My life has been incredibly complicated internally as I have grown up. I’ve been raised with many values aligned with political conservatism and with mainstream protestant Christianity. When I reached high school, I started to struggle with my own sexual identity. Despite having a girlfriend for nearly the entire time in high school, I was having feelings towards other guys and I was trying to figure out my own orientation, what it means to me, what it means to God, and what it means to other people who share similar philosophical and political views.
Long story short, I’ve discovered myself and I’ve completely accepted myself. I finally figured out that one, I’m a homosexual; two, politically, I’m a conservative libertarian (and I probably always will be); and three, I’m a Christian. I’ll explore more of the homosexual Christian intersection in a later blog post, which I think is a much more important topic, but I would really like to focus on the political aspect of this complex intersection, because it seems this is more immediately useful to the LGBT community.
Forget the fact that I’m Christian, but focus only on my political persuasion and sexual orientation. From what I’ve found in terms of the LGBT community, this is a very rare pairing. And I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that LGBT persons’ first and foremost political subject we like to focus on is same-sex marriage and same-sex rights. Liberalism as a whole appears to be supporting such a positive position while conservatism argues it will harm the institution of marriage. So naturally, more LGBT persons will consider themselves liberal, often for this only reason, only then do the other general views of liberalism get tacked on later.
So of course, I’ve been in fear these past few years, being a conservative, being a Christian, and being gay, all while supporting gay rights including marriage. My conservative views seem to polarize the LGBT community, and my LGBT views seem to polarize the Christian and conservative communities. (However there are some pro gay rights republican groups out there. See Log Cabin Republicans)
What I would hope to do is to help dissolve the tension in former, and I think, if it can be eradicated, can help the progress towards the latter. If conservatives can be reminded of their inner core values of individual liberties and rights and ignore some of the religious dogma when it comes to same-sex marriage views, I think we can get the conservatives on the right side of the same-sex marriage debate.
So here is my call for anyone and everyone to convince any conservative that same-sex rights should be a belief they have. First, ask them the following questions:
As a conservative, do you believe in the individual rights of the person?
As a conservative, do you believe in the religious rights of the person?
If they answer no to either one of the questions, odds are, they are not a conservative. If they answer yes to both, then follow up with these statements:
Then you believe that people should have the right to marry the person they love.
You also believe that people have the religious freedom to marry the person they love, according to their religion.
Some may argue that these are not the same thing, that marriage isn’t a right. To the first, they may be able to contest. But to the second, they cannot contest the religious freedom to marry, regardless of their own religious views. In my opinion, the only solution for the conservative to get out of this situation while maintaining their conservative integrity is to stand on the position of government getting out of the institution of marriage. A position, I believe, that can be the solution for the LGBT community. There are many justices of the peace in several states who are willing to marry same sex partners, and if government got out of such institutionalizing and recognized any such religious marriage, a huge problem would be solved, and it would be a huge step in the right direction to securing many same sex rights. It’s turning the argument from “trampling on the institute of marriage” to “tramping on the religious rights of people.”
So consider my intersection again, I’m a gay conservative Christian. And yet, I can advocate for gay rights through the politically conservative lens. I want to use this example to remind LGBT people that not all conservatives are against this particular issue. Conservatives should be on the right side of this issue, given our base beliefs, and yet we are not. This is one of the reasons why I want to arm people with the proper ammunition to get conservatives to be on the proper side of the debate. So I call to please give some of us (conservatives) acceptance and tolerance. We want many of the same things; we simply disagree on many of the means. So the next time you meet someone who says: “I’m a republican” or “I’m conservative,” remember what I positioned in this article, don’t jump to conclusions and immediately shut them out or think less of them (which you shouldn’t do to anyone anyway), just try to get them on the right side of the debate, where conservatives should be. Allow me to leave you with the words of Paul:
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7 ESV