From: John Rupkey
Many years ago I started writing letters to Winona editors to help bring a better understanding of gay people. Back then, misunderstanding and anti-gay attitudes were pervasive throughout society. You could see it in schools, churches, families, sports, politics, government, movies, television and businesses.
Now, many years later, all institutions have learned to better understand, respect and accept gay people — except one. Conservative religion hasn’t learned anything. It still teaches gay children that God made a mistake when He created them so that they are able to fall in love only with members of their own sex. The creators of homophobia still actively promote it here in Winona.
Conservative religions teach their followers never to change their moral understanding. What was true in the Dark Ages is still true today. Since they can’t change their moral understanding, conservative religion must distort reality to make it still justify their Dark Ages morality. Here are some of the ways they do this in Winona:
• Nobody is created gay; everyone is created homosexual.
• Some people have homosexual tendencies because of poor parenting or traumatic experiences.
• Homosexuality isn’t a fixed sexual orientation; it’s a lifestyle, which is a choice.
• People with homosexual tendencies can be “cured” with conversion therapy.
• Homosexuals experience lust — only heterosexuals experience love.
• Fear same-sex marriage because it will ruin the institution of marriage.
The fact that conservative religion distorts reality to avoid reconsidering their Dark Ages moral understanding means that, even though this makes them feel absolved of responsibility for the self-hate they inflict on gay kids, they are still significant promoters of hate here in Winona.
I believe Winona’s faith-based homophobia will become widely rejected only when Winona’s people of faith who are promoters of love replace it with a well-publicized theology of love and condemn the hateful rhetoric still being spewed out against Winona’s innocent gay youngsters by some of their fellow religious people.
Those religious people who have no love for those they know are gay cannot love the God they have not seen (1 John 4:20).