When I walk across my college campus, I no longer notice the golden cross on top of the main building gleaming in the sunlight. I don’t stop to read the “have you prayed today?” flyers strewn haphazardly in front of the elevator. No one stops me on my way to class to demand that I go back to my dorm and change out of my “marriage is so gay” t-shirt. I go about my day at my Catholic college with no intrusion from the religious right.
When I have the opportunity to catch up with what is going on in the rest of the world, I find myself disenchanted, more often than not. We are constantly bombarded with war, murder, disease, and all the things that dominate the media.
As members of the GLBT community we are perpetually flooded, externally and internally, by the views of people who have no tolerance for anything that goes against societal norms. It is unfortunate that religion has emerged as the “enemy” of the GLBT community. It is equally unfortunate that the GLBT community is viewed as the enemy to the religious community. Both have something to contribute to modern society, and have contributed wonderful things throughout history.
The purpose of religion has always been all inclusion. Christ didn’t preach love, compassion and acceptance to one generation alone. The 10 Commandments weren’t created solely for the few Israelites who escaped persecution in Egypt. It is impossible to please everyone at any given point in time, which is why the major world religions have stood the test of time. What the modern religious community lacks is the ability to tolerate, not necessarily embrace, anything that goes against their view of "right." My view of "right" as a Protestant differs from a Catholic view of right. The view of someone from the northeast differs from the view of someone from the deep south. All Christians are certainly not the same, just as all Americans are not the same, and no two people are ever the same.
When you are baptized a Christian, the person officiating the ceremony doesn't say "Do you reject Satan? Do you promise to blow up abortion clinics and raise hell for homosexuals?" Many Christian churches (I can't speak for any other body of faith because I am unfamiliar with anything else) preach tolerance. Not only do they preach tolerance, many preach acceptance and embracing everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. I'm a Lutheran, who goes to a VERY Catholic college, and I'm gay, and I'm out. I have a great relationship with the religious leaders at my school, who have no issue with our difference of opinion on many matters of faith or the fact that I'm openly gay. I can walk across campus holding my girlfriend’s hand and I don’t have to worry about awkward stares or disapproving glances. I’m very fortunate to go to a liberal school, in a liberal part of the country. Many are not so fortunate.
Truly, no one should have a problem with anyone else, particularly for matters beyond their control. There are tons of close-minded people out there running their mouths who say hateful things, but they aren't speaking for the entire Christian family. They are speaking for themselves and their close-minded drone followers. The things they say hurt me more as a Christian than a lesbian, because they give Christians and religious individuals very bad names. Christ never preached hatred of any group or any individual person. Christ invited any person with a desire to lead a good life to believe in Him and be saved. I believe that God gave us all free will for a purpose, and we certainly don’t live in the same times as when the Bible was written. We all have the intellect to choose our own paths and to determine our own right and wrong.
We have so little time that it is wasteful to care about the action or inaction of others. People are bound to dislike each other, for one reason or another. Everyone goes into every situation with preconceptions, something that is unavoidable and human. No one is perfect, and no one can be expected to be perfect. All anyone can ever do is be the best person they can be. However, everyone’s definition of what the best person is will be different for every individual. Which is why people need to be dealt with on an individual basis. Just because someone is a Christian, or a lesbian, or even a Christian lesbian, doesn’t mean they will share the same points of view as I do.
Only when we stop viewing people by their “fundamentalist” or “gay” or “Christian” or “Middle Eastern” labels and start viewing them as individuals will the barriers we have built between ourselves crumble and we can live as people, all trying to live on the same planet.