Gay in Trump's 'Merikkka

The 81% of evangelicals who voted for (many of whom still support, justify (sanctify), and defend) Donald J. Trump have ushered in, given platform to, and exasperated this era of hatred, bigotry, racism and socio-religio-politico strife. In my mind, the Religious Right and Trump-supporting evangelicals represent false, apostate Christianity. They confess much the same regarding me and my ilk. We talk past each other, over top one another, using all the rhetorical devices we possess in our arsenal to wage a war begun by the Right. But, of course, the Right thinks that the war was begun by the Left. So I thought I might write about what being gay is like in a Religious-Right-advocated Trump's 'Merikkka.

The day after Trump was inaugurated, during the transition from Obama to Trump, support for American LGBTQ citizens was deleted from the White House website, never to return under his specific name/administration. (Support for LGBTQ persons, as well as climate change resources, are still available for access under ObamaWhiteHouse.gov. But not under Trump's administration.) Trump cannot openly support and defend equality for LGBTQ persons, not when he continually and intentionally appoints one anti-LGBTQ candidate after another in his administration, and Trump's bigoted anti-LGBTQ Religious Right defenders and "spiritual advisors" support an anti-LGBTQ right-wing agenda.


The Religious Right, under the direction of the late Jerry Falwell, have always resisted and attempted to thwart equality for LGBTQ persons under the guise of protecting "traditional family values," and opposing "the legalization of immorality."1 These Religious Right "values" are still propagated by the likes of Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and their supporters and defenders today. Do you remember a time when interracial marriage was deemed illegal? The Religious Right led the march against this "legalization of immorality." We all know that Jerry Falwell created the political Religious Right not on the basis of protecting the unborn, which was a lie he maintained for years, but on grounds for segregation. (link)

Former Religious Right advocate Cal Thomas notes the agenda of the Religious Right regarding LGBTQ persons and what they ought to be denied (emphases added):
We are pro-traditional family. We believe that the only acceptable family form begins with a legal marriage of [one] man and [one] woman. We feel that homosexual marriages and common law marriages should not be accepted as traditional families. We oppose legislation that favors these kinds of "diverse family forms," thereby penalizing the traditional family. We do not oppose civil rights for homosexuals. We do oppose "special rights" for homosexuals who have chosen a perverted life-style rather than a traditional life-style.2
These are the same views that the Religious Right (Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos, Gary Bauer, Michael Brown, James Dobson et al.) continue to attempt to influence toward legislation today under the Republican banner. If anyone cares about the rights and equality of LGBTQ persons, persons of color, ethnic minorities, or women, he or she cannot vote Republican; not until Republicans recognize and renounce that the Religious Right agenda is a form of hatred, and bigotry, that supports not equality but overt inequality. But there are several problems with the above-quoted material.



First, the Religious Right, by strictly defining a "traditional family" as the only acceptable form of a family being within the context of the marriage between one man and one woman, betrays the Old Testament practice and allowance for polygamy. Second, this aberrant statement also demeans and delegitimizes single-parented families. Third, the statement against same-sex marriage is based on their interpretations of biblical passages, and this country is not a theocracy but a democracy. Fourth, same-sex marriages and their families in no sense whatsoever "penalize the traditional family," and the notion is nothing more than baseless and empty rhetoric. Fifth, the Religious Right lobby for "special rights," and then complain when LGBTQ persons demand equal treatment under the law, including the right to marry. Sixth, LGBTQ persons do not "choose a perverted life-style," any more than heterosexual people proactively "choose" to be attracted to and love the opposite sex.


LGBTQ advocates are not "promoting sin" or "legislating immorality." Their hermeneutic suggests that the five biblical clobber passages used by the Right to deem homosexuals as abominable are inaccurate at best and demonizing at worst. Still, evangelicals continue to use this type of rhetoric, as I have witnessed very recently from a Franklin Graham defender who justified Franklin's greed and sanctified Franklin's anti-LGBTQ agenda.

What does being LGBTQ feel like in this Political/Religious Right world? I feel distressed. I feel hated. I feel marginalized. I feel threatened. I feel disgusted (not disgusting). I feel angry. I feel vengeful. I feel a constant need to confront, challenge, and seek to eradicate this toxicity from the minds of the Political and Religious Right. I feel a need to expose the Religious Right not only for its bigotry and hatred but for its apostasy. I think these individuals are modern Pharisees whom Jesus condemned to hell in the strongest terms. (Matt. 23) Oh, don't worry, the Right condemn me and my kind to a Christless and tormentous hell every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Rhetoric aside, though, the similarities found in Matthew 23 are striking by comparison with the Religious Right today.



I also anxiously fear -- fear that the strife and hatred stirred up by Trump, Alt-Right white supremacists, and the Religious Right will negatively affect how people in my own small town will perceive me. Will they begin to denigrate me as a human being? Will they, too, find me repulsive, perverse, abominable? How could they not, given what the Religious Right say about LGBTQ persons? That I claim to be a Christian, a Christ-follower, is of no regard to the Religious Right. The way I view them is the same way they view me: apostate. There is one difference, however, and it is paramount: my views of the corrupt Religious Right will not inspire people to acts of violence against them. The same cannot be stated of their views against me, as we have witnessed time and time again. I can in no sense consider the Religious Right to be legitimately Jesus-oriented, Christ-centered, and thus Christian.

LGBTQ people are not clamoring for "special rights," as the Right continually, falsely insist. We want the basic rights that heterosexuals enjoy: rights like falling in love with another human being, sharing our lives with each other, not by some unrecognized context but within the bounds of a state-recognized and state-sanctioned marriage. Since this is not a theocracy, and this country is not bound by Religious Right interpretations of the Christian holy text, then upon what basis can the government insist that the love between two men or two women is not valid, is not genuine, is not worthy of recognition? If you appeal to some semblance of "natural order" then we are obliged to appeal to homosexuality in nature. Are we not human beings? Do we not deserve the same rights and privileges of heterosexuals?

I fear the answer is "No" in Trump's toxic 'Merikkka, where white supremacy is equivocally sanctioned, and where the Religious Right are allowed legislative influence. In Trump's 'Merikkka, according to both Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, American LGBTQ citizens are undeserving of civil rights clauses. This is the "America" that Trump and his Religious Right bigots intend to "make great again." I will expose, confront, challenge and resist this bigotry until breath leaves my body; and I will openly attempt to persuade others to do the same.

__________

1 Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1999), 36.

2 Ibid., 37-38

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ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.