Today I’m back on agreeing to differ. A while ago now, I stood up and challenged a homophobic woman who was speaking out during a service at the church I was attending at the time (you can read the post here). It wasn’t something I’d planned to do – in fact, if I’d known in advance I was going to do it, I’d have hidden under the dining room table and refused to go to church that day. But I didn’t, and I did, and I haven’t been back in a while.
At this time of the year, I particularly miss being part of a church congregation. The vicar was sure I would come back once I understood that it isn’t homophobic to offer gay conversion therapy, and I thought I might go back if he acknowledged that it is. ‘But Antonia,’ he said earnestly, ‘if someone wants to change something about themselves, they must be allowed the help they need to do that.’ It’s clear, then; you can only be equal if you deny an essential part of who you are. You can only be equal if you deny what God made you, and pretend to be how someone in authority thinks God should have made you.
We see the same thing in the world beyond the small parish church. Donald Trump, so sure that God loves him that he’s never felt it necessary to ask for forgiveness. David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan and Trump’s champion, decrying the degeneration of tradition Christian family values. They’re bent on creating a world in which certain people, certain sections of society, are to be denounced as less than perfect. Mexicans are rapists. Women should be hot, available and receptive to a quick grope from a famous man. And everyone, really, should be white and growing up in a nuclear family unit consisting of a man, a woman and one or more siblings. These Christian men reject, utterly, the idea that people might be just fine the way they are.
And when you live in a world that rejects the idea that you might be just fine the way you are, you’re unlikely to think that you’re just fine the way you are. Hell, you might even go seeking gay conversion therapy of your own accord.
I thought about this a great deal as I stitched at the black cloaks. There is nothing like working with your hands to set your mind free, and those cloaks had long seams. I’m not God – the cloaks are miracles of unevenness and cobbled hemming – but they’ll do the job (of which I shall write in a later post). If God had made them, they’d fit perfectly, flow like water and make the wearers look like the woman in the Scottish Widows advertisement. They would be the embodiment of the idea of Cloak. But instead of making my cloaks for me, God made Human Beings.
So, at the moment – and this is Day 15, so I really should be getting somewhere with this – the point of God is that we should accept ourselves as we are. Moreover, that we should accept each other that way too. Gay, straight, neither of the above, black, white, child, adult, left or right handed and who the hell are we to define physical perfection anyway? Why are we so keen on creating a world in which Human Being is less perfect, less beautiful, than Cloak?