Opinion: God Doesn’t ‘Hate Fags’ Anymore?
Is the hip, young, welcoming face of UK Christianity any less homophobic than the headline-grabbing fundamentalists across the pond?
The infamous ‘God Hates Fags’ cult-daddy Fred Phelps died of old age last month.
While not many people think it’s cool to picket someone’s funeral with signs such as ‘God Killed Your Sons’ and ‘God Hates Fag Enablers’, being gay is still a taboo among churches here in the UK. Even the ‘cool’ and ‘relevant’ ones have ways of dealing with the disorder of SSA (same sex attraction). They are just clever enough to know that coming across as a hateful loony is counterproductive.
The rise of these fashionable clothing, ‘cool’ music making (if it’s ever ‘cool’ to sing about Jesus), meet-in-a-warehouse kind of Christians are what I’d describe as a new generation of fundamentalists.
I didn't come out to my church until I was safely out of their ‘care’. I had mentioned I thought I was probably not altogether straight to church leaders at one point, and I was told it was my mum’s fault and counselling would help. What she’d done I had no idea.
My friend D had a full blown degaying experience at our church where he was set up with a girlfriend, told to change his appearance, had ‘manly’ events created around him where guys hugged and got rough and tumbled with each other (which seems a bit gay, don’t you think) and of course he was to never hang out with anyone gay, ever. He was given xtian music and had to throw out his secular music. I saw this similar ‘therapy’ recreated in another two or three male friends.
For me, I was told to give up all my friends outside the church, cut ties with any social networks online, give up my career because it facilitated ‘free thinking and obsessive behaviour’ and focus entirely on pleasing my husband at the time.
It was commonplace to make fun of gay ‘attributes’, gay people and even to get the odd sermon containing a story of someone having a ‘gay demon’ cast out of them. These were real things I saw and heard at church.
So while churches here don’t sport ‘Fags Doom Nations’ signs, many still enforce strict gender roles, as well as misogynistic and homophobic behaviour to combat kids ‘turning gay’. And in a way that kind of fundamentalism is much more effective.