Sunday, August 13, 2006

Burning bridges with Biblical literalists

I was re-reading Jeffrey Siker's closing essay in his book Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate (see the post below for my long-winded review) while eating breakfast at Valois restaurant in Hyde Park this morning. Valois is what my ex-father-in-law used to call "just a joint:" a cafeteria with no real atmosphere but that serves good food cheap. It's frequented by everyone from college kids to elderly condo dwellers, but on Sunday morning there are a large number of black folks of all social strata who come there for a good cheap breakfast after church.

Near the end of my meal, I went to the restroom, and left the book on the table with the rest of my food. As I came back, this very-nicely dressed older black man at the next table touched me on the arm, pointed to the Siker book, and said in a gently chiding tone, "Son, don't you know that there aren't two sides to that debate? The Bible is clear about what God thinks about that topic."

I'm sure he was trying to be kind. I know, in my heart, it was a chance for witnessing. But I'd been reading on half-a-dozen blogs about how Biblical literalists have stomped all over gay folk, and I just wasn't ready to buy it.

I looked at him with what I'm sure was a shocked expression, and I just blurted out, "Yeah, well, that same Bible was used to justify keeping black people in slavery for more than a hundred years....talking about slaves submitting to their masters, if I remember right. Do you suppose the Bible was right about THAT, TOO?"

Well, about a dozen heads (mostly black) turned and stared - so I picked up the book, left the other half of my pancakes behind, and walked out. So much for building bridges between gays and biblical literalists...


  1. Steve

    I wish I could have been there. When you are looking for a situation to ignore patience, tolerance and live and let life, there could not be a better one dished up than that.

  2. Recently we were driving by a group of Christians holding up signs saying things like, "The Bible Says Homosexuality is a Sin!" I resisted grace, and shouted out the window, "It says the same about divorce!"

    Not too many bridges being built there, either.