Monday, November 10, 2008

▪ changing one heart at a time

If the courts don’t decide the issue of equality for gay people, there are a small percentage of people in this state that need to be persuaded in order to see something like Prop 8 struck down. Prop 8 passed by a fairly narrow margin. I would be willing to bet that margin represents people who, while not fundamentally anti-gay, were swayed by the misinformation and lies put out by the proponents of Prop 8. Those are the ones that we need to persuade. And it can be done. I am an example.

I wasn’t persuaded by an individual, I was persuaded by what I experienced. For 25 years I was part of a rather conservative Christian denomination; 10 of those years I was a pastor. And while I never advocated withholding the civil rights of gay people, my beliefs about homosexuality were pretty much in keeping with much of the religious right. So what happened? How did my perspective, my views, my beliefs change?

Witnessing firsthand how gay people lived their lives. Sounds pretty simple but that was basically it. I got to know them, became friends with them, watched them go to work, live their lives and go through life just like the rest of us. But, probably the most profound part of the experience was watching a co-worker lose his partner to AIDS. It made me think… what is the difference between his loss and if I lost my wife? Was his grief any less because he was gay? Certainly not. There was no difference. And if there was no difference between his grief and what would be my grief, then was there anything really fundamentally different in our relationships? No not at all.

My point is that we can change hearts one-at-a-time by just living our lives and demonstrating that our lives (both straight and gay) are no different than theirs.

No comments: