One of my favorite soap boxes -- noted in an earlier posting on this blog -- is that for too long the voices of the Religious Right have dominated the media airwaves with their version of "Biblical Truth" and it is long past time for progressive people of faith to get their voice out there and offer our theological perspective of a God of justice rather than judgment, inclusion rather than exclusion, love rather than fear!
Sounds great until the radio talk show producer calls and offers you precisely the opportunity you’ve been asking for: only it’s for a South Florida morning show which means a 5:00 a.m. (a.m. as in the morning!) call Pacific Standard Time. But figuring I could file this under what my friend Elizabeth calls, “The Things We Do For Jesus” I set the coffee maker for 4:50 … the alarm for 4:55 … and said my morning prayers: gave thanks for an opportunity to offer the Good News of God in Christ Jesus on the AM airwaves and got ready to talk about Freedom to Marry Week and faithful, committed gay & lesbian relationships … I thought.
Instead I ended up on the Steve Kane Show in a live Point/Counterpoint exchange with pseudo-journalist David Virtue – arguably the most polemic voice of the radical schismatic reactionary fringe of the Anglican Religious Right.
Let’s just call it a “teachable moment.” I learned to ask more questions before I agree to do any more live radio interviews. I learned that no matter what the question is there are some agile apologists for Anglican Absolutism who can manage to work the answer around to beastiality. And I learned that while I am thrilled to be in dialogue and -- yes -- even in debate with those who hold differing theological, hermeneutical and political perspectives I am no longer willing to give time, energy or credibility to what amounts to the sex-obsessed radical fringe of the Anglican Right while the rest of the Episcopal Church is attempting to get on with the work of the Gospel.
Call it an exercise in futility. Or call it, as a musician friend of mine once did, like teaching a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig. Whatever you call it, I'm over it.
Here’s what my cradle Episcopalian/Republican straight-white-husband-of-one-and-father-of-two lawyer friend currently residing in Florida had to say in his post-interview post-mortem: “Why is it that guys like Virtue, who are supposedly so repulsed by anal sex, the ones who always seem so fixated on it? Or, for that matter, with sex in particular and what kind of sex *other* people are having. Maybe we should go back to the rule that polite people don't enquire of others what they do in their bedrooms. And, really, why is it someone's sexual practice, orientation or whatever, that holds the keys to the Kingdom? If you're going to draw a line in the sand, aren't there more important places to draw it?
My simplistic but highly cynical legally and not theologically trained mind sees so much of this as an attempt to define everything as us versus them, who is saved and who is not, who is in and who is out? Or, are you one of us or not? It doesn't take much to see that in the "are they really Christian?" theme that runs through so many of the blog discussions. Or, who's the better Christian.”
There you have it.
Here endeth the teachable moment.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programing!