Hypocritical Peacebuilding

Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Random Thoughts | 1 comment

I received an email from Jumo.com yesterday summarizing issues in which I have expressed interest. One headline entitled “Progressive Christian Group Rejects Gay Rights Ad” particularly piqued my interest because of the combination of the words “progressive” “christian” and “gay.” I clicked on the link and read the full article. It outlined the basics of a conflict between the proclaimed progressive Christian group, Sojourners International, and a New York-based organization, Intersections International. Apparently, Intersections International launched the Believe Out Loud campaign, which includes a video advertisement encouraging “churches to actively welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians to worship” (Huffington Post). According to the Huffington Post and care2.com, Intersections International tried to buy space to run the ad below on Sojourners International’s website, but the latter refused to run it.

After looking at the headlines and reading the two articles mentioned, I had my mind made up that this was another obvious case of discrimination by a Christian organization. However, anyone who has ever been in a conflict knows there are always multiple sides to a story, so I investigated this further and read the public statement as well as the FAQs on Sojourners International’s website, posted in response to the negative public backlash against its decision. I found that the full story is not as cut and dry as was publicized and I encourage you to research this story for yourself so that you may draw your own conclusions.

The issue of discussion here is not who is right or wrong, nor is it which of these organizations should change their opinions and actions. You can also be sure I am not trying to shape your opinion, as I am trying to come to my own conclusions. Rather, my intention is to put this in the context of peacebuilding by highlighting how easy it is to recreate actions you believe are characteristic of your perceived opposition. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community continues to fight for acceptance and tolerance in a variety of forms and has experienced particularly harsh discrimination from specific sects of the religious arena, so it is not unfathomable that this story was published not only for its its connection to a civil rights issue, but for its strategic value of attracting large amounts of attention as well. However, it seems that instead of trying to present both sides of the argument fully and accurately, the two mentioned news sources chose to present the given information in a manner intended to stoke an already inflammatory issue. The problem with this method is that in the process of trying to further a cause that promotes acceptance and tolerance, these sources ended up stirring my existing feelings of disgust towards those “Christians” who claim to believe in God, but damn all “those homos” to Hell. I can easily justify my own intolerance, but apply my justifications to a larger scale, and the result is a substantial increase in the level of global animosity. Perhaps I’m being naive, but this outcome seems to be antithetical to what appears to be the LGBTQ community’s ultimate goal of coexisting in a manner that respects everyone’s unique differences.

This post was not meant to disseminate the notion I that the LGBTQ community does not experience discrimination. Additionally, I am certainly not defending any of this behavior and believe we should never stop trying to eradicate it. However, I still hold the opinion that there are ways to present and handle any sensitive topic without consciously generating or provoking feelings of hate. We cannot claim to agree with a cause while simultaneously sabotaging it elsewhere. Actions really do speak louder than words and if we want peace in this world, we need to choose our actions wisely otherwise we will become what we hoped never to be.

1 Comment

  1. Great post, Ali. Stoking the fire of hatred in any form, including spreading ignorance by way of half truths, is a great way to remain intolerant; something that most people hope will end.

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