Pastor’s gay bashing, discrimination ‘startling’

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Pastor Mark Hall’s advocacy of Proposition 8, which seeks to limit marriage to heterosexual couples as Biblically “correct,” is startling to me. It reminds me of the civil rights days when my dad, also a Baptist minister, started quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s Biblically-based ideas. Part of his congregation believed my dad was out of order and biblically-wrong. Fortunately, the majority of the congregation interpreted the Bible, Jesus and MLK otherwise — with the emphasis upon compassion, justice, and inclusion rather than exclusion. And now we continue to have “believers” who say that homosexuals are living sinful lifestyles, and are thus not suited to provide the loving bonds desired in a marriage and family. Early in my career as a psychotherapist, I was privileged to hear presentations by many mature, responsible persons with same-gender sexual preferences. Without exception, they all described the earlier pain of trying to be heterosexual and needing to hide their preference to avoid the insults and condemnation of non-gays, which included the righteous-religious. Although they had persevered with building their lives, they often still experienced exclusion from the dominant community. It’s puzzling that so many of the anti-gay marriage advocates wish to resist the findings of brain-researchers, anthropologists, and other scientists that homosexuality exists culturewide, and that genetics play a major role from birth. Homosexual behavior even plays an important adaptive function in various animal species when their survival is threatened and greater nurturing is required. Seems like this is a marvelous example of compassion and justice that is taught throughout the Bible, and particularly by Jesus. When we will ever learn? And do we really need these awkward labels when we are all of one essence? John Koehler Auburn