Columnists > Soul Food


"Now in my backyard"

Issue: "Is McCain able?," Aug. 21, 1999

Is it right for Christians to talk about homosexuality as though it were the worst sin on parade? Just consider: Last month a local pastor near me in northern California resigned and filed for divorce in order to marry his also-inconveniently-already-married church secretary. The pastor remained unrepentant, blaming his wife of 27 years and mother of his children because she'd failed to lose weight. Is his sin less than that of homosexuals?

Let me make this personal. I live in a rural, relatively unsophisticated town that boasts not a single shopping mall or pet psychiatrist. But we're only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and on weekends the freeway that slices through our town hosts an ever growing stream of upscale cars carrying two men apiece to the funky river resort towns another hour north. Noticeably distinct from local types sporting Ford pickups and hunting rifles, these passers-through are more inclined to BMWs and fancy bikes. With no women or children to provide for, they can afford it.

Sometimes on the freeway perched high in my own BMW-BigMamaWagon-I see them holding hands, looking a lot like two left shoes. At 65 miles per hour it's not so hard to shrug off. But last week I made a bank deposit, and the new teller sported four earrings, no less. As he typed in my transaction, my eyes roamed to his name tag, then to the walls of his cubby. There was a wedding picture, a couple under an arbor abloom with pink. My teller, smaller, younger, and clearly quite smitten, held hands with his new partner. Two tuxedos, no bouquet.

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So now it's in my own backyard, once so far from San Francisco's Castro District. The PC "wedding" pictures now gracing magazines-and who knows? maybe lots of cubbies like Doug's-are way different than the debauchery I saw there in the late '70s. My guess is that they are still the rare exception, rather than the rule.

The dominating force in the homosexual community I knew then (before I became a Christian I spent some time as a "fag hag"-affectionately, a straight woman who hangs out with homosexual men) was unbridled, unfettered male lust. Bathhouses and places even more unspeakable offered access to hundreds of anonymous partners a year. Homosexuals boasted of their records, outdoing each other and themselves in sheer numbers and types of perversion. That was pre-AIDS, of course. And though that may have put a temporary damper on, the party seems once again to be in full swing. Homosexuals demand a cure so they can continue their very reckless behavior. Now in San Francisco they clamor for the reopening of the bathhouses, which were closed in the '80s to prevent the spread of disease.

The Annual Gay Pride Parade continues to look like a descent into the torments of hell. Not at all the image conveyed in my teller's wedding picture. Monogamy-that was for dumb heterosexuals, or "breeders." Now a breeder supreme, I wonder what my teller is thinking as he sifts through my bundle of checks-article payments from places like Focus on the Family, Southern Baptists, the Salvation Army. Will he pigeonhole me as his enemy?

I'm not. I want to ask him how he got here, where he's going. I'd really like him to know how much I care. "You're new here, aren't you?" I begin. "Are you from Petaluma?" I smile a lot, maybe too much. I hope not. And I begin to pray each day for Doug.

These days I seem to wind up with my earringed teller more often than not. He sorts through my collection of checks from Christian groups while we talk of the weather, the weekend, whatever. God has time. If He saved me from darkness, He can save anyone else He chooses. And now there's someone in my backyard, and a way to pray I didn't have before.


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