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09/06/2011

Actions, words: A friendly reminder about which speak louder

by Jeremy Hooper

At times in this whole fight over LGBT peace, it's not actually the less-than-accepting actions or beliefs themselves that are most annoying, but rather the responsibility-shirking justifications that the folks on the other side use to clean their consciousnesses. These snippets come from Baptist Press:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (BP) -- Psalm 100, a Christian a cappella group at the University of North Carolina, struck a few dissonant chords around the Chapel Hill campus as school started when its members voted to expel a fellow singer because of his views on homosexuality.

The decision to remove openly gay student Will Thomason sparked a backlash against the group and prompted school officials to launch an anti-discrimination investigation.
...
Blake Templeton, general director of the group, said the Aug. 28 decision was tough, especially because so many people thought it was done out of hatred.

"That's so far from the truth," he said. "I want the power of God's love to be so, so clear."

Templeton stressed that the group made its decision out of love for Thomason.
...
Templeton said the university approved Psalm 100's original constitution, which allows its decisions to be made based on the Bible. And he stressed that it was Thomason's disagreement with the group's constitution, not his sexuality, that got him kicked out.
Christian group expels gay man, gets investigated [Baptist Press]

In this case, I'm not even going to weigh in on whether the club has the right to boot, as I trust the university and its students to have that appropriate debate (more on that here). To me, the more compelling conversation for national LGBT activists is the one pertaining to the anti-equality voice, big and small, and the remarkable consistency with which said voice can rail off some sort of flowery prose in order to validate a crappy actuality he or she created for a fellow human being. This rhetorical spin is an overarching through line in this LGBT rights conversation, one that so often stands in the way of true discussion.

Booting a kid from a singing group simply because said kid was too gay/pro-gay, then to say you did so "out of love"? It's the kind of line that could only exist in absurdist plays, tip sheets on how to escape hand-in-cookie-jar status, or socially conservative "culture wars." Oh, and also the kind of unfair justification that needs to be called out whenever and wherever it exists, so that maybe we can start having a grown up debate on the concrete merits of (non)discrimination rather than circuitous discussions on the level of abstract love that may or may not surround a particular act of enmity.

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