Friday, March 28, 2014

An Open Letter to Pat Robertson

This piece also appears on HuffPost Gay Voices

Dear Pat,

May I call you Pat? I don’t want to appear disrespectful, but then again you say so many ugly things against gay people that I doubt my calling you by your first name will register any kind of disrespect. Hopefully calling you Pat will humanize you a little. So I’ll ask, Pat do you ever think about the things you say and how your words hurt or offend people? Do thoughts and ideas pop into your head and then come out of your mouth without you knowing it? Is your filter broken? 

Do you remember the TV program The Golden Girls? The character Sophia Petrillo? Do you remember when the series started how Sophia would say whatever she wanted with no filter? That was because she had had a stroke, Pat. Now don’t get angry. I’m not suggesting that you’ve had a stroke, but I am worried about you. Have you been to a doctor. Is everything ok?

You’ve been on my mind for quite a while. I’ve been meaning to write you, but just haven’t been able to get my thoughts together enough to put them into the words that I want to say to you. That changed this morning. Over my coffee I decided to pour over some of your most recent headline-making comments. What a way to ruin a good cup of coffee.

It’s people with attitudes like you who have turned me off from organized religion. I have lost that sense of community that comes from attending church meetings on Sunday morning because my experience shows more people like you with close-minded ideas and absurd obsessions with how gay people have sex exist in the Church than those who believe love is love.

None of us can speak for Jesus. Although you do certainly try. You said the following in your latest outlandish speech:

“What would have happened in Jesus’ time if two men decided they wanted to cohabit together, they would have been stoned to death. So Jesus would not have baked them a wedding cake nor would he have made them a bed to sleep in because they wouldn’t have been there. But we don’t have that in this country here so that’s the way it is.”

You don’t know what Jesus would do, Pat. He healed the lepers and welcomed the whores, yet you want to say he would've stoned me because I’m gay. 

Conservative Christians like yourself tend to pick certain passages of the Bible to point out the flaws, failures, and sins of others without taking into account that many times those words are the writer’s opinion and have been translated by a human being over the many centuries since they were first written. 

I grew up with so much fear and shame because of the Church. Do you know what that’s like? To be ashamed of who you are and the only feelings you’ve ever known? As an adult I’m still struggling to release the fear and shame that was pounded into me by some man from a pulpit. I’m a perfect person created in the image of God and God created me gay. I used to get so upset when reading your latest verbal antics because people seem to listen to you. You speak to people in your soft grandfatherly voice and they listen. It’s amazing how much like sheep people can actually be when they choose to listen without questioning. Don’t think that your words aren’t still upsetting to me. They are. I’ve just moved passed the anger stage into the saddened stage. 

We’re people, Pat. Human beings who love the same sex. And you think my homosexual relationship is “a meaningless exercise because it doesn’t go anywhere.” Well, Pat it does go somewhere. It’s an extension of love between two people, a connection. So what if my connection can’t produce children. I have never once in my life wanted to be a parent, but I have gay friends who do want to be parents. I have straight friends who don’t want to be parents either. I’m not controlled by Satan. I’m just a man who had the courage to live openly the life that God designed for him. You’re so afraid to even believe there’s a possibility that we’re all on this path to righteousness trying to be the best us we can that you want to throw your verbal stones at anyone and everyone that believes different from you.

I’m sorry you feel that way, Pat. I really am. I’m a great gay. I’m kind and generous. Yes, I have a moody streak that I’m certain makes my friends want to keep their distance, but I’m constantly working toward bettering my life. I talk to God daily. I’m constantly working on my personal relationship with Him. You might actually like me if you got to know me. Although I’m not sure you could see past your prejudgement of me to give yourself the opportunity.

My wish for you (and the rest of us), Pat is that you stop and think about what you’re saying before you say it. Your negative words penetrate the ear of a mother or father or grandmother who might have a family member struggling with the courage to be himself. If they choose to listen to you instead of support their child or grandchild then that child suffers. Your words instill fear and that fear ripples though the world. Stop and think, Pat. God loves us all. God created us all. Just the way we are. I’m not choosing to murder someone, Pat. I’m choosing to love someone of the same sex. Those two things are not even comparable and you should stop suggesting they are. And for the record, I was never molested. I come from a loving Christian home. The progeny of two parents who still love me and welcome me into their home even after knowing I’m gay.

We’re all God’s children. Fear and a lack of understanding fuels those who would rather throw stones at us that try and understand us. I’m proud to be the work-in-progress that I am. I’m truly uncertain why it matters so much to you if same-sex couples exist, get married, have children, but clearly it does. I’m sorry if you have sleepless night worrying about our affect on society. Maybe you should just take a sleeping pill so that your mind can rest. Maybe after a good night’s sleep you will wake refreshed and can move on to more important topics to discuss on “The 700 Club.”


Michael Rohrer

Monday, March 17, 2014

A 'Pursuit of Happiness' Life Lesson

The below story was emailed to me. I do not own it. If I find out who wrote it I will give credit, but for now I want to share it. As one who has walked selfishly through life with his eyes closed--one who has begun to be very aware of his actions and surroundings--I was struck by the idea that if we stop looking out only for ourselves we might find an opportunity to experience life in a different way.

Once a group of 500 people were attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group
activity. He started giving each person a balloon. Each
person was then asked to write their name on it using a
marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and
put in another room.
The people were then let into that room and asked to
find the balloon which had their name written on it
within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching
for their name, colliding with each other, pushing
around others and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Then, the speaker asked each person to randomly collect a
balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it.
Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker then began,
"This is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically
looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people.
Give them their happiness; you will get your own
And this is the purpose of human life...the pursuit of happiness."