"For ministering to homosexuals, Senyonjo has become estranged from Uganda’s Anglican church. He was barred from presiding over church events in 2006 when he wouldn’t stop urging his leaders to accept gays. The parish that he once led doesn’t even acknowledge his presence when he attends Sunday services there, underscoring how his career has suffered because of his tolerance for gays in a country where homosexuals —and those who accept them — face discrimination.
‘They said I should condemn the homosexuals,’ he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.’”
Lots of religious folk assure me that their religions are “tolerant” of the marginalized or that they, themselves, do not conform to the oppressive ideas their religions or fellow parishioners tout, that the bigoted members or leadership or scriptures are, in fact, the minority viewpoints.
I’m always suspect of such a position because it seems, to me, to try to minimize the impact these harmful philosophies have on those they are targeted against and it neglects to address the fact that if these are the “minority viewpoints” why they are so prevalent, able to garner so much attention, and wreak so much havoc on the lives of the marginalized.
The “minority viewpoint” argument also allows people defending their gods and religions to circumvent or outright ignore the responsibility they have in educating their institutions, speaking out PUBLICLY (not privately) against their institutions when those institutions engage in institutionalized bigotry, preventing their institutions from causing emotional, physical, and psychological violence, and, barring all of that, helping to tear down those institutions when they continuously fail to behave morally, or corrupt the word “moral” so thoroughly that it cannot be distinguished from “immoral.”
That is why I side-eye all religious folk except a select few, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Bishop Christopher Senyonjo.
I respect and have love for religious people like them because they don’t lie—not to me or themselves—just to save face, or in service to their pride and ignorance. They don’t try to defend their religions or justify bigotry in the names of their gods. They don’t tell me they are the majority and the bigots are the minority—because they know better. They are critical of their religions and their gods and they speak of love and humanity and the responsibility we have to one another even in the face of the overwhelming hatred of their fellow religious folk.
They tell you straight up: If my religion is bigoted, if my god is bigoted, then I can no longer serve. And if my religion and my god are not bigoted, then my life must be a demonstration of that.
These are the folks that will stand up and walk out of a bigoted sermon their religious leader gives or will confront their religious leader about their bigotry *resolutely.* These are the people who will not give their church or their mosque or their temple or their synagogue a damn dime until they change their orientation to one of abundant love and acceptance.
Those are the ONLY kinds of religious people I can fuck with.
The others? Well, Mobb Deep said it best (though, perhaps, they didn’t mean it like I mean it here—or maybe they did):
"Ain’t no such things as halfway crooks. Scared to death and scared to look. They shook."
And I don’t fuck with shook ones because they can’t be trusted.
— John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society (via on-my-toes-for-you)