Monday, January 29, 2007

Oxymorons and My Brilliant Wife

On the way home from church on Sunday, as I slid down in my seat and prepared for the long winter's nap awaiting at home, The Wife and I were talking. About gay Republicans.

Okay, to be honest, I was talking, and she was listening. It's fair to say that I have a stronger opinion on gay Republicans than she does. I think the idea is a sort of philosophical oxymoron. It isn't an actual oxymoron--there are certainly gay Republicans. They have their own club: the Log Cabin Republicans. I guess they have their own syrup, too.

Which explains the stickiness I feel whenever I am confronted with the idea that in 2007 someone would be gay and Republican. I mean, this party has done what it can to paint gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as a deviant cabal whose "agenda" includes destroying the institution of marriage. Gay people are the fuel Republicans throw on the flames of public opinion when the war takes a turn for the worse.

So we're driving along and I'm preaching about this (it is still Sunday morning after all). I'm asking rhetorical questions about what would lead someone to be part of an organization that actively campaigns against that person's best interests.

So Wife says, without missing a beat, "Isn't that what your church does? You're still a member of it."

I laughed, feeling a certain kinship with Sarah (Genesis 18:12: "So Sarah laughed to herself.") Like Sarah, also married to someone unassuming and faithful beyond belief, I didn't have an answer. Not a good one, at least. It's not a new question, of course--"Why do you stay in a church that continues to delay justice for its gay and lesbian pastors?" This was the first time, though, that the question was lobbed back to me from within one of my little ideological rants about stuff that doesn't make sense to me.

The short answer is, of course, that I am Lutheran. I am proud to be Lutheran. And there are great people in the ELCA, which will eventually welcome all of its children to "full participation."

Until then, yes, it will be hard to be a gay pastor in a church that doesn't want me. But I knew that going in.

Maybe it does make as much sense to be a lesbian pastor in the ELCA as it does to be a gay or lesbian Republican. Maybe it makes more sense to be a gay Republican. At least you'd get to sit with everyone else at the conventions. I have to sit in the back at the Synod Assembly, and have been warned more than once not to venture onto the floor when the Assembly is in session. I think they're afraid that my Gay Agenda Superpowers will take over and corrupt the proceedings.

Hey, if I had superpowers, I wouldn't be sitting in the back.


Anonymous said...

you can't be anything but honest, with yourself and everyone else, around her can you?

Anonymous said...

The Log Cabin Republicans seem to be an attractive option. "We believe in low taxes, limited government, strong defense, free markets, personal responsibility, and individual liberty." That sounds great to me! I haven't found out yet about the syrup.


Donna said...


I have to say that most of that sounds good to me, too. They're good concepts, if rather abstract. This is where I need help: is the Bush Administration an aberration, or is it supposed to be pursuing these concepts? Because it seems like the current administration has not worked toward low taxes (except for a small segment of the population), limited government or strong defense.

Government is growing by leaps and bounds, and spending money like a drunken sailor. The president's new budget is $2.9 trillion, over 5% larger than this year's budget, which ran a huge deficit. That figure doesn't count most of the costs of the war, which are rising. The only way to cover this budget is to borrow more money from China. Eventually, the bill is going to come due, and taxes are going to go up. Or we'll pay for it on the backs of the "least of these"--the poorest members of our society. Neither is a good option, though I can't help but think "personal responsibility" is code language for choosing the latter.

We're spending a lot of money on defense, but I can't help but think it is counterproductive, and not strong.

I would like to keep having this conversation. I don't get to have conversation with many conservatives, so this is helpful to me.