I am Homophobic

OK, now that I've got your attention with the title, let me explain.

I am homophobic in the same way that I used to arachnophobic. I grew up in the midwest and the only spider I remember seeing a lot of was one we called "Daddy Long Legs". Basicallly a grey ball on thin spindly legs. Totally harmless. And I hated them. If I saw one in my house I'd find a long stick to poke it so I didn't have to get close to it.

Then we moved to the southwest. Those of you who live in the southwest, you know there are a lot of spiders here. A lot of poisonous spiders. A lot of big ugly scary spiders. The first few months we lived here, I was freaked out. I didn't know anything about spiders and I was sure that every one I saw was out to kill me.

It wasn't until a big, scary looking furry one got into my house that I learned anything about them. This particular one refused to get squished, to get captured, so anything except crawl around my walls and ceiling laughing at me cowering from it.

So I looked it up. I stopped trying to kill it and started to learn about it. In fact I took the time to learn about all the spiders that live in my area. The one that had terrified me so in my own house was called a jumping spider. In spite of his big hairy look and the bright red spots on his back, he was completely harmless. He didn't even have the capacity to bite.

Later we found a colony of Black Widow spiders living under our house. In spite of their scary reputation and their dangerous poison, Black Widows are in fact very fat, slow moving, and fragile.

I overcame my arachnophobia by educating myself, but getting to know spiders. By becoming friends with the spiders around me.

I am homophobic the same way I used to be arachnophobic. I don't know anything about homosexuals. I fear them because I don't know them. What am I afraid of? Honestly, I don't know.

For years, and years, I was (and still am) part of a church community that taught that homosexuality was a choice, that it was a life style, that  people became homosexual because they were "recruited" or talked into it. And above all, that choice was wrong and that they were going to hell.

So maybe I'm afraid that a homosexual person will turn me gay? No. Not really. I love my wife. We have a healthy sex life. I don't think it's possible that I can be recruited into a gay lifestyle. I mean... ew. Would any man who is attracted to women suddenly choose men? I don't think so.

What about AIDS? Am I afraid of AIDS? Gay people have AIDS, right? Well, no, and yes. There is a larger segment of homosexuals people who are HIV positive than heterosexual people. But that doesn't mean they have AIDS. And even if they do, it's not contagious just for casual contact.

So am I afraid of getting AIDS? No, not really.

So what am I afraid of?

Honestly, I don't know. The bottom line is, I don't really know any homosexual people. Just like when I first moved to the southwest, I was afraid of spiders because I didn't know them. I am homophobic only because I don't really know homosexuals.

Does that mean I am anti-gay? No any more. Why? Because I am learning. I am educating myself. I still don't personally know any gay people, but I gay acquaintances. I have befriended a couple of people on Twitter and Facebook. I wouldn't really call them friends (yet), but we share common interests, such as sci-fi and fantasy.

Where am I going with this post? I'm rambling. What point am I trying to make? Well, I'm just going to come out and say it:

Gay is not a choice. No one can be "recruited" into being gay. No one can truly be cured of being gay. It's not a disorder, no matter what anyone might say.

Gay and lesbian people are just people and they deserve the same rights as anyone else. If they want to get married, let them get married. If they want to share the same problems and frustrations as heterosexual married people, let them!

I think the church is on dangerous ground standing against the gay community. I think many churches are secretly cheering the Westboro Baptist people for doing what they really want to do.

What does the Bible say? Honestly, I have read it, and there are some things I can't wrap my brain around. But to I react with anger and disgust? No. I won't do that. I choose instead to follow the example of Christ: love, peace, and forgiveness. Who am I forgiving? Myself, for previously acting in fear and anger.

I'm ranting. Am I making any point? I'm not sure I had one. I guess I just wanted to take my stand and say that I feel that for the most part the Christian community is getting it wrong. No matter what the Bible says, I don't think we are meant to rant, rave, yell, protest, and subjugate. We are to love, reach, help, provide.

Rant over.