Today is the International Day Against Homophobia. It might be a good day to reflect on how much simpler my life could be if I would only stay quiet about the 'issue' of homosexuality and the church. Yet, I don't think silence is the vocation that I've been called into.
I'm sure people wonder why a heterosexual man would spend the time and energy that I have done campaigning for greater understanding and acceptance of gay and lesbian people within the church and more specifically within The Salvation Army. The answer is pretty simple really - I keep witnessing people being hurt by ignorance and prejudice and I refuse to allow this situation to continue unchallenged.
I've lost count of the number of people that have told me how they used to be a part of the church but when they awakened to a differing sexuality, they were excluded - some quickly and cruelly and others slowly frozen out. My heart breaks when I hear of the violence inflicted on gay and lesbian people because they are different. I wonder why followers of Jesus, instead of welcoming these marginalised folk, seem to be the chief proponents of highlighting their difference, legitimising prejudice and 'othering'. I am deeply saddened when I hear of occurrences of self-hatred, self-harm and suicide amongst LGBT people, many of whose misconceptions of their own self-worth have been driven home by 'well-meaning' Christians.
So, while LGBT people continue to be the victims of intimidation, bullying and violence, I'll fight.
While Christians hide their prejudice behind a handful of out-of-context scriptures, I'll fight.
While the church remains closed to my gay and lesbian friends, I'll fight.
While love comes second to man-made rules, I'll fight to the very end.