Dear Crystal - Thanks for Writing

I don't get a lot of mail like this at Hahn at Home, but this one struck me particularly and I need to respond on to her. The assault of money and zealotry pouring into California from the outside of the Prop 8 issue is very scary.

Crystal Oftedahl said: Participating in Homosexuality will leave any person with an inevitable feeling of guilt and shame that cannot be relieved except by true repentance- it can only be deadened by ignoring it. That’s because Our Creator endowed each of us with the ability to recognize whether we are are on the right track in life, so that ultimately we can return home to Him and experience the pure joy of unpolluted family relationships. The Devil is real, and wants to stip (sic) us of our freedom to have that happiness by convincing us to participate in filthiness and degenerate behavior. Promoting those things which are right and good and clean in harmony with God’s laws will bring all of us greater liberty and freedom, while succumbing to Satan’s devices always restricts our freedoms. Proposition 8 will help to secure our liberties- both for those who are part of traditional families and those who are influenced by with homosexual tendencies.

Dear Crystal:

First of all, I believe you believe what you’re telling me. That’s fine with me that you believe it – just don’t tread on my rights in the name of your religion, okay? And, if I didn’t “participate in homosexuality,” I would be dead, because being a homo is not something I do, but who I am.

And, right off the bat, I’m wondering about how deep your guilt and shame is. Since coming out, I have lost all of my guilt and shame. Staying in the closet, not being true to who I am is what caused all the pain. I’m quite sure my Higher Power is the thing that allowed me to come out.

So, Crystal, if I try real hard, I can choose to go back to my unpolluted family relationships? What would those be? Childhood verbal abuse? Divorced parents? An adulterous ex-spouse? How about you, Crystal? Are you married to a divorced man? Have you been divorced? Not marry your husband’s brother after your husband died? Let your boyfriend cop a feel - lust, you know? Do you eat pork? Shell fish? Did you have pre-marital sex? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, I am sure this devil of which you speak has made note.

Degenerate behavior? Have you met me?

So, I’ not promoting things good and clean? By raising three children to be productive members of society, working in a job that helps millions of children, helping my fellow citizen with my money and time, paying my taxes, serving my country, and living a life based on the tenet of personal responsibility - that what I do comes back to me, doesn’t bring me happiness or give me the right to share in the same rights and benefits of being a citizen of this state that you do (if you do, which I doubt – I think you’re an inexperienced-at-life Mormon 20-year-old college student from Idaho which makes this none of your business)?

Prop 8 restricts my freedoms. It restricts your freedoms too if you live in California. Government should not distinguish between your desire to not marry homosexually and my demand that I be treated equally in the eyes of the law. NO on Prop 8 ensures that all citizens of California continue to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as those who believe like you do, Crystal. Frankly, you just don’t have a right to deny me – I believe your Bible says something about sitting in judgment – which, if you’re basing a vote regarding a legal issue on a religious belief, you would be doing.

But wait, you don’t live here in California, do you?

Hahn at Home


Kristi said...

I felt that way (shameful) for a long time, and it was a large part of my distancing myself from family. When everyone in the world - family, media, people at school, people at work - is telling you one thing, even when you know deep down in your soul that the truth is something else, it's hard not to buy into shame, to actually think that there is something wrong with you, even though you didn't do anything wrong. I think with me, the thing that got me past that point of feeling shameful about my life and believing I had to keep secrets and hide who I truly am (and I am by no means an expert, because it's still hard and uncomfortable for me to be so open with them about my life) is my passion for equality. Shame causes the oppressed to buy into their oppression, to just accept that somehow one deserves to have less rights than others. Somewhere along the line I figured out that I am no different than any other American, and I deserve every single right every other American has. Once I accepted that, I became very focused and driven to just live my life as openly as possible, no matter how uncomfortable it made others. I do this for primarily two reasons:
1. I'm happier, less stressed and more successful when I live openly; and
2. The people around me, including my family, see that my life is no different than theirs, regardless of the gender of my partner.

I also talk about real things with them - things like my fear of what will happen if Angie or I get sick, and the steps we have had to take (and the money we've had to spend, to the tune of $1200, so far) to protect our rights, the difficulties we have faced in our relationship because we are unable to get married legally in our state, like not being able to add our partner on the deed to our home because the loan is only in one of our names and we aren't related by blood or marriage, and like having to wait an entire year for 'domestic partner benefits' when if we were legally married, there would be no such waiting period. I think if I live unashamedly and family members and other people get to see the actual affects of discrimination, it at least makes them think about things a bit more. It might not change their minds, but maybe, just maybe, they will think of me, and feel a little guilty inside the next time they proclaim 'marriage is only for a man and woman.' I feel a little guilty myself for saying this, because normally I would never wish negative feelings on another person, but actually, I hope they do.

Sinnerviewer said...

I never felt more guilty and shameful than I did living a lie in a marriage to a man I didn't love and attending a legalistic evangelical church.

Since coming out last year, I have never felt more honest with God. Like my new pastor has told me, "The day you were finally honest with being who you are, God was rejoicing because you finally realized that He made you that way and you are living your truth.

To be totally honest, I have never been more satisfied with God than right now, as an out lesbian.

Renee Gannon said...

This is just another reason why I STRONGLY advocate for seperation of Church & State. It is wholly important, especially for Gay Marriage.

thewishfulwriter said...

Lori, it's responses like this one that make me heart you even more than I already do. In my opinion, you showed Crystal far more respect and understanding than she was willing to give you. I'm always amazed at the arrogance of people who feel it is their job to do God's work. At the end of the day, I have no fear whatsoever about standing in front of God and telling him I loved deeply with the heart he gave me. I don't believe he will judge me for it. Nor do I believe ANYONE standing beside me on this earth has the right to judge me. Only God. ONLY HIM. In fact, if everyone focused on themselves and worked to love instead of judge, this world would be a much different place.