To Speak or To Be Silent

By: Rev. Vera I. Bourne

Way back in those days when I was young, I was an activist in the first political group in Australia, CAMP NSW. I was also a hurting Christian, one who had been barred from her church because of her sexuality. In those days, before even the first GLBT protest march, we were gathering ourselves as a group, learning each other's skills, and utilizing them. We rented premises and established a help line for counselling the members of our community, this was known as Phone a Friend. Since then this service has grown a hundred-fold and is now known as Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service.

And then in 1978 we marched, singing our way through the streets of Sydney, bearing banners and placards, and sure enough, the police picked us up, bundled us into paddy wagons and took us to various city cells.

Those were the days when I was young, hurt and angry, and determined to let the whole world know of the discrimination against the GLBT community. I made very few friends in the straight world, and those church doors stayed firmly closed against me.

Now the years have passed, and I have encountered much more prejudice as the years rolled by, but I have also watched the very slow acceptance of Gays and Lesbians in the wider community, and have seen the Federal Government change legislation that discriminated against our community. Gay men are less likely to be beaten up and left for dead in the gutters than they were 35 years ago. And I have spent the past 30 years in rural Australia, 27 of those years on a farm where all damaged or abused men, women and animals were welcomed without question. Some churches have opened their doors to members of our community. I have changed also.

If I were to be challenged today by those who believe that GLBT people are damned and have no place in the dominion of God, I am so convinced that I am one of the "whosoever" of John 3:16 that I would answer in the words of the song, "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Technicolour Coat.

Close every door to me,
Hide all the world from me
Bar all the windows
And shut out the light
Do what you want with me,
Hate me and laugh at me
Darken my daytime
And torture my night
If my life were important I
Would ask will I live or die
But I know the answers lie
Far from this world
Close every door to me,
Keep those I love from me
Children of Israel
Are never alone
For I know I shall find
My own peace of mind
For I have been promised
A land of my own.

Just give me a number
Instead of my name
Forget all about me
And let me decay
I do not matter,
I'm only one person
Destroy me completely
Then throw me away
If my life were important I
Would ask will I live or die
But I know the answers lie
Far from this world.

I know that I am a child of the living God, and that there is a place prepared for me beyond death's doorway. I have no need to waste words arguing with those who will not have their biased views challenged or changed. Instead, my words must be and are of encouragement to those who are looking for answers and for a relationship with their Creator.

Instead of spruiking hurt, I choose my God-given capacity to write meditations, articles and stories that speak of God's ever-present and overpowering love. The words of my lips have been transformed by the love of Jesus into actions from my heart.

Copyright by the author All Rights Reserved

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