Don’t Become Tony

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I understand that, to many people (including me), Tony Perkins has not acted very Christlike toward the LGBT community. I think he’s an ignorant fear-monger who spends way too much time on one particular issue while avoiding other issues that Jesus would’ve found important. I think he uses the banner of Christianity for hateful, bigoted purposes. So I understand that it may be very, very easy to laugh at this guy who has frankly been a jerk to the LGBT community. I see the irony in a guy who has claimed that God causes natural disasters because of gays having his home destroyed by a natural disaster. I get it.

But let’s just stop for a second. Think about losing your home in a flood. Think about the people around you — likely even friends or family — suffering. Think about thousands in your state not being sure where they will sleep tonight, when their next meal will be or how they will rebuild, if at all.

Here’s the point: Tony Perkins is a real human being. The way he behaves toward us does not have to be the way we behave toward him.

The LGBT community has spent a lot of time and energy fighting to be recognized as real people. LGBT Christians have spent a lot of time and energy explaining that we are also children of God. We have all spent time trying to explain that we simply want to be treated equally in our communities and country. We have fought for more open minds and more compassion. Has all of this time been spent just so we can turn around and treat people the same way we have demanded not to be treated ourselves?

I don’t think so. I think we’re better than that. At least, we should try to be.

Maybe we’ll never change Tony Perkins’ views on gay people. But I can guarantee nothing productive comes from being stereotypically catty about him losing his home in a flood. Perhaps if we show compassion, something he seems to lack when talking about our community, we stand a better shot of getting through to him and people like him. But even if we don’t, I’m confident that showing compassion and concern, even for a perceived “enemy,” is better than becoming just like him.

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