I don't think straight people who don't hate gay people understand just how much straight people who hate gay people hate gay people. The New York Times Magazine has an article about an Episcopal bishop in Virginia who voted in favor of the confirmation of Gene Robinson on the grounds of diocesan autonomy, and the vitriol he has thence had to endure from his parishes. The argument is made that this is a doctrinal matter, that biblical authority is being undermined. But that's not all that's going on here.
I can't figure out what goes on with religious homophobes in the general case. When I was a religious homophobe, I always came back to the idea that God knows what's best for us, in both this life and the next, and wouldn't ban homosexuality if it were really harmless. But I did not have the visceral, hostile attitudes that some of the people in this article seem to have. I would like to believe that their defensiveness comes from being unable to accept that their church's position--or more accurately, their interpretation of the Bible's position--is fundamentally cruel. The first thing a Christian is taught is that God is love, and that doesn't square with God is cruel. And it is cruel. It is cruel. It is nothing if not cruel.
But ofttimes it seems that the Bible's position is used as an excuse for already extant homophobia. Well, homophobia and Christianity have been intertwined for a long time, so maybe it's not as simple as that. But if I were faced with the difficult choice between "My God is not cruel" and "My Bible is always correct" then I would pick the former. Why would you pick the latter? Why? Why serve an unjust God? A cruel God? Somewhere in the Catholic liturgy it says that God is "all deserving of our love." He is only that if he is good. If he is cruel, then he is not deserving of our love, and the Bible can go jump into a lake.
I'm pretty glad I never had to make that decision, since I gave up my religion before admitting to myself that I was a lesbian. But come on, people, do you know what you look like?
--Melissa O, at 22:45