bedroom, then please don’t feel it appropriate to force your sexual proclivities into my cathedral. Sound good?

So, without further ado:

Support my rights. Yes, I have them just as much as you have them. I am a human being worthy of dignity just as you are.

Stick up for me, even when I’m not around. Debates about whether there’s a God and whether He cares about one’s sexual behaviors? I’m totally up for a discussion. If I’m not there, feel free to have that discussion with your friends. That’s totally your right! But, if you start bashing me because of my religion (whether I’m within earshot or not), isn’t your tolerance becoming intolerance? At least say “I don’t agree with my heterosexual friend, but I respect his right to believe as he does.” That’s always a good way to make your point without coming across as a gossip…or a jerk.

Invite me to dinner. I do love the non-sexual topics and lively and witty banter that gay people tend to have with each other. I am a fan of “old” Broadway, theater, literature, cooking, and many other topics that (perhaps stereotypically) are interests attributed in pop culture to gays. I even like to paint my wife’s nails (I’ve always loved fine painting detail work since I began to have an interest in building model aircraft as a kid). Just… please… PLEASE… leave your bedroom habits out of it. At least until I’ve finished eating and have my hat and coat in hand to head home for the evening. I promise to supply the same courtesy, m’kay?

Take an interest in my life and relationship. Yes, I’m a straight male committed to a female spouse. I have five kids. I would love to talk about them with you and tell you of my triumphs and defeats in raising said kids. Last I checked, that was not a hate crime and is still an acceptable topic of polite conversation in mixed company.

Ask me about my experiences as a straight person. On second thought, no. Please don’t. That’s a subject I close off to everyone except my wife. I’m not interested in sharing our bedroom life with anyone else. Besides, I am much more than my sexual behaviors. So are you.

Learn the language I use for myself, and use it. I don’t call myself a “breeder”, so please don’t call me that (even behind my back). It’s insulting and hurtful. Just as the f—– word is offensive to you.

Get involved in causes religious people care about. A while back, a group of atheists calling themselves the “church of the flying spaghetti monster” and a group of Mormons got together on and had a friendly competition to see which group could lend the most money to people in third-world nations. Guess what? We all had a lovely time and got along with each other! Sure, there were a few jerks (there always are in any large, mixed group), but we were able to do more good together than separately. The winners were true tolerance and the people to whom we lent money to better their economic situation.

Instead of asking me to join you in settings where you’re most comfortable, look for opportunities to join me in settings where I’m most comfortable.  I’m happy to join you in any activity that doesn’t involve sexual behavior outside of my committed hetero marriage. That leaves a whole wide world of possibilities of interests and activities in which we share (or don’t share) an interest. And, if I turn you down for any reason, it’s not because I “hate gays”. I’m just not interested. For my own reasons. Please respect that. Likewise, don’t be offended if I invite you to come to church with me. Church is important to me just as your activities and hobbies and interests are important to you. Don’t feel obligated or put-upon. At least just consider the invitation as being bona fide and extended with the hand of friendship. If you don’t want to attend, no big deal. I’ll still be your friend.

Be the gay person in my life who doesn’t hurl sexual escapade descriptions and anti-heterosexual rants at me to get a reaction.  Really. Please. It’s not necessary and only damages your credibility on tolerance. It makes it seem to me (and other Christians) that there really is a gay agenda of payback and retaliation for perceived and real grievances. The world doesn’t need payback and retaliation. It needs love and forgiveness.

We can agree on that, right?

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