Once upon a couple weeks ago…
Wife: Do you want to go out for lunch after church today?
Me: ummm… whatever.
Wife: Oooo, there’s that new restaurant downtown, they’re supposed to have like 30 local beers on tap.
Me: Awww Yisss, this is why we’re married.
We drive downtown, find a place to park…which seems a bit fuller than usual. Then we see (something like) this:
Then we see a group of people walking towards the restaurant dressed like this:
Wife: What’s going on?
Me: I think it’s Pride Festival.
Wife: I thought that was last week?
Me: Our town must do it a week late, maybe?
We get closer to the Christian protestors and notice there is a crowd gathering around them. Clearly there is some arguing going on
Wife: Oh, yeah, sure…great way to represent Jesus you assholes
Walking to the restaurant we pass by a married (straight) couple dressed like this:
We arrive at the restaurant
Hostess: How many?
Hostess: It’ll be about 20 mins. As you can see we’re a little busier today because of the parade.
The wife is notable upset, stewing in anger.
Me: Honey, are you alright?
Wife: Who do they think they are?
Me: Who? The pastor couple in rainbow stoles or the protestors.
Wife: The protestors, obviously! Like, why? Why do they need to come here, and be so…so…hateful? What’s the point of Jesus talking about love and grace, when all these people do is come out here and tell everyone they’re going to burn in hell?
I’m stuck in a bit of a pickle here. I’m still employed as a conservative pastor and this is a very public place. As a closeted atheist I’m also a closeted Queer ally. My wife knows my position, but I have no idea who is around me. I try to be discreet and supportive at the same time.
Me: Well, honey, some people have this strange need to be assholes. They actually enjoy being angry. They enjoy hating people. I’m sure there’s a few protestors out there that think they’re doing the “right thing”, but mostly it’s part of the persecution complex. To them, it makes them feel holy to come out here and be mean to people. It makes them feel holier when people argue back. I’m sure if they got the shit kicked out them today, they’d consider it suffering like Jesus and for Jesus.
Wife: God, I hate Christians like that.
Me: Think of these people like TBWSNBN on steroids.
This is a loud restaurant, which works to my favor. I really want to talk about this with my wife. I don’t want to let this issue pass, this is a perfect opportunity to disabuse her of her biblical views on homosexuality. Out of all the beliefs one is required to have in order to be an conservative christian, this has obviously always been the one she never like swallowing. Gay uncles, transgender childhood friends, and a love for fashion tv shows, has always been a source of cognitive dissonance for her.
Hostess: JAMESON PARTY OF 5!
I hope she sticks us in the corner…nope, right near the entrance.
Damn it. Gotta still have this conversation anyways.
Me: So what bugs…
Princess: Daddy, I want izza
Me: Ok, princess. We’ll order you pizza.
Princess: Izza daddy, izza
Me: So what bugs…
Middle child: daddy, I don’t want izza! Izza is yucky!
Me: Ok, then order something else.
Joshua: I’m hungry daddy.
Me: Yeah I know, that’s why we’re at a restaurant
Princess: IZZA DADDY IZZA!!!!!!!
Middle Child: NO I DON’T WANT PIZZAAAAAAA!!!!!!!
Joshua: Mommy, daddy, I’m huuuunnnnngggggrrryyyyy!
Wife: Well what do you want to eat Josh?
Princess: IZZA! IZZA! IZZA!
OH FOR FUCK SAKE!!!!
Waitress: Can I get you something to drink?
Princess: IZZA DADDY, IZZA!
Middle Child: (breaks down crying)
Joshua: Excuse me lady, but, um, but, I’m hungry
I AM GOING TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH MY WIFE, EVEN IF I HAVE TO KILL THE LEACHES!
Wife: Can we get the food for the kids started now, and 2 IPAs for us?
Waitress: Sure we can get food started for them. And you both want an IPA?
Wife: No…we both want 2 IPAs
Wife: (poker face)
Waitress: Um…ok. Let me get your order.
As soon as the kids are brought apple Juice, there is silence at our table.
Wife: I am sooo mad, I am shaking.
Me: Kids getting to you?
Wife: No, those stupid “christian” protestors.
Me: You know, I never understood that style of “evangelism”. Do they actually ever change anyone’s mind?
Me: But aside from their style, do you think that there is anything wrong with their message? Do you agree with their point?
Wife: Of course not! I believe we’re supposed to love people and be patient with people. Yelling at people and telling them they’re going to hell is just not very Jesus-y.
Me: Ok, good. I’m glad. But that’s kinda beside the point. You’re talking about style and not substance. Their style is hateful, your style is loving…but do you actually believe different truths than they do?
Wife: Well I believe God loves people. They believe God hates people.
Me: Ok, but what about gay people?
Wife: God loves them too. God loves the whole world. That’s the point of Jesus.
Wife & Me: Not now!
Wife: You know I’ve never hated gay people. I’ve got my uncle, now uncles. My friend Angelica who used to be my friend Angel… people are people. Everyone deserves grace.
Me: But what about God and the bible?
Wife: Well, I do believe that God created men and women to fit together emotional, physically, and sexually. Marriage is between a man and a woman. But that doesn’t mean it’s right to hate gay people. No one should be told they’re going to hell! Those “christians” are just a bunch of assholes.
Me: But we’re still talking style here to an extent. Do you believe that gay sexuality and gay marriage is a violation of God’s law? I mean, let’s play this out. Even though you may disagree with how those protestors are presenting the message, I’m asking if you deep down inside agree with the message. I know you would never tell people they were going to hell. Even if you believe they were, you wouldn’t hold up a huge sign at a Pride festival and start yelling at people. But if you agree with the bible, then aren’t these people here today arrayed in rainbows going to hell?
Someone could almost argue that those protestors are doing more to “save” people than you are. If you believe in the bible, the Apostle Paul makes it pretty clear in Romans 1 that gay sexuality is the wrath of God. LIberals be damned, there is no way to unify a belief in the bible and the acceptance of the LGBTQA movement.
Is the message, not just the style but the message, of the protestors wrong?
Wife: I don’t know anymore. Sometimes I don’t even know what I believe anymore.
And I relent. Loosing your faith is a hard, traumatizing process. It’s not something I want to push her through. She needs to do it on her own and at her own pace, if at all.
But it’s safe to say that will probably be the last time she’ll consider homosexuality as a sin. I think next year I’ll invite her to the parade.