EDITOR: A friend drew my attention to an article today: an opinion piece/letter to the editor that appeared in each of SVG’s major print newspapers, under a couple different headlines.
The crux of the article’s “argument” – which cited as “evidence” a series of cherry-picked biblical references subjectively interpreted by the article’s writer as clear admonitions against homosexuality – was that God tells good Christians that homosexuality is an abomination, and unnatural, therefore Vincentians, as Christian people, should reject homosexuality, thus rejecting homosexual people. The writer of the article would doubtlessly say that his argument is against the “lifestyle” rather than the person. This is both disingenuous and an example of inept semantic gymnastics.
After I read the article, my friend posed a question: “How would you counter this?” The plain fact is that I wouldn’t even try. There is no countering a fervent, fundamentalist religious argument, because that would imply that said fervent, fundamentalist argument is rational. Such arguments are never rational. The Bible, a text rife with contradictions, cobbled together by committee several times over the past 3000 years to reflect societies as old as anywhere from 1200 BCE to 1600 CE, specific to one religion (well… the Old Testament is present in two, but I digress), is not one of the pillars of a cogent argument.
Using the idea that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a Christian country as an argument against something with which you have some weirdly obsessive issue is similarly lacking in rationality, while also being bigoted, narrow, and exclusionary. Not every Vincentian is a Christian. In claiming that “oh, but the majority are”, you immediately relegate non-Christian Vincentians to a lower status than Christians. Is this what Christians believe: that those of us who don’t choose to be Christians are less worthy of human dignity and should be denied the rights enjoyed by others?
So no, I will not attempt to counter the myriad biblical “arguments” set out in the article. As a queer Vincentian, existing in this space, I’ve had to counter such arguments too many times in my life, and I’m both tired of it and frustrated that people still weaponize religious text to justify their bigotry. Queer people, wherever we fall under the vast, inclusive umbrella of queerness, have always been and will always be part of society. For several reasons, we have often found ourselves in the unenviable position of having to proactively take our place as equal members of society, because it isn’t usually offered. I think it’s important that people understand that we are not trying to claim a space by pushing anyone else out; we are not attempting to supplant other social groups (some of which we belong to while also being queer – including religious groups). Also, there is no “recruitment”; that is a lie. There is no “agenda”; there is a need – basic to all human beings – to belong.
While I may not recognize the Bible as a legitimate source of evidence for argument or debate, I do understand that it is a source of guidance, solace, and often hope for many Christians. This article is not intended as an attack on Christians. Instead, I hope it serves as a reminder that other people have a right to their identity as well. Keep your Bible. Hold fast to your Christianity. Neither I nor any queer person that I know would ever deny you these things. But when you mobilize the Bible to prevent other people from living their life – which has NO bearing on your own life – then I think you’re the one with an agenda; you’re the one who’s causing others to feel outcast and judged.