I’ve been reading through a Homophobia and Religion Forum on thinkatheist.com, and felt the need to jot out my thoughts least I forget them – perhaps I’ll need this reference point in the future, although I hope I won’t.
I’m gay, an atheist, and the grandson of a Church of God minister who, in the 40’s/50’s, preached that black people didn’t have souls. It was the Curse of Ham – they weren’t human, were sexually provocative, degraded the good christian society, etc. etc. I remember hearing all of this as a child and thankfully, never bought into it. It made no sense to me.
I also remember talk of the “juke joints” and the sexually provocative nature of those establishments, which later came to represent (at least to those that wished to degrade a segment of the population for their own egotistical purposes) the entire community.
When I tell people about how I was taught to look at black people as a child, they are shocked. Obviously, I don’t feel the same way as my ancestors, although I admit that my understanding of “Black Man 101” is limited by my perceived “whiteness.”
What will we teach our children next? Who will be the next evil doer? Who will be the next class of people to make us feel better about our own failings and desires. Who will we choose to hate next? Muslims perhaps?
I already see a trend now. I regret I’ve even been guilty of it on occasion. We are bashing all those that are “Christian.” We generalize them – they are all Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and *God Forbid* Fred Phelps. Christian is becoming synonymous with “hate” and it is because of a vocal minority within Christianity. I may never understand why people believe in the great puppeteer, but they do. They exist as I exist and for that reason alone, I should defend the group, not attack them.
Perhaps its human nature to need some group of people to belittle. Perhaps its a mechanism designed to protect our own fragile sense of worth. I don’t know. I do hope though, that I will be smart enough, wise enough and kind enough to recognize when it is happening to someone else, and that I will remain strong enough to step forward on their behalf. If I fail, then may I be reminded of all those heroic straight allies who have come to my side to defend my rights and find inspiration in their strength. I guess I really am an atheist for Jesus.