We are all a bit afraid. We must be honest with ourselves and admit that we are still in the midst of our Pandemic Mass Shootings War in Europe and runaway inflation…gas just climbed another ten cents in Carbondale and is now $5.19 per gallon…we want to stay in and triple lock our doors…and shut the curtains. Now with all of the realities that confront us and then there are the conspiracy theories that are perpetrated and promulgated as if they were the gold standard of truth.
Billy B. knew that Gene was Gay. He had always known this fact like he knew that the sun was either shining or that it was an overcast day. Gene was a loner and afraid and living a lie. He pretended that he was Straight and dated girls…but he had a secret life that he told no one about. In the 60s the Closets were made of heavy oak and had solid core doors and were kept locked tightly. Chet and Jane and Daryl were good friends with Gene. Gene kept his secret life…secret from his best friends. Gene was often sad and had endured the taunts and name-calling of his schoolmates for years. What hurt him tremendously was that he was a member of a fundamentalist church that did not accept Gay people. In fact, the pastor made fun of homosexuals and lesbians and gave the congregation the tacit approval to do the same. When a Gay person was hurt or abused or defamed by the so-called religious community this church would rejoice in their Self Righteousness. The Hate Speech that was accepted and secretly welcomed by the revered City Fathers and Church Elders…was a manifestation of the lies that they were living…as many of them were secretly homosexual.
Stan was a great kid! Chet and Billy B. enjoyed talking with Stan and being around him. He was intelligent and had a wisdom that was above his years. Stan was Gay in a hostile world. He kept to himself and kept his own counsel. He was a compassionate person and cared about his fellow human beings.
Billy B. said, ‘Some of my best friends…are Gay.’ ‘It seems that Gay folks really understand what being a friend is all about,’ replied Chet. ‘Well, anytime you have been made fun of for who you are and marginalized by laws that do not include you…and chastised for your love for Christ…you quickly discover who your friends are,’ said Jane. ‘Many of the most insightful religious thought and literature…and deep philosophical ethics…has come from the minds and hearts of our Gay friends,’ noted Daryl.
‘I think that our Gay friends must look at much of the Straight Community and wonder what the problem is,’ said Jane. ‘They are living their lives and working and studying and love their kids and love their partner…and love Jesus…who beckons them to come to him. ‘I am going to ask Stan to come with me to church this Sunday,’ said Billy B. Our church will welcome him and love him as a member of God’s Creation. ‘Gene is a Master Organ Player…one of the best in Southern Illinois…and he has agreed to play our Organ for Sunday Service,’ exclaimed Chet. ‘Finally our beautiful Pipe Organ…will resound with the joy of a child of God…playing it again,’ Daryl said as a tear escaped his watering eyes…