I work with an outlaw-biker-turned-Bible-thumping-physical-therapy-assistant named Paul. * He is, I believe, someone who needs Jesus. The world is better for Paul having turned his life over to Him. Paul is also opinionated, domineering, and just bright enough to be a nuisance in general.
He and I have come to a peaceful detente regarding religion. He is an evangelical Young Earth Creationist, while I am an unapologetic atheist . After many discussions that went absolutely nowhere, I asked him to not talk to me about religion any more, and this is my favorite part, because I didn't want to offend him. I don't care if I offend him, but I definitely care if I offend others. As the minority atheist at work, I am not in a good position to debate with clods like Paul. I have stopped talking about it with everybody now that they have stopped trying to convert me. I accomplished my goal: they have to be quiet about their God and just let me do my job.
I don't know how this conversation started the other day, but Paul was talking with others in the same room about his niece, a lesbian. He said, "I told her that although I don't approve of her lifestyle, it is not up to me to judge." Before I could stop myself, I said, "It is NOT a lifestyle." He then said, "Well, it's a choice." I said, "It is NOT a choice!" I went from just sitting there trying to ignore him to wanting to drill a hole in his head with my objections to the idiocy he was spewing.
Very quickly, we realized we had to agree to disagree and just drop it. That was fine with me, but I was really bothered with a few aspects of the interaction. First, why do I care so much about this issue? I am clearly heterosexual. I think it is because I know that his objection to it comes from his Christian indoctrination. I have it on good word that before his conversion, Paul was omnisexual. We have a friend in common out of the deep past, who has told me stories about Paul's sexual history, and suffice it to say Paul has calmed down quite a bit, and settled down to being interactive with one gender only (and possible one species only, who knows?).
Ok, so whatever. Paul has found Jesus and is now proclaiming that homosexuality is a choice and a lifestyle. I don't care what he believes, but I could not let his bombastic, judgmental, ignorant rant go unchallenged. What surprised me was how angry it made me. I think my indignation comes from being protective of the gays and lesbians among us who have had to listen to the likes of Paul while struggling to be true to themselves. I know that one of my friends, a lesbian, was depressed and suicidal through most of her teens and early twenties because of her homosexuality. It pained me to hear her account of it and I have never forgot it. It was she who educated me about how homosexuality was neither a lifestyle nor a choice, and how much she hated herself because she was told it was both.
I can imagine being told that being of short stature is a lifestyle and a choice, and how painful that would be to me. I am sick of Jesus' followers, under the guise of spreading His "love," perpetuate hateful and hurtful stances towards a certain percentage of the population. It shouldn't go unanswered! In the interest of being professional at work and protecting my good name and my job, I have to let him say what he will, keep my mouth shut, and vent elsewhere. It is so difficult, because Paul gives me so many opportunities during which I want to set him straight. Alas, it is futile in his case.
* Name changed to ed to protect the clueless.