Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Repentance of a former AFA columnist

Last week some of you may have seen the link to this interview on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Joe R. Murray, former columnist for the anti-gay American Family Association, now supports gay rights, including civil same-sex marriage, and explains why he no longer believes homosexual relationships are immoral.

For recent readers of this blog you can find my own view on homosexuality, which differs slightly from Mr. Murray's, posted here. That aside, there is so much he says that I can relate to in my own journey regarding this issue, particularly the following.

. . . I have always been concerned about the values coming out of the Castro District [in San Fransciso]. I see the hatred some of these people have towards my Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and I just took their anger as proof that some folks on the Christian right were accurate in their depiction of the "homosexual agenda." I failed to investigate the matter and just adopted the party line-this was a monumental error on my part.

It was not until I began to look closer at the issue that I came to realize that: (a) not all of the gay community is represented by those marching in the streets of San Francisco and (b) those in the streets had a right to be angry, for they have been told for years that they were immoral, sinful and shameful. How horrible must it be to be condemned due to a trait you had no control over. I thought, hell, I would be angry, too. Even further, when I looked at society, I found that most of our societal institutions worked against the gay community.

I believe that the gay community is a strong community and is as equally diverse as the Christian community. And just as some of the radicals on allegedly representing Christianity, i.e. Fred Phelps, should not be used to describe the Christian church, those radicals on the gay issue should not define the gay community.

Pam's House Blend has now done a follow-up interview with Mr. Murray, where he answers questions from LGBT readers. I thought his answers were again very encouraging, especially the humility he shows here:
[Question:] There are a lot of people who will react to your change of heart with mistrust, and who believe that you are either insincere or are not undoing anything you've done to the LGBT community. How would you respond?

JRM: They have every reason to be cautious, I know I would be. I would ask that I be given time to prove myself, and then I can be judged by the LGBT community. I guess I am saying what my grandmother has always told me, "Actions speak louder than words." Give me time and I will give you action.