Every now and then something in the news prods me with a pointy stick. And today it is religion and hypocrisy dressed up as religion and correctness.
The letter below was published by the receiver, Rav Bansal. A chap like other chaps. Unlike a lot of others he had a few minutes of fame on British television: the Great British Bake Off. So he is now a “public figure” allegedly. And with that status comes responsibility. The responsibility to represent others he has never met nor ever will. Represent those who consider themselves religious. Religious and proud. And whose view of the physical and supernatural world obligates them to write a letter like this …
This religion is “Sikhism” – so obviously the “wrong religion” for “us” here in the west. Nevertheless bigotry crosses all boundaries, cultures and religions. For here in the west there is the same unspoken advice:
“This is something you should have kept to yourself.”
When I was a young man, my sister and I wandered into one of her local London pubs for a drink. At some point she went to the toilet. And I sat rigid with fear. For this was a gay pub – something neither of us knew until after we walked in and settled-down with our drinks. It was a matter of curiosity to me – until left alone with “them”. And then it was pure fear that one of “them” would approach me because I am a male and they are gay – and I was fresh (male) meat and obviously someone every gay man found irresistible!
There was no religion involved that day. And there was no love either. Because “love and gay” meant “sex and buggery”. Still does I think. Not love at all.
And in the absence of love is my easy disgust, disapproval and fear.
Fear of … ?
Being seduced and finding I like it!
That turned my stomach for decades. No religion involved. The thought of enjoying buggery! The thought of a grunting-sweaty-hairy-chested-adonis (never an ugly one) doing “things” to me – and me finding I liked it …
Nothing in me could countenance that.
I would lose my way of life, my friends, my job, my future! Which was enough fear to keep fear and disgust firmly in place – and prevent me from ever finding out by mistake that I might actually have a stray and uninvited gay desire within me.
As I have grown older I find myself more accepting of any and all “stray desires”. More understanding that I don’t have to act upon any of them. That saying no is okay – and without any “necessary” fear-disgust as a barrier to being “infected”.
And with the absence of fear? Love is again not only possible but easy.
“They” become us – and “them” becomes my issue not “theirs”. Because only when I allow my fear to get in the way is love impossible.
And in the absence of love …
Comes religious justification. Commandments and laws. Correctness and
derision forgiveness. All justified and commanded by the Holy Scriptures. Scriptures of God and therefore above the law of the secular world. But above even “the law”? It is the truth – God says!
All so easily used and abused to validate my
cultural secular inbred and hardwired disgust and fear biblical correctness. To sidestep my responsibility and my allowing and my fear. All so that I can say “God says” – so I am right – so I can say …
I would love you if I was allowed – but God says that is a sin too far – so you are welcome if you keep it to yourself and/or tell us you don’t really do “it”. Then we can all pretend that you are not “one of them” at all (even though you are).
Yes it does. Yesterday and today in this all are welcome western “church” of every denomination and religion – it happens today. Anyone who denies it is denying the truth.
Which is why I believe that “God says” is the crappiest reason for excluding anyone. That “God says” is exactly the religious pride the Gospels teach as wrong. And that religious pride is not about God at all.
It is about fear.