Oct 11 is National Coming Out Day… which is all the more poignant this year with the coverage of the recent suicide deaths of the young men (we are aware of) who were bullied over their sexuality. The purpose of NCOD is to help bring awareness to the fact that everyone really does know people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer. But because of the stigma and sometimes even danger associated with coming out, many choose to keep this part of their identity secret. The hope of the Human Rights Campaign and other GLBTQ advocacy groups is to that one day our society will be a safe place. That parents will affirm their children and teachers will no longer need to protect their children. That our youth will see that the “gay lifestyle” looks an awful lot like the “straight lifestyle” – working, paying bills, going to the dentist, buying groceries, mowing the lawn, teaching Sunday school, and watching Mad Men or Monday Night Football.
I have friends from all over the place politically and religiously (or irreligiously). That’s part of what makes my life so interesting and rich. And it’s what makes me hesitate sometimes to speak out. But I’ve watched or too many amazing, loving and beloved people get emotionally and spiritually beat to the ground, sometimes by people who are well-meaning, sometimes by those who are not.
The time for silence and hesitation is past. The time has come to say aloud that I will and do stand with my son, my friends, and my co-laborers in ministry who have come out. The same God who so wonderfully and fearfully made me, made each of them. And the same God who loves and nurtures and cares for me, cares for them. And the same Christ who humbled himself on the cross in order to mediate God’s love to us and free us from our bondage to sin, freed them. And the same Holy Spirit who empowers, inspires and illumines the paths of righteousness for me, is living and breathing God’s power into them.
It is time for the church, for the government and for the bullies of the world (including the grown up sorts) to recognize that those same inalienable rights that have been extended to women and minorities must be extended to the GLBTQ community. Only then will we have all come out of the dark ages.