An Open Letter To The Anti-Gay Minister Who Thanked LGBTs For Making Him More Anti-Gay

Dear Kevin Shrum,

I made my way through your boring-ass post-SCOTUS letter to the LGBT community, thanking us for making you more anti-gay. It’s boring, by the way, because you have literally nothing to say to us that we haven’t heard like five million times: every time we congregate publicly, most of the times that we leave our homes, and sometimes, most hurtfully, from our families, many of whom have abandoned us because they so vehemently share your beliefs.

But I don’t want to correct you on the fact that it’s boring. I think the only way you could be not-boring in telling us that scripture compels you to harass us is if you got graphic, creepy, and offensive. So thanks to you, I guess, for not publicly describing the myriad ways in which you’d like to see us wiped from the face of the planet and suffering in the pits of hell, since that, too, is something we hear about an awful lot.

No, I want to correct your factual inaccuracies.

First of all, you say that “Most of the time Christians can function in civil society without violating their conscience, a law codified in the First Amendment.” Let’s review the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Constitution of the United States of America does not actually codify a right for Christians to never, ever have to “violate” or, maybe, reflect upon their consciences. It specifically says that it will respect no religion. You may practice your Christianity, but your Christianity is not codified in the Constitution. If the way you practice your Christianity violates other statutes of American law, you may run into some legal hurdles, regardless of your assertion that “Christians do not abide by the laws of the land alone; we abide by a higher law revealed in Scripture.” Tread lightly, friend.

Second, you say the following: “We believe Scripture teaches homosexuality is wrong, unnatural, and sinful – being gay is not the new black, skin color cannot be changed, but being gay is a preferred choice, sexual desire gone awry.” Bully for you! But I so, so wish that you had placed “We believe” before “being gay,” because otherwise it looks an awful lot like you’re stating your opinion as if it’s a fact. Your opinion is that being gay is a choice. And your opinion is a bad opinion; it’s ill-informed, and stating it doesn’t make you right. And not that I think you give a hot damn about science, but research is showing that being gay really isn’t a choice.

Third, and most importantly, you say: “You have been unafraid to ‘come out.’”

Oh, man. Where to start.

Between 1995 and 2008, there were 15,351 hate crimes committed against the LGBT community that the FBI knows of. According to the HRC’s data analysis, a full 30 percent of hate crimes committed against gays happen in the home, and another 24 percent happen on the street, making it dangerous for us to exist literally anywhere. Over half of gays and lesbians worry on a regular basis about being the victim of a hate crime, as compared to 6-7 percent of the rest of the population. When gays and lesbians are the victims of violence, one study showed that it was more likely for those gays and lesbians to be blamed for the violence than their predator. On top of that, poor training makes it so that a lot of officers of law mishandle hate crime reporting, which in turn makes many gays and lesbians hesitant to report hate crimes. An estimated 28 percent of hate crimes against lesbians and gays go unreported.

We’ve been unafraid to come out? Fuck you. We’ve been terrified. We have been beaten, raped, murdered, harassed, stalked. Mostly by assholes like you, who believe that being gay is a perversion and unnatural and a choice you all can strong-arm us into making differently, not uncommonly via physical force.

And you go on to say that the LGBT community has “poked the caged lion.” I’m not going to lie, it’s an apt comparison, equating anti-gay Christians and predators. But if you regret your “loveless Christianity,” maybe you could start making amends by extending some empathy toward other human beings instead of making a veiled threat.

Shrum: We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it. No amount of bitching on your part is going to change who we are or who our allies are – including many of your fellow Christians.

You close on a poison-covered olive branch:

“Let us be neighborly. I know you’ll try to persuade me to embrace your position. Trust me, I will make every effort to persuade you that the gospel calls all sinners to repentance and that in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the death of death and sin (sexual and otherwise) has been announced to every repentant sinner.”

Consider this my official refusal of your olive branch. You don’t know me, you don’t know my community (under the assumption that being gay is a choice, you don’t even believe my community exists), and so you couldn’t possibly have our best interests at heart. Why on Earth would we cooperate with someone who wants to see us gone?

Thanks and please fuck off into the sea,

Rebecca Vipond Brink

[h/t The Advocate]

[The Tennessean]

[Houston Press]

[The Independent]

[SPLC]

[HRC]

[Images via The Tennessean/Shutterstock]
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