Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Braxton's Lear III - The Rainbow Warrior

Here comes another chapter in the endless serial melodrama being played out every Sunday morning in churches across the land. This time the setting is a small church near Atlanta. The protagonist is a lonely crusader against the tyrannical power of that infamous purveyor of sinister potlucks, the United Methodist Church. Her only weapon – the breastplate of righteousness, aka the Rainbow Ribbon.

The writer had been attending the UMC parish for a year before she discovered that all was not well – to her horror, she discovered that The Book of Discipline of this denomination declared that homosexual practice was ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’…in 1972. And it’s been consistently upheld every 4 years since at each General Convention. With characteristic keenness, she sees through all the bunk about the “sacred worth” of GLBT human beings; why, these so-called Christians are actually calling them SINNERS! And unworthy of God’s love! And they expect people to just take that sort of insult lying down; well, not our girl.

When a UMC pastor was tried for homosexual activity, she offered prayers for the lady, but the other parishioners remained annoyingly uninterested. They didn’t tell her to stop, or anything, but they preferred to keep on praying for their sick grandmas and their mother’s breast cancer and their children in the army instead of rallying around this great progressive cause. Not to worry – she and her friend came up with the great idea of wearing rainbow ribbons in church and distributing them to anyone else who wanted one.

Now, Pam and I are hardly radicals, and I would never call either of us activists. We just thought it would be a neat idea, a symbol of support for a pastor and about a subject no one wanted to discuss.

Since they wouldn’t do what WE wanted them to do, they’d have to be forced, and what could be better for that than hijacking a church service with a nice captive audience sitting right there. It was for their own good, after all. It didn’t go down too well, but what can you expect?

It is much easier to listen to the “help the poor” sermons without ever doing anything about it, or the “justice for your neighbor” sermons and drive your Mercedes home to your half-million dollar house.

Yes, I’m talking about YOU, you “wonderful, good-hearted and well-meaning people” I love so deeply and who welcomed and included me so readily.

Do read the whole thing, noting in particular how often “potluck” turns up as a term of abuse.

Thus, I was branded as a “troublemaker.” I think what has come to be known as the “Rainbow Ribbon Incident” was the beginning of the end for me there. If it is a terrible wrong to voice support for a lesbian pastor, then I am guilty of that. And I’m damn proud of it. And I’d do it again.

I relived this experience recently as I discussed it with a friend who was there at the time. His advice?

“Thumb your nose at ‘em, Susan. You care too much, and that’s what compels you to break the silence. It may make others uncomfortable, but hold your head high and keep speaking.”

I will. But I must also brace myself for the inevitable pain and backlash that occurs when you stand up for what is right.




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5 Comments:

Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

WWTS!

What would Trollope say?

And, how is it you keep finding this people?

3:02 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

As Dogberry said, "Gifts that God gives," I suppose. I wish I could make some money out of locating ridiculous blogs, but I guess I'll have to settle for laughter, which isn't so bad.

10:14 pm  
Blogger Ellie M said...

Cue violins:

"I will. But I must also brace myself for the inevitable pain and backlash that occurs when you stand up for what is right."

Because this is all about MEEEEE!!!

10:55 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

There's a strange little tic running through that entire essay that I couldn't at first identify, but now I have. The writer gives the name of the clergywoman put on trial - Karen Damman (acquitted, apparently - I did a quick web search), and refers several times to wanting to show support for "a pastor" who was under attack. But when it comes to her own church, she neither gives a name to the clergyman in charge, nor refers to him in any way other than "the pastor". That seems strange to me. Most people who belong to a church automatically speak of "our pastor", or "our priest", especially when talking about him to non-members. "Well, our priest says..." Even when talking about events at churches I no longer attend, I still speak of "our priest", or give his name - "Fr. Smith always used to say..." It's just second nature, and most people do the same. There's something very detached about "the pastor" which makes me think that the writer's involvement with the church was more apparent than real.

11:33 am  
Blogger Matthew said...

I don't follow what her blog title is supposed to mean... Unless she's saying she's some kind of four-faced man-ish creature. Am I missing the point?

3:30 pm  

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