I have been finding my way back to a spiritual life through yoga after leaving fundamentalist Christianity more than 20 years ago. I fell in love with a woman who is the love of my life and has been my partner since we left the church. The church we left had harsher language than the man that was interviewed for this story -- some of them spoke openly of cleansing our community by (actually) killing gay people in God's name -- of course qualifying that they wouldn't because they would go to prison for such an act. It was a very scary place to be.
Six years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I went to the hospital on the day of my surgery, my partner and I had arranged for my mother to stay with our 2 young children so that my partner could be with me. When it was time to go into the pre-op room the nurse said of my partner 'who is this?' to which I answered 'Laura'. She said 'what is the relationship?' I said 'she is my partner of 20 years'. The nurse shook her head and said 'no, only immediate family are allowed in here'. I tried to argue but it was pointless. I felt powerless and frightened. That nurse had me cornered in the pre-op room with nobody else around and she began to 'preach the gospel' at me. It was quite terrifying. I still tremble when I think of it. The thing is -- I know the hospital doesn't actually have a policy against gay partners being in the pre-op room, but that nurse felt emboldened by the culture in which we live, to treat me that way.
Two months later the people of the state of Oregon voted to invalidate my marriage. There was all kinds of public discourse from people who 'don't have anything against gay people but just don't believe they should get married'.
So I'm sorry but I can't have a civil conversation with people who believe my life is less than theirs, and my relationship with the person I love is less worthy. It hurts. It is personal. That man can talk all day about civility but his words feel like violence to me. I avoid people who talk like that and hope that my friends will confront the attitudes and stereotypes. Maybe someday I will be healthy enough to do so myself.
I appreciate the show. I appreciate hearing from the variety of people and their spiritual and life experiences. But I was disappointed that Krista didn't challenge this man's assumptions about and prejudice against GLBT people. It felt to me like she was validating those hurtful beliefs.
Can (and should) people dialogue with racists and 'appreciate' our difference of opinion?
I don't think so. I don't think as a society we should welcome the expression of such nonsense. Maybe someday people will see the similarity.
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