An Open Letter To Our Church

by Louie Crew

First appeared in Integrity: Gay Episcopal Forum 1.1 (November 1974)

© 1974 by Integrity: Gay Episcopal Forum; © 2004 by Louie Crew

Advent is a time for cleaning house in our personal relations so that we can come to the joy of Christmas in love with each other, and ready to celebrate the Lord's coming. Sometimes it is healthy when the offended share the fact that they hurt. As such a catharsis this editorial is penned.
When we have come to you in silence, you have ignored us.

When we have sought a place to be with persons we love, you have given us only the streets, the tearooms, the bars, and the baths.

When we have come to you for counsel, you have enjoyed your sibilance in "explaining" that we are not sinners of your breed, but rather are a very special kind of sinner, one with no hope whatsoever until we become sinners of your breed....

When we have remained quietly in your midst, you have bad mouthed God's gift of sexuality to us, making us scapegoats for all the blame you want to place for your falling civilization.

When we have come to you as priests or bishops, you have welcomed us only partially and have castrated our sexuality from our spirituality.

You have forced wives on us whom we could not love so fully as boys, husbands on us whom we could not love so completely as girls.

You have taught us to fear most the honesty our Gay sisters and brothers have a right to expect from us, and you have made us send thousands of false signals so that no one would ever guess what drives us to bring the Gospel while we experience so little of it for ourselves.

When we have proudly proclaimed that we are Gay, you have been embarrassed and have whispered that we are indelicate or "flaming," and some of you have even called anonymously to say that "faggots still ought to be used to burn witches!"

You have roundly and legalistically refused to honor our marriages, even when we use the Prayer Book in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Even when we have merely introduced ourselves as lovers, you have said that we are flagrant, and you have let us know all too well not even to suggest aloud that the Mass is offered in the name of Gay persons, because you do not care for us even enough to pray for us explicitly.

When we have asked you to provide space for Gays to meet together, you have delayed or denied us outright, sometimes preferring to make such space available to Gays in Gay churches rather than even to those with whom you might more closely be associated.

You have provided no money to support any ministry to us, although for centuries you have welcomed our contributions to your orphanages, to your half-way houses for unwanted mothers, to your nurseries, to your family dinners and bazaars.

When we have come under attack from outsiders, you have refused to defend us even when you have possessed all of the evidence necessary, preferring "to let the matter pass without polarization" -- because you do not want to know even for yourself what side you are really on.

When because of such attacks we have needed words of love and warmth, we have waited long nights in silence for your call, and we have known that many a pagan would be less offended than you had we called for help.

When you have spoken to us in public, it has seemed done to demonstrate your claim to "bigness" more than to demonstrate your sense of our oneness; your children have been more honest in looking away with the fear that you have taught them to have of us.

When you have been forced to recognize our achievements, you have seen them as proof of your good taste ln finding treasure ln a waste heap.

At best, we have been a quaint fulfillment, a conversation piece, for all your fantasies about what you see as abnormal in yourself.

You have preached against your prejudices towards races, towards the poor, towards the old....., but you have not even mentioned your prejudices against us, because even the subject of Gayness is not respected by you.

"If this is so, why do you keep coming to our Church?" you revealingly ask.

"Because it is not your Church, but the Lord's," we reply. We come at His own bidding and explicit invitation: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Our God is no respecter of persons. We keep coming because He continues to feed us in "these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of his son our Savior Jesus Christ."

NonGay churchpersons, why do you keep coming to the Lord's Church? Are you in need of a physician? Are you in love and charity with us? Do you really acknowledge that we are of the same baptism and are sisters and brothers in the unity of the faith? Just what kind of God do you really worship? We have been watching you all our lives, and we still are not sure.


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