Saturday, September 25, 2010
"You fight yourself the hardest." The sad, familiar saga of Bishop Long...
Eddie Long is the Bishop of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It has 25,000 members, making it one of the largest mega-churches in the country. And it has served as a platform for Bishop Long to preach long and hard against the evils of homosexuality. In one such tirade, he called homosexuality "spiritual abortion," and even started a group in his church, "Out of the Wilderness," as a ministry to help gays live a straight life. On Dec 11, 2004, Long led a march of 25,000 people through Atlanta, calling on the black churches to stand united against same-sex marriage and supporting a national marriage amendment to the Constitution.
Why all this fascination with the evils of homosexuality?
I think we now all know. As of this morning, a fourth man has come forward accusing the Bishop of having sexual relations with him.
It is a pattern we have seen time and time again: the most outspoken homophobic characters in the churches and in politics finally being exposed as secretly having gay sexual liaisons on the side.
Pastor Ted Haggard, leader of the National Assoication of Evangelicals who taught that homosexuality was an abomination; Flordia representative Bob Allen, who supported Florida's ban on gay adoption, and sponsored a bill to penalize lewd conduct (and who himself was arrested soliciting a policeman for oral sex in a park); U.S. Senator Larry Craig; "Dr" George Rekers, darling of the American Family Association and self-proclaimed expert in gender 'disturbances' who went on trips with rent-a-boys; California State Senator and Proposition 8 proponent Roy Ashburn; Glenn Murphy Jr, 2007 Chair of the Young Republican National Federation, who advised the GOP to use gay marriage as a 'wedge issue' but who had a penchant for taking other Young [male] Republicans to bed.
The technical term for this is egodystonic homophobia: a conscious internal struggle that pits deeply held religious or social beliefs against strong sexual and emotional desires (Journal of Abnormal Psychology 105 (3): 440–5.)
Been there, done that. In younger days, I railed against the evils of homosexuality...all the while struggling with my own identity. A man on the internet who was in the middle of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery saw some of my rants, and commented on them privately to friends of his....who then anonymously forwarded them to me.
In essense, he said, "Thom is like a drowning man. He is flailing in all directions trying to keep his head above the water that is destined to overcome him. You fight yourself the hardest..."
Yup. And that's what all these hard-core anti-gay spokesmen are doing. Deep in their psyches, they hope that if they can say it often and loudly enough, they can convince themselves, against their own bodies, that they are not who they are.
Rather than simply criticize their hypocrisy, this is a wake-up call is for all of us:
For the most bitter of homophobes who are repressing their true nature: please, for your own sake, stop and deal with yourself.
For the straight conservative voters and church-goers who listen and parrot the comments of these obsessed individuals without challenging it: start challenging and questioning when you hear it. Why is this person so obsessed with sex?
For closeted gays everywhere: LEAVE THE CLOSET.
Harvey Milk was right on the money when, faced with a referendum in California to prohibit gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools, he called on gay men and women to come out and let their neighbors and coworkers and family members see that they were normal people from all walks of life.
The current ban on marriage equality in 45 states; the federal "Defense of Marriage Act;" and the Military's "Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell" policy all serve to push gay men and women into the closets where they can't be seen, and where they feel second-class and 'bad.' The inevitable results are the scandals like Bishop Eddie Long's, and the heartbreak that follows in their wake.