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Point: This is not a culture war

'Gay people are loved by their families.'

Nathan Gunter June 22nd, 2011

“I grew up in Oklahoma,” said Don. “I believe passionately in Oklahoma values.

I’m a former Eagle Scout, a former U.S. Air Force officer, and a Vietnam veteran. I’ve attended church regularly for over 60 years. I married my high school sweetheart. Together, the two of us raised three wonderful children who share our same values. Our eldest son is gay, and he married another man. We wouldn’t change a thing about our family.”

Don’s story is only one of many highlighted in a multimedia awareness campaign launched by the Cimarron Alliance, Central Oklahoma’s premier gay advocacy organization. In a video series, gay Okies and the people who love them talk about who they are: your neighbors, friends, co-workers, family.

Don loves his gay son, as does Kay, a former schoolteacher. Lisa, a Republican, called her gay brother her mentor and her hero. Gay people are loved by their families, these videos tell us, and they love their families right back. They love Oklahoma and America. They will not be the architects of the nation’s downfall; they do not aspire to be.

This is not a culture war. These simple, quick monologues serve only to say, “Hello. This is who we are.”

And still, “culture warriors” stand on an imagined battlefield hurling bombs: Bible verses, distortions, untruths. (I promise you not a single gay person wants to recruit 2-year-olds.) The other side — hurt, wounded, afraid — responds in kind. The common wisdom is that the first side to give a little, show humility or share goodwill, will be defeated and devoured.

The fact is, the two sides of the divide may never reconcile. But Scripture promises, in Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3, that “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

We can be those people. We can find homeless people to feed. We can find elderly people living through a heat wave without air conditioning or fans. Let’s find those who are hurting and frightened the most in our city, and alleviate just a soupçon of their suffering.

There’s only a culture war as long as think there has to be one, as long as we all agree not to cooperate. As long as we keep calling our disagreements a “war,” that’s what we have: a war. Waging a war against our neighbors — against our own family — is a road to somewhere worse than nowhere. Human history shows this time and time again; Scripture and our higher natures admonish us to be better.

The people in this campaign don’t hurl insults, demand theological or political advancement, make accusations of hatred or bigotry, or declare bombastic visions of America’s downfall.

“Here we are. Hello.” A gentle declaration and introduction is the purpose of the campaign, on behalf of hundreds of thousands of gay Okies and the people who love them. They hope to get a “hello” in return, and then maybe just a friendly wave, an invitation to lunch, a Christmas card, a smile.

We may never agree, but these can be our sacraments. Amen.

Gunter is an Oklahoma City-based writer.

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06.22.2011 at 09:19 Reply

I never really thought of Gay equality as a war, but I gave up on religious types years ago, ironically because I found their judgments working diligently against the will of Christ.  Their fight against homosexuality is no different.  They judge homosexuals as if they have a right.  But the Bible says that only Jesus can judge the living and the dead.  I suppose that since we are supposedly born in his image that somehow we take liberties in assuming that the right to judge somehow extends to us.  That’s simply not true.


Another issue I take with Bible quoters is that they fail to realize that the Bible wasn’t written in English.  I know they would say this is a weak argument, but when texts are translated from one language to another it’s not uncommon to encounter words that do not translate properly.  Even more recently Biblical text have started being modified just to be more topical to a younger audience.  Every single time someone takes a liberty and re-words that book they allow their own bias pollute that text.  The only way you can ever truly understand the Bible is to read the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) texts.   But realistically speaking, those lobbing these anti-gay insults are rarely motivated to learn 2 different languages to prove their point.  But to be fair, I don’t see anyone on the pro-gay said doing that either.


The Bible is quite the assortment of stories.  And in hindsight, I have trouble understanding how I once bought into it.  I take many issues with the Bible, but for the sake of argument, let’s consider the story of Job.  Here we have a man whose life is totally destroyed for no other reason than for God to prove a point to the Devil.  Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the point God was trying to make, but that doesn’t mean I condone it.  I have no love in my heart for a Deity that would do such horrific things for the purpose of basically winning a bet.  That seems more like an act relegated to Satan than to a loving creator.


Then you move on to consider the amusing arguments brought forth by Rick Santorum.  Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, thus creating this delusion that gay marriage opens the door on making those sex acts legal.  The obvious problem with this is that gay marriage is a consensual union between 2 adults of the same species.  Bestiality and Pedophilia would not be equal in that animals and children cannot give consent.  There is just no comparison; those trying to make that argument are reaching.  Of course it bears mentioning that there are apparently 3 states in this country where Bestiality is legal (Montana, Arkansas, and North Carolina – thanks Google), and I don’t see any Christian groups fighting to change that fact.


The only thing that makes this issue a fighting cause for religious folks is that it conflicts with their own personal values.  This is the crux of the debate.  If a group had the ability to tell me who I can and cannot marry, then why then could I not form my own group governing their behaviors?  If their basis for preventing Gay marriage is their religion, then they have no legal basis to proceed because religions must remain separate from state.  Our Constitution also guarantees us freedom of expression.  I would argue that marriage is the ultimate act of expressing love.  Denying someone the right to marry the one they love is a denial of their freedom of expression.


In any case, how is it Christian to treat any human as less than another?  Maybe my version of Christ is different than the majorities.


06.22.2011 at 10:24 Reply

Hear, hear! 


06.24.2011 at 10:09 Reply

Thank you, Nathan. With this article, you’ve shown Oklahoma that you know more about what it truly means to be a follower of Christ than Pastor Kern or his misguided wife.  How silly that pastor is, to waste precious time on earth with priorities that are completely out of line with Christ’s teachings.  Actually, it isn’t silly; it’s satanic.  There are so many people in need in Oklahoma who could use Christ’s love, yet the Deceiver and his demons have convinced the Kerns that Jesus would rather them waste time rebuking gay people. Thank God for Christians like you, Nathan, who refuse to allow Satan and his demons to distract people from the True message of Christ.


The 25th chapter of Matthew makes it clear as day. 

 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’