Friday, September 12, 2008


" [Maurice] Sendak, who had a five-decade partnership with another man, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, who died last year, 'I just didn’t think it was anybody’s business.'

"The article also cited Sendak as saying that early in his career--50 or 60 years ago--being openly gay was not an option for a writer and artist who wanted to make a career for himself, particularly not when he specialized in children’s books.

"But Sendak’s closet went deeper still; the article said that he kept his secret from his parents, and quoted Sendak as saying, 'All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy.'

"Added Sendak, 'They never, never, never knew.'"

[For the full article, see here.]

This is a very tragic story on a number of fronts. Mr. Sendak's self-loathing for all those years, keeping "the secret" from his parents until they died, and resenting the fact most of his eighty years that he wasn't Straight. Most all of this self-loathing can be directly laid at the feet of organized "religion!"

Even for one who espouses no religion, as does Mr. Sendak, the pervasive influence of "religion" (as it's conventionally defined) cannot help but serve to "justify" homophobia and, whether or not one believes in God, provides a claim for the "immorality" of being Gay that cannot be avoided, even by atheists, in a country where most of its clergy and their followers largely extol and preach a perverse view of God.

Whereas God is loving and inclusive, most all of organized religion identifies God with condemnation of who they, the clergy, define as "sinners" (all the while appealing to their interpretations of selected verses of the Bible, devoid of nuance of translation and context) and, therefore, lay people blindly accept that definition whether or not they view themselves as "religious."

Grace, faith, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness have no influence on these purveyors of a false god, their false god, their own very deification of their prejudices and, frequently, hate filled hearts.

They show themselves to know nothing about the very rudiments of the Gospel, and they take their ignorance, adorn it with the trappings of assorted modes of dress and titles, claim moral hegemony over others, often claim a direct and sometimes exclusive pipeline to God, and convince others as to the accuracy of their definitions of reality and their definitions and claims of God Himself.

So many clergy and their blind followers are wittingly or unwittingly wolves in sheep's clothing, and have a pervasive influence on secular society that cannot be denied, and that influence even unwittingly extends to many professed atheists as well. Clearly, one can be sincere, but sincerely wrong!

In order for the Maurice Sendak's of the world, and there are many of them, now and in future generations, to never be afraid or to never live their lives wishing to be other than who and what God made them, all people who care about equality for all people, and who realize that to deprive one group of dignity and full and equal civil and sacramental rights threatens all of us, I believe all of us must engage in the struggle for full equality for LGBT people on three fronts: 1. Fighting misconceptions about sexuality and sexual orientation and identity; 2. Fighting the self-loathing and consequent destructive attitudes and behaviors among all too many Gay people that are inhibiting getting full and equal rights; 3. Fighting the perversion of Christianity, where the "fundamentalists" (for want of a better term) monopolize the media and the pulpits so as to show Christianity to be equivalent to a judgmental, genitally obsessed, religion.
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genevieve said...

I read about Mr. Sendak a few days ago. As read this post, this is so sad. What galls me is that gay people are treated the way they are by organized religion.

I will doing an in-depth study on why the nations of Israel and Judah were judged by God. America faces the same judgment. THere were 5-7 reasons why those nations were judged. Being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender were NOT the reasons as so many in the church like to think.

I gotten to the point where I'm tired of the GLBT being trashed. I have spoken out and I will be more vocal.


Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Gennee: You may be thinking of Sodom and Gomorrah, and you're absolutely right: They were not judged for homosexuality or anything related to it. They were largely judged for their inhospitality and for not taking care of the poor.

And, their judgment by God was determined BEFORE the attempted gang rape of the angels by the men of Sodom.

The more people of faith speak out against the abomination of professing Christians condemning LGBT people, or anyone else for that matter, the more we might be able to help reclaim the dignity and the honor that Christianity deserves.


You know, Jerry, this war against heterosexist ignorance just may be won by the likes of you and Genevieve and Gavin Newsom . . . Straight allies. More and more, I'm beginning to think the majority of LGBT folk just don't have the wherewithal to fight their own fight. They'd rather surrender to the forces of ignorance, embrace the stereotype, live inside the box labeled "pervert".

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Don Charles. Gennee is a transgendered woman, but your point is very well taken. There are people like you, Gennee, Troy Perry, Mel White, and whole host of other LGBT people who have transcended the hateful stereotypes and vilification from so many others, especially professing "Christians," that shows that it is not only possible for others to do the same, but also enables others to become potential allies.

As you so correctly point out, all too many LGBT people "embrace the stereotype, live inside the box labeled 'pervert'," because they are unwitting accomplices of the oppressor.

You, Gennee, and others are, by your words and deeds, showing LGBT people that one must not do that; showing potential allies that LGBT people are "normal," and are not hedonistic freaks out to destroy society.

In that way, increasing numbers of Straight allies are emboldened to not only be allies, but assertive allies in fighting for equal rights for LGBT people.

All too often, many people in the LGBT communities engage in self-defeating, counterrevolutionary, self-destructive, and counterproductive actions that stick a finger in the eye of potential allies, as well as doing inestimable harm to the cause of LGBT rights. It's certainly not fair to other LGBT people who do want, and absolutely deserve, all of the rights and responsibilities that accrue to all other citizens.

You, Gennee, Troy, and others are role models for recruiting increasing numbers of Straight allies who are desperately needed if full and equal civil and sacramental rights are to become a reality in the foreseeable future.