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Darkness Shall Not Overcome It

Lori Heine


In our struggle, the light overcomes the darkness. We are fighting for the right to love - in the very face of hate. But the fight is ours to win. For we fight with the light of truth on our side.

Make no mistake about it - the anti-gay forces believe that love can be offensive to God. They claim, for the most part, to be Christians, but I don't know how they can maintain the delusion that theirs is the God of Jesus Christ. The God of Christ's Gospel is the God of love - the God Who is Love. All of the Gospel, and all of our faith-history as revealed in Scripture, is the story of God's unsurpassable love for the human beings "He" has created.

It is clear that there is a creational aspect to homo- and bisexuality. It is becoming increasingly apparent that God created us just as we are. We bring special talents and a unique perspective to the world, revealing ourselves not as "biological errors," but as part of an obviously deliberate divine plan. God seems to want to teach the human race something about the wondrous variety possible in the human race "He" loves - and, indeed, about love itself. But what might this lesson be?

First of all, let's not forget what our self-appointed enemies so often do: that our orientation is about not just sex, but love. It equips us not only to enjoy sexual relations with those of our own sex, but to love them, as deeply, romantically and enduringly as any woman ever loved a man or vice versa. What has twisted inside of people who are offended by love - or whose minds are so mired in the gutter that they refuse to recognize love, seeing only animal lust in its place? Why, when they speak about us, do they so doggedly ignore (as in the current battle over gay marriage) that we are not content merely with having all the sex we can stand, but aspire to consecrate and honor our love as they do theirs?

"But they're pious," we so often hear. "They're concerned about morality." Maybe some sort of morality, but not Christian morality in any sense Christ would recognize. It's time to stop making excuses for those who distort and defame the Gospel. They may be misguided and well-meaning - there's no need to return the favor by dismissing them as evil - but they are in grievous error all the same, and whatever their intentions may be, the evil they are doing us is real.

Good always overcomes evil. Goodness and light will ultimately prevail over the darkness that threatens to engulf us. Scripture assures us of this, and we need never be afraid. "I," Jesus promises us, "have overcome the world." But He also makes clear that He will not simply take us out of the world, because we are sorely needed here.

We in the GLBT community - especially those of us who are Christians - must show forth the glory God has vested in us. We GLBT Christians are to provide a special savor to the salt of the earth and a unique manifestation of the Light of the World Who is in us. By insisting upon loving, even in the ugly face of so much hate, we testify to the power of love to overcome hate. We show that love will outlast hate, because it is always stronger.

During the AIDS crisis, our foes chose hate over love and darkness over light. They tried to turn religion against us, even as they might have used it to bring us solace, and they let thousands of gay men die rather than care for them. They could have chosen to follow the example of Jesus and served as healers. But like the religious big shots that would have prohibited Jesus from healing on the Sabbath, they chose legalism over love. And we all know what Jesus thought about that.

Many in our community, however, recognized what Jesus is really all about. Facing death every day, reckoning hourly with eternity, we chose to care for each other. We chose dignity. We chose love. And our community experienced a spiritual revival that was nothing short of a miracle.

We trusted in God's love. We believed in the power of love to overcome hate. We believed in the power of light to overcome darkness. I believe this is why, even as the forces arrayed against us tried to poison the public mind with assertions about "divine retribution," during this dark period we nonetheless gained ever-increasing public support. People whose hearts and minds are open know the power of love when they see it.

I was inspired to come out and accept myself as a lesbian by the example of other GLBT Christians. I chose to believe that God made love, that God loves love, and that God loves me. I was one of the multitude who witnessed the power of those who choose to love instead of hate, of those who choose to tell the truth about themselves instead of hiding behind the seeming safety of lies.

I came out because I want to marry for love, and to make love the center of my life. I believe that love is what makes life worth living, and that hate has the wrong answer. I chose life over a living death. I chose light over darkness. I chose truth over a lie.

How could I have revealed my glory by living a lie? By refusing to trust in God, or to take a chance on God's love - living, instead, in fear? We can live in darkness, or we can live in light. But only the light can reveal our glory.

Scripture makes plain that followers of God love the light and hate the darkness, while those who prefer darkness - whatever claims they might make about themselves - do not truly belong to God in Jesus Christ. It is not GLBT Christians who fear truth, but rather those who oppose and oppress us, even when they claim to be doing so in Christ's Name. They are perfectly content to let us go on hiding. But when we expose their lies about us to the light of truth, they flee in panic or turn on us in blind rage.

When Canon Gene Robinson chose to live the truth as a gay man, in a committed relationship with a same-sex partner, were the church's conservatives angry simply because he was gay? They didn't seem to mind it, as long as he kept quiet about it. And, of course, they would have preferred he live alone (even though the Episcopal Church permits its priests to marry), rather than in loving partnership with a spouse who could help him in his ministry. But even his marriage to another man was okay with them, as long as he maintained a public lie that condemned it. Make no mistake about it, it was his insistence upon telling the truth - and living in truth - that brought on such hostile opposition to his election as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The next time someone tells us they are confused as to which side is right - that which supports us, or that which condemns us - we can point these undeniable facts out to them. For the light reveals our glory. It is the glory of God's love. It is the glory of the Light that overcomes all darkness.

The lesson God wishes to teach the world through us seems somehow connected to our ability to trust in "Him" - and in the ultimate victory of love. But it also concerns, I'm sure, the transforming power of truth. Love is nothing to be ashamed of. Slowly, and at tremendous personal risk, we are showing humankind that we need be ashamed of nothing but dishonesty and hate. We are bearing a witness - as powerful as any in the history of humanity - to the truth of the very Gospel our enemies would use to condemn us.

The Gospel cannot - and will not - be used to teach any lesson other than that which was intended by Jesus Christ. That "The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

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