This post is written by guest writer Adrienne. She is currently attending Texas A&M in the Ph.D. English program.
I Hugged a Man in His Underwear. And I am Proud.
Are people reading this story? And if so, did they read it (like I did) because a friend posted it or brought it up while talking about how wonderful and truly powerful it is? And am I the only one that is still really upset and horrified by the message implicit in these events?
I like leading questions, don't you?
I get why people like this. I understand that the message people like in this story is that Christianity should love everyone and be inclusive and not judge. And that Christians can apologize and be humble and take responsibility. I can see how people would want to be drawn in and believe in this. The message at the parade was probably more powerful and less upsetting than this article. Or I'm willing to give the original message the benefit of the doubt.
But what I can't ignore when I read the article is that it is saying "I'll hug you even though you're sinful." Nathan writes, "Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it" and further "I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so." Unless we're taking this completely out of context (and even probably then), wasn't the reason that Jesus hung with those people was to help those most in need? Yes, he treated them well and maybe would have even if he wasn't trying to help or save them. But it was always connected to the message of helping or saving. This still sits firmly in the "Love the homosexual and hate homosexuality" area for me. This doesn't support gay rights, and supporting individual gays isn't enough. Yes, everyone should treat everyone else as a human being. It is important to know that the man dancing in his underwear is named Tristan. But unlike the article, we shouldn't know this in spite of the fact that the man is dancing in his underwear. Just stop at the "this is a man." Or he's awesome and great because he's dancing in his underwear. And stop being so proud that you hugged the controversial and icky. Nathan takes great pains to remind us that the man he hugged (that he wants to focus on) was in his UNDERWEAR. Nathan hugged a gay man that was being "flagrantly gay!" Like Jesus washed a leper, this author hugged sweaty abs, nudity, and a penis that was only barely covered. Gay is clearly already gross to the author and the reader. But they love gross anyway. I can't really love you unless I love who you are. I don't support you until I support who you are. To really support glbtia people then support glbtia rights and activism.
And even though he mentions the word a number of time- I don't see any real engagement with what reconciliation is going on here. Seems to me like if reconciliation is necessary then full acceptance isn't possible. Even from a loving Christianity mentality, Christianity is about hierarchy, behavior, and judgment.
I do not see this as a step in the right direction. It's a step "forward" that is still on the completely wrong path. I'm glad he apologized, openly and publicly. I'm really not glad he wrote this article about it.