“As I walk through the (Cedar) valley of the shadow of death…”

This past weekend, there was an event in Waterloo, Iowa called “The Cedar Valley Pride Fest.”  58621_origIt was a day of fun activities and music for anyone who wished to participate, to demonstrate that the LGBT community is a healthy and active part of our larger community; the message is one of inclusion and to celebrate diversity.

There was also a small protest with a sign denouncing “Sodomy” and a few people roamed the perimeter to engage participants in a conversation about how they must repent or suffer eternal damnation.

The protest was smaller than the year before which I should probably gauge as a good sign, but I’m not convinced that it means growing acceptance. I still encounter a lot of people in my travels, and witness the sentiments of many, who oppose Gay Rights, yet don’t carry placards.

One “missionary” engaged me at Pride Fest as he quoted IMG95201308249513443795752Leviticus, reminding me that what I am doing is a sin, while also telling me that he “loved me.”

I feel no need whatsoever to explain that I am not gay, and preferred, in fact, to let my loving assailant assume that I am.  I replied, “I don’t think you do love me. I think that’s just a convenient way to feel better about your hatred.  What is it you really hate?  Could it be because God made people all sorts of different ways and you feel vulnerable?  My God loves me, you, that guy, that girl, just the way we are.  And He’s fine with me eating shellfish on Sundays.”

I’m not so naive as to assume that I “won” the argument, but he walked away.

This was actually the 2nd annual Pride Fest and last year there was a different protest called “A Day of Fasting and Prayer” by an organization called the “Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ.”  A spokesman from that organization said, “Our goal is not to persecute the gay community; our goal is to pray for them and our community out of love. “

I get goose bumps from all this generous and altruistic love.

(End of sarcasm)

Perhaps, I lack credibility as a spokesman for the LGBT community since I am not a member, but I AM a card carrying member of the “Society of People Who Understand Freedom and Justice” and “The Order of Those Who Have a Clue” and I would like to extend our love to those who don’t.

We understand that you’re scared and we just want you all to know that we will be there with you, to help you through these difficult times when it seems like your world is caving in from the forces of progress.

Just like we were there for you in the mid 60’s when the passing of John F Kennedy’s legislation to give “all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public” and for “greater protection for the right to vote” had your conservative forebears screaming in the streets, fearing that such legislation diminished their freedom and justice.

We even kept you in our hearts when the conservative Senator Richard Russell rose from your ranks and said, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races.”

And we held your hands when you whined in 1938 that “capitalism will crumble” from the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act that ushered in a 40 hour work week, a minimum wage, workers benefits, health standards, and even child labor laws.

We can forgive you, because we are a forgiving kind of people.  Just like we forgave you in 1919 when the thought of including women in our political process was anathema to your comfort.  Many conservatives, not just fundamentalists, said that the 19th Amendment was “against Christian values.”

We’ve endured each time and we will stand by your side again, with love, as your fears continue to overwhelm your better judgment regarding the natural evolution of human beings toward a more civilized, peaceful, diverse and generous future.

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