Two articles in today's Post-Gazette caught my attention.
First, the ongoing drama of the Pittsburgh Episcopals. First, the local diocese decides to vote themselves off the American Episcopal Church island over the ordination of woman and gays. A few Pittsburgh churches stay on the island. Then the island itself (American Church – stay with me) debishops the Pittsburgh Bishop, Robert Duncan. Then some worldwide dioceses headed by a truly heinous man, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, deemed Duncan a “martyr” and welcomed him and his merry flock of bigots to their island.
All that's left is more finger pointing and the sorting out of the diocesan possessions. What a nasty, ugly divorce this has been and too bad for the kids.
One does not, however, have to look too far for the fallout of this type of theocratic driven intolerance and hatred. Just flip to this story in the Post-Gazette of a 75 year old man who was murdered by an 18 year old young man. Guess what brought them together?
We have evidence the defendant offered to have sex with Mr. Jones, left the room and when he returned, he either beat Mr. Jones or stabbed Mr. Jones,” Mr. Peck said. “And as a result of the stab wounds, according to Dr. [Cyril] Wecht who performed the autopsy … Mr. Jones died.”
Detectives said Mr. Mowry beat Mr. Jones with chimes from a grandfather clock, a candlestick and his fists. He then stabbed Mr. Jones and cut his throat. After that, Mr. Mowry said, he “stuck around” for a while drinking, then took $400 in cash from Mr. Jones' apartment and the keys to his gray 1990 Cadillac.
“He then set the house on fire in a number of different places,” Mr. Peck said, and left in Mr. Jones' car.
Now here's the thing. Mr. Jones was a 75 year respected businessman from a prominent family. Why is he trolling for sex with an 18 year old? How on earth does a 75 year old get to the point that he picks up a practical child to have sex? There are tons of ways he could be having sex in a healthy, constructive manner even with 18 year men-children. On the flip side, what's going on with Mr. Mowry's self-loathing? Beating an old man to death with a candlestick to steal $400? After using himself as bait? What?
It is a lurid, horrific tale that I'm sure the Episco-bigots could spin three ways to Tuesday to describe why gay people are immoral. I choose to look at this tragedy as a consequence of a society and societal institutions — LIKE CHURCHES — that promote this distorted perspective on homosexuals and promulgate the self-loathing that was coursing through the veins of these two men.
While Bishop Duncan and the members of his former diocese are not directly to blame for the obviation of these two men, there is certainly some culpability in the fact of their outright rejection of Bishop Gene Robinson's homosexual identity. It sends a message to the entire community that you think we are second class citizens, folks. And you bear some moral responsibility for that message. Because it is your example that parents invoke when they boot their 17 year old gay son out on the street. It is your example in the minds of young men who beat up two men for looking queer. Your example that underscores the hisses of “dyke” when women who don't conform to gender normative behavior walk across the parking lot of the Waterfront.
You all may be good church going, God-fearing people who would never lay a hand on another individual or deny a child a place to lay his head at night. But the tremendous amount of energy you have put into this message of hatred and intolerance has forever scarred American faith communities. You can run away to Nigeria and seek refuge with other defenders of a faith that condemns human beings for simply being gay. Your self-righteous hate may protect you from remorse or regret.
But who is protecting the next William Jones? Or the next Anthony Mowry?