Aug 01 2008
I recently did an interview with Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist. He asked some great, thoughtful questions. I don’t know how many of his readers will actually be interested in reading my book, but the interview has sparked some interesting and thoughtful discussion.
Here’s his first question and my answer:
Hemant Mehta: How do you deal with other religious figures who consider homosexuality an abomination?
Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge: I try to deal with all of my opponents with love and understanding. I also try to not take their rants against homosexuality personally. It’s not about me. Something about homosexuality sets them off. Something within them is reacting against the idea of homosexuality or a gay Christian. I want to understand what that is, so I try to listen deeply to them. What I mainly hear is fear and pain. They’re afraid of losing their faith and being wrong on some point of faith is scary — it means they may be wrong in other areas. I also hear the pain. Anti-gay Christians do have a deep concern for GLBT people and want to see them come to God. They often resort to repulsive ways of telling us about their concern, but I can still hear that concern and try to respond to them in a loving manner.
In the end, I attempt to look past the hateful words and actions and try to see the humanity in my opponent. If I can model this, perhaps I’ll get the same consideration in return. I treat them as I want them to treat me, whether they return that treatment or not. I don’t want to argue — I want to understand my enemy and in that way, perhaps eliminate one more enemy when we find common ground. We may still disagree about homosexuality, but at least a door has been opened to dialogue.
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