Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Mayor of Troy and Gays: A Response


I am hesitant to step into the controversy over remarks made about gays and lesbians by the mayor of Troy, Michigan, because I am on record supporting her opponent in the last election, and because I made clear that I didn’t believe she had the qualities necessary to be mayor.  Watching her actions in the early days of the city's new Council session has not changed my opinion.   But this issue is of a different nature and needs to be addressed as a separate issue.

If you’re not aware of the controversy, a person found in the Facebook feed of Janice Daniels the use of the word queer to refer to gays and lesbians (this is another lesson about being careful in what you say on Facebook).    This is what she wrote
I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there. 
In her response she has said that she still has the bag, loves everybody, but believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In response to the mayor’s posting, which she posted prior to her run for office, I want to make a couple of points. 

First, as to the question of marriage:  Although I have come to the belief that marriage should be extended to gays and lesbians, believing that it is an appropriate extension of Christian understandings of relationships and families for our time, I understand that not everyone holds this view.  In fact, we’re at a tipping point where we are as a nation almost evenly divided, with those under 40 largely supportive and those over 40 not as much.  But on this issue the tide has turned.  So, Ms. Daniels is where a lot of Americans are at on this issue.  It’s her right to hold this position, including her disagreement with the state of New York, and isn’t in itself a cause for disqualification.

Second, as to the use of the word “queer,” that is another issue.  Going to an online dictionary I find these definitions of the word:
1.  not usual: not usual or expected
2.  eccentric: eccentric or unconventional
3.  suspicious: arousing suspicion
4.  nauseated: slightly unwell, especially nauseated or faint
5.  offensive term: an offensive term meaning gay

As you can see from these definitions, this isn’t a term of endearment.    When used in reference to gays and lesbians it is a slur, even as “nigger” is a slur in reference to African Americans.   To use this term is to disparage homosexuals.  In my mind one cannot defend the use of this term in this context, because one opposes gay marriage on religious/cultural grounds doesn't work.  Principled oopposition to gay marriage is not the same thing as disparaging another human being because of their sexual orientation.    

I will not get into the politics of whether Ms. Daniels should resign over this, but I do think that it raises questions of character.  I think it also raises questions about how she views certain members of the community, and whether she can represent them fairly. 

Third, I need to address the use of the word queer by the LGBT community.  Thus, you will see reference to queer studies and queer theology.  There are attempts to subvert the slur, to call attention to the animus that resides under the use of such words, and to turn them upside down.  Ms. Daniels was not using the term in this way.  She was using it to disparage gays and lesbians, whom she believes cannot rightfully be married.


But, if we understand the term "queer"as it is used as a slur, it would suggest that she also believes them to be deviant persons not worthy of respect.  This is troubling, and the reason why I’ve chosen to speak out, not only as a person of faith, but also as a resident of the city of Troy who is concerned about the future of this city.  




Addendum:

10 comments:

Gary said...

First, Cornwall, you are wicked. You are NOT a Christian. You have no faith, at least not the kind the Bible speaks of. If you die in your current state, you will go to Hell, according to the Bible. You have never repented of your sins, and you have no faith toward God. If you had, you would not defend sodomites and favor letting them "marry", which they can't really do since a real mariage requires a man and a woman.

As for the mayor's use of the term "queer", it is entirely appropriate. Homosexuals are queer in every way. One of your problems is you want to "respect" people who don't deserve it, and you want to disrespect God who has condemned both homosexuals AND those who support them. Your morality and your theology are perverted. And you will reap what you have sown.

Glenn said...

Bob,

As a life long resident of Troy, I just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful, measured response to this issue.

Rev. Steven F. Kindle said...

Amen and amen, Bob! I gladly join you on Gary's list of heretics.

Gary said...

Kindle,

You are in the group. Having "Rev." in front of your name won't help you. God knows you're fraud.

Robert Cornwall said...

It took some time for Gary to respond, but I knew he would. I would like to suggest that we not engage him at this time. May the conversation focus on how the mayor's comments reflect upon this city and the way gays and lesbians are received and treated in the community.

Brian said...

I agree with Bob about Gary. The issue has significant meaning on its own merit.

I look forward to viewing the video when I get home this evening, or probably fresh with coffee tomorrow morning.

For what it is worth, I support what you are doing. Speaking your voice in local issues is powerful and courageous. Prayers and blessings as you go forward.

Jayson Elliot said...

Thank you, Pastor Cornwall, for standing up against hatred and bigotry.

As a Christian, I'm proud to share your words with others, especially people who don't see enough examples of Christian love in the world today.

I'm very sorry for the hateful comments some people might post, but I agree that we should ignore them.

Love is stronger than hate, and God's love is for everyone.

Someday we'll look back at anti-gay bigotry as a curious relic of a dark past that we've all put behind us forever.

Gary said...

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1: 27,32

Cathy said...

"WELCOME TO TROY, City of tomorrow..today"
That is Troy's motto - written on the signs as you enter the city limits. Mayor Daniels' public announcement does not support this well known quote seen by all who visit or call Troy home. We just recently moved from Troy after residing there for 21 yrs. Therefore I am well aware of the hypocrisy her stance and selfish need to make known her personal moral issues do to set this "City of Tomorrow" backwards. That outlook makes this NOT a City of Tomorrow, let alone "even today, or yesterday" but of an era we all thought or at least hoped was long in our past. This Mayor does nothing to reflect what Troy aspires to be. In fact, the damage she has done will continue to reverberate as these ignorant remarks exponentially inflame the intellect of those much wiser and sensitive to fellow mankind.
As a Christian myself, (I prefer to call myself a follower of Jesus simply because the mere word "Christian" tends to alienate people in today's world...the opposite of what Jesus taught.) Her remark and lame apology are perfect examples of why people resent this religion. Self righteous judgement is the reason, and a shame. Jesus himself would be saddened by Mayor Daniels. At this time of year we CELEBRATE the birth of Jesus Christ... God in the flesh. "CHRIST"mas represents all the reasons we love Christ. Jesus did not come to judge. " Thou shall NOT judge". Mayor Daniels' judgemental remark is sinful. "Love thy neighbor as thy self". We all know what that means.... No matter who that person is... you, me, Ms Daniels... We are all the SAME and no one person is better than the next person. Regardless of their beliefs. Our neighbors are worthy of love, respect and equality, just as each of us want to be treated. Her bigoted PUBLIC remark is the opposite to that commandment. Shame on you Ms Daniels for being self righteous and judgemental.
Mayor Daniels is an elected public official. That means she works for the citizens of Troy. ALL OF THEM!. Regardless of class, wealth, status, income, color, race, religion, age, gay, straight, ethnicity....THEY ARE ALL HER BOSS. She works for THEM! Everyone! INCLUDING GAYS! Like it or not Mayor you have a duty to uphold unbiased representation for the best interest of all, without discrimination. If she is unable to keep her own moral issues out of the public forum, she has NO BUSINESS in office. Ms Daniels... You're FIRED! Your bosses of The City of Tomorrow.. want you to resign TODAY.
Thank you Bob for being a follower of Jesus Christ who has the courage to defend the real truths of Jesus. Merry Christmas.
Sincerely, Cathy

Gary said...

Cathy,

YOu obviously think that you are free to judge the mayor, but the mayor is not free to judge anyone. How did you acquire the authority to do what you claim no one has the right to do?

The truth is, you're a hypocrite. You are NOT a follower of Jesus Christ anymore than are the other queer-lovers who agree with you. What you are all about is trying to justify the sin of homosexuality. And you're so blinded by your own sin that you can't even recognize your own hypocrisy. You are in sad shape.