“Don’t judge me” is something we say often. Usually it is preceded by a story similar to “I was drinking margaritas on the back patio when I locked myself out of the house and had to pee in the bushes. Don’t judge me.” But this is not at all what the Don’t Judge Me of today means.
Sean Harris, the senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church has made comments that went public and then viral about raising gay children. His comments allegedly alluded to abusing your child to prevent them from being gay. Or at least to stop it in its tracks. I admit that I haven’t seen the whole sermon, so I can’t comment as to whether he was serious, or if he even said something along the lines of “if your son is gay, beat him with a stick.” I do know that in one segment he used the words “butch” and “bent wrist.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t using these terms to warn people they are derogatory. I’m pretty sure he was using them in a derogatory fashion.
Now, I admit that I say things often that I shouldn’t say. I call Tim a gimp. I say things like “that’s retarded” or “I feel like a midget.” However, I never use my words to suggest that a group of people are all the same, or shouldn’t be allowed to be what they actually are. When someone hears this man say “if your daughter is too butch,” that daughter is busy saying “don’t judge me.” When a young man hears him say “bent wrist,” he is busy saying “don’t judge me.”
One of the problems I have with this is the fact that this pastor is generalizing. He is stereotyping. If there is anything I have learned from my gay friends, is that they never fall into my pre-conceived stereotypical views. The constantly prove me wrong. That they are non-conformists even in the most non-conforming way. They do it so well, they make hipsters look like the French in a world war. Yet they still continue to need to shout “don’t judge me!”
I always assumed that my first gay guy friend would be my new shopping partner. In fact, I had it all planned out to perfection. We would wake up, go get brunch (notice I did not say “eat”), get some trendy lattes at an over-priced coffee joint, then the shopping would ensue. Then I would hear things like “the new Manolo Blahniks are sweet” or “gurl, you look like a hot mess in that’ put it back before Greenpeace comes to save you.” I never knew the first gay guy I’d ever come to truly know would be so, um, what word am I looking for? Not stereotypical for sure.
Needless to say, I was sadly mistaken. I was even more mistaken when my newly acquired lesbian friend was so “butch” that she baked cakes and did girly shit like that. What the fuck was this world coming to? It was twisted, and perverse, and you know what? I liked it. In fact, I love that now, I don’t judge. I see people as people and I respect them as so. In the end, I may not have a new shopping buddy, but I also learned that The Gay isn’t really contagious. It isn’t like the flu. (Just to clear things up, I never truly thought I would catch The Gay. It is a running joke based on how a co-worker reacted upon learning that someone else was gay.)
Some of you may be shocked by this, but I’m a Christian. Not a great one. Probably not even a good one. But I think that’s what makes God love me. Because I’m fully aware of my imperfections. I also think that God wants us to quit judging. I think he made all people, gay or straight, equally. I think it is His place to judge people. Not ours. I also think that He loves that I will let Him take that responsibility. He wants it. He doesn’t want us to have it. We are biased. We say “don’t judge me!” yet we still judge. He sees our bias, our closed-minded views, how we don’t perceive all facts. He sees that and tells us that before we make the mistake of judging, that we shouldn’t even bother. It is a waste of our time. It causes hate, it causes anger, and sometimes it even causes war. He takes on that job, and for that, I’m grateful.
In the end, I think we should all remember that no one likes to be judged. We don’t even like to be judged if we trip while checking the mail or show up late to our son’s baseball game. We definitely don’t want to be judged based on our relationship status. This world is full of too many haters already, so the next time you see me, please don’t judge me.