“Jesus loves the little Children,
“All the Children of the World.
“Red and Yellow, Black and White;
“They are Precious in His sight.
“Jesus loves the little Children of the World.
This was a regular song cycled through our repertoire as Sunday School attendees. The tune was catchy; the words simple; the memory firmly ingrained. It could even be illustrated by a flannel graph of Jesus looking passively down on one (1) “red” children in full Native American garb, one (1) “yellow” oriental child in straw hat and kimono, one (1) “black” child in full African dress, and one (1) Midwestern child in non-descript Midwestern clothes. (In case you were too thick to get the point of the song.)
[For those of you heathens who never went to Sunday School, if you wonder why Flannel Graph Jesus wasn’t smiling at the kiddies, it was because Flannel Graph Jesus NEVER smiled. He had three looks—Disapproval (vs. the Pharisees), Disappointment (vs. the Disciples) and Tolerance (vs. Women or Children or General Audience.)]
Which is kinda funny, considering it was a large group comprised solely of extremely Caucasian, Middle America Children. The closest thing we came to “red” was playing Cowboys & Indians; to “yellow” was slideshows from missionaries; and our entire township had one (1) token African-American family. Since they weren’t Baptist (apparently)--not represented in our Sunday School either.
Growing up in a Conservative Church environment, we learned what “token” meant. Our churches had one, maybe two African-American families. The token representation. Maybe one oriental family. Another group represented. Native Americans? Rarer than hen’s teeth, but you could still find a few. Not a large minority—oh my no!
Yet what always cracked me up was when any racial discussion came about, we would hear people within my social group exclaim the old adage, “Some of my best friends are black!” (Evidently that one family had a LOT of best friends!) As if this exclamation gave the person a pardon against the possibility of being prejudice.
One of my friends made a keen observation. “You want to know if you have African-American friends? Ask yourself this simple question—when is the last time you ate dinner at an African-American home? How many times in the past five (ten?) years have you done so?” That will answer the question post-haste!
The reason I bring this up is that I am observing a new phenomena of this old trend. “Some of my best friends are homosexuals.” Or “Some of the best relationships I see are among homosexuals.” But I am seeing this from people who then go on (and on and on) about how homosexual acts are SIN, and homosexuals should NOT be allowed to marry, and how homosexuality is tearing apart the very fabric of our society to the point we will no longer be able to function. (O.K., that last is a bit hyperbolic. Sorta.)
And I have to wonder where they are getting all these homosexual friends? Are they the same black friends my social group claimed to have? Because I have no homosexual friends. None. Nada. Zip.
But that shouldn’t be a surprise—look at my social upbringing. My friends were conservative Christians. We socialized with people who would make homosexuals extremely uncomfortable. “Gay” was a derogatory term in my social group. We socialized at events in which homosexuality would be ostracized.
I grew up in a social environment that deliberately and consciously excluded homosexuals. Oh, some of my classmates and associates may have been homosexuals; I am not referring to people who were forced to hide their same sex attraction, or considered such an attraction a sin and something to be avoided.
I am talking about a person who recognized themselves as homosexual, and accepted it. No—no such persons would be welcome within my group. At the very end of my gamily holding on to Christianity, the topic of homosexuality came up in our Sunday School. The teacher was trotting out the tired line of “Love the sinner; hate the sin” and expounding upon how our church would be welcoming to homosexuals.
I (being me) challenged that observation. I pointed out how uncomfortable the members would make them feel, and how the attitude against homosexuality oozed from almost every pore of almost every person. The teacher argued with me that the church folk could disguise their disgust (not exactly his words, mind you) and welcome them with open arms.
At this point the pastor quietly spoke up and said, “Let’s be honest. If two guys came to church holding hands, do you really think they would ever want to come back here?” The room grew silent.
I don’t have gay friends. My former friends (‘cause we hung around the same people) do not have gay friends. I have never eaten dinner in a home of two homosexual people living together. Never.
I am uniquely UNqualified to make any statement such as “some of my best friends are homosexuals” or “some of the best relationships I know are among homosexuals.” Which causes me to continue to wonder about these people I read on-line, in books and in articles who are so vehemently opposed to homosexual sex, yet claim to have these relationships giving them insight.
Where are they finding all these gay friends?
Of course, I am in serious jeopardy of projecting. While my experience has resulted in no gay friends—this doesn’t mean every Conservative Christian has had the same experience.
Certainly someone who converted later in life could have already developed relationships with homosexuals. Which really causes me to wonder how that works:
“Hi. Hey—I’ve converted to Christianity. And I’ve learned this new thing. Turns out God HATES homosexual acts. It is a violation of His Moral Character, and the equivalent of spitting in his face. So I gotta tell ya—I can’t approve of what you and your partner do…er…late at night…uh…in your…well…you know. And I can’t support you all getting married. Nope—wouldn’t be right. And I don’t think you are entitled to equal protection under the law anymore.
“And if you converted to Christianity with me; you’d have to give up any homosexual sex. Oh, you can still be attracted to another person of your gender—you just can’t have sex with them. And the two of you…well…you can’t…you know. Because it is a sin. And God hates that.
“But don’t worry—God still loves YOU. Just because I find what you do is a sin, and will be petitioning against you having any of the same rights as us heterosexuals, we can still be friends, right?..........Right?”
I get how a liberal Christian could have gay friends. I get how liberal theists could have gay friends. I get how a Conservative Christian could have friends who are gay, but won’t tell anyone of their same sex attraction. I get how Conservative Christians could have friends who are gay, but the Christian won’t tell them of their belief homosexual acts are a sin.
What I don’t get is why a homosexual would continue to be friends with a person who informs them who they are results in a heinous sin, and the person will do everything in their power to keep the homosexual from being able to marry their partner, or be protected from discrimination, or be protected from hate speech.
Why would a homosexual want to be the “token” pardon for why the person is not prejudiced against gays? ‘Cause their best friend is gay…