I once had a lengthy conversation with a man about to leave the church I served because of “gay rights*.”
His argument was simple. No one should be treated with “special favors.” He grumbled that at work he’d been overlooked for promotion because women and people of color were always prioritized. Not fair. Now it was happening with gays. Not fair.
He was white, male, and (by global standards) affluent. Just like me. I remember sharing with him that it may be difficult for people like us—white, male, and affluent—to understand how subtle (or not so subtle) forms of discrimination work. Did he worry, like many women do, about walking alone at night from his office to his car in a distant parking lot? Did he, like a Hmong immigrant who speaks accented English or an African-American male pulled over by a cop because of racial profiling, feel anxious about how he sounded or looked?
He blankly stared at me. They got special treatment. He never did.
We are a society far from full equality. Those with power don’t want to share power. No, that’s not it. Those with power have difficulty understanding that, in God’s Realm of Love, it’s never about power and always about sharing.
*btw…this conversation occurred several years ago. Read the Huffington Post to learn about what happened to Rev. Amy Delong in Wisconsin this week: found guilty of marrying two loving individuals who happened to be same-gender. Once the United Methodist Church was several compassionate steps ahead of other denominations…in racial equality, rights for children, respect for women. Now we’re a day late and a gospel truth short. Sad. Tragic. Embarrassing.