Thursday, October 11, 2018.
Do you know what the significance of October 11 is for many people in our nation? I didn’t either. October 11 is a day that has been celebrated for thirty years. October 11, 2018 was the thirtieth anniversary for … “National Coming Out Day.” Seriously. I am fifty-two years-old. On January 6, 2019, I will be fifty-three. I have never heard of “National Coming Out Day.” For some reason, I am now aware of “National Coming Out Day.”
One of the quotes on the Human Rights Campaign website www.hrc.org is: In honor of National Coming Out Day, HRC honors all who have come out as LGBTQ or as a straight ally for equality – that takes bravery, and we commend you. Respectfully, I appreciate and accept your commendation. I am for all citizens of the United States of America to have equal rights. I did not know saying, I am for all citizens of the United States of America to have equal rights took bravery. Common sense is now a sign of “bravery?” The bravery bar may have been lowered and, like missing out of the National Coming Out Day, I may have missed the bar of bravery being lowered.
“National Coming Out Day” may need to be updated just a bit. Why not? Allow folks to celebrate “BE WHO YOU ARE DAY!” So, in the spirit of “BE WHO YOU ARE DAY” … I am going to have my own “Coming Out” moment. I am sincerely moved and motivated by the “National Coming Out Day.” I am sincerely moved and MOTIVATED to have my own “Coming Out” moment.
Here is my moment shared with you:
Among several other “roles,” I believe in God. I am a Christian. I am Caucasian. I am a heterosexual male.
Now, here is what has happened since I professed , “I believe in God and you (my students) are all blessings from God.” (BTW – I have made this statement many years at six different schools) This is my second year at the school I currently teach at. Since I said, “I believe in God and you (my students) are all blessings from God,” I have been “admonished” twice this semester. I will not and cannot go into the details about the allegations in the “admonishment.” However, I will say one of the allegations is, “Did you say you believe in God and that your students are blessings from God?” My answer: “Yes.” I believe in Jordan B. Peterson’s Rule 8, “Tell the Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.” Page 203. 12 RULES FOR LIFE: An Antidote to Chaos.Yes. I told my students (again, I have made this statement for many years) “I believe in God and you (my students) are blessings.”
What I want share with you is the day following October 11, 2018, the “National Coming Out Day.” All sorts of shout outs for the students and teachers who came out on that day or reaffirmed their homosexuality. Nothing organized by the school. Let’s just say it was organic. Cool. I like the “organic” stuff. Seems more natural, oppose to manipulated by the adults for a “cause” (which seems to be happening more and more – using the students as “pawns!”)
Quite different response for a teacher who “comes out” as a Christian, Caucasian, heterosexual male. Seriously.
October 12, 2018 – I phoned one of my good friends who is gay and teaches at a public high school. He and I (for now and will hope FOREVER) have wonderful discourse about “life.” He would be “labeled” liberal and I am “labeled” conservative. Yet, we embrace who we are and embrace the idea it is okay to be ADULT-LIKE and disagree. I had a sense; however, this was a time when we were going to agree.
I was and still am frustrated by the lack of consistency with the message. The message? It’s okay to be gay or hetero or person of color …or … or … but just keep that “Christian stuff” to yourself. I guess the “National Coming Out Day” isn’t meant for all of us. I wish it was! Sincerely. It’s been THIRTY YEARS! A lot of progress has been made for the LGBTQ (those are the groups mentioned on the website) WITH MORE TO GO. I GET IT. That “more to go” can include all of us. Open up your “campaign” for ALL HUMANS!! Hopefully someone from the HRC is reading this. 🙂
Let’s evolve to “BE WHO YOU ARE DAY.” What is it? We are stronger together?!
“Since your ‘coming out’ Paul… what has it been like?”
Well, lonely. Yes, it has been lonely.
Let me give you an example of “Lonely.” I believe abortion is the taking of a life and at the same time, I believe the United States of America is not a theocracy. Therefore, I support the laws of the land which includes – “choice.” Now… believing an abortion is the taking a life and the USA not being a theocracy leaves me “lonely.” October 2013, I was one of “those” guys sitting in front of Planned Parenthood QUIETLY praying for every woman who went into that Planned Parenthood office. I prayed she would reconsider her choice to have an abortion. Yes. I am one of “those” guys. However, I don’t hold a large picture of an aborted fetus; I am not the dude with a bullhorn yelling crap at those women. Nope. That evening, I was quietly sitting in my folding chair next to a friend and we prayed. That’s it. Was a very moving moment for me and possibly for a woman or two going into the office. I do believe Jesus Christ would demonstrate in a similar manner.
Now, my Christian friends would – (have) – condemn me for supporting the law of the USA – “choice.” Again, I support “choice” because it is a freedom our nation has established. In the end, whom am I to judge. The “choice” will be made and those who make the choice will be judged by GOD, not by me. My “job” is to love them and “hold” them. I will.
In the same breath, let me also say, I would appreciate the government not to pay for one abortion. Not one. I think there is compromise. There are plenty of people who will financially support the choice of an abortion. I will not. AND … I will support the right to choose and pray for the woman to make the “right” choice.
See… it is lonely.
Hmmmmm … what else has happened since you (Paul) “came out” being Christian? Please, remember, in the classroom and in public areas outside of church, I say, “God.” I understand that Jesus is THE SON OF GOD. Jesus is God. However, out of respect to folks, I use the term / name “God.” When someone asks me, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” ABSOLUTELY!
Well, since I believe in God (Jesus), I am homophobic / anti-homosexual. LIE! Awful / terrible lie. I love all people, including homosexuals. So, here comes the “loneliness.” My Christian friends want me to condemn the act / the homosexual. I won’t condemn or condone. I am not God. I am not going to judge others. Are there references in the Bible that are anti-homosexual? Yes. In the Old Testament. The New Testament / The Apostle Paul’s teachings are up for discussion of being anti-homosexual.
My homosexual friends will lump me in the “anti-homosexual group” because I am Christian, and all Christians are anti-homosexual. Nope. Not my case. I have HAPPILY worked alongside homosexuals and WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPILY WORK WITH HOMOSEXUALS. I HAVE HIRED HOMOSEXUALS and WILL CONTINUE TO HIRE HOMOSEXUALS! I have attended a homosexual wedding. Only one. Why only one? Because, I have been invited to only one. If I am available and I am invited, I will attend more homosexual weddings.
So, there is the loneliness again… a tribe of Christians who cast me out because I will not condemn homosexuals and a tribe of homosexuals who believe Christians are anti-homosexual. As Miyagi says in the movie KARATE KID, “On the left side of the road – safe. On the right side of the road – safe. In the middle of the road – squished like a grape.” That is me! I am squished like a grape.
People may ask, “Why is it important for others – this case: your students – to know “Mr. Everts is a Christian?” One response is, “Why is it important for others to know “Mr. Smith is gay?” A person wouldn’t know either unless that person publicly admitted to either or their actions were so strong, he / she was recognized as one or the other.
Why is it important to know? Knowing I am Christian is important for those students who identify as a Christian. I want students to know who I am and who I am includes being Christian. By knowing I am a Christian gives those Christian students someone they can approach and also gives the non-Christian students a chance to “work” with someone “different.” The same “argument” can be made for a homosexual. By the students knowing “Mr. Smith is gay” gives the students a person on campus he / she can go to talk about life. We have been encouraged to connect with our students / form a PROFESSIONAL relationship with our students.
The ignorance to think, I will proselytize (preach / evangelize / persuade) to my students is again like those who think that a homosexual will – in their secular way – preach / evangelize / persuade his / her students to become homosexual! I have never pulled out my Bible to my students during class and read it to them AND I NEVER WILL! As a public-school teacher, pulling out the Bible and read it to his / her students is unconscionable. That is too personal. Frankly – illegal. I trust the equivalence with my homosexual colleagues. They are not going to discuss their “on-goings” in regards to their homosexuality… TOO PERSONAL!!
Now, I return to that October 12, 2018 conversation with my high school teacher friend who is gay. I am going to change his name to “Bob.”
“Bob, I want to have a serious conversation with you. Do you have five minutes?”
“Bob” answers, “Sure. Watcha got?”
“Do you ever get in ‘trouble’ for being gay? Do you ever get in trouble for being proud of being gay? For example, when you wear a rainbow flag pin or have a small rainbow flag displayed, do you get in ‘trouble?”
“Bob” answers, “No.”
“So, I am being “admonished.” One of the allegations is me saying, “I believe in God and you (my students) are blessings.”
“Bob” answers, “Well, I will have to say, you are being treated differently. It’s not good. It certainly is not right. I am sorry you are going through this.”
The conversation with “Bob” was more in depth than what I shared. Just wanted to give you an idea of the conversation.
“BE WHO YOU ARE DAY” needs to be a “thang.” You don’t need my permission… CALM THE FLIP DOWN… yet, go ahead and celebrate “NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY.” I would love for the Human Rights Campaign to be inclusive and one way to be in inclusive is to evolve to support all who want to be who he or she is. Human Rights Campaign should look at all humans’ dignity (the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect). It doesn’t. Sincerely… it doesn’t. Human Rights Campaign is there to focus support for the LGBTQ community. Therefore, I would love a group to support all communities to learn how to work together. I am sure there is a group or two… I just don’t know them.
So, to my family / students / friends / enemies / all … On December 31, 2018, I “came out” to say,
“I am a Christian, heterosexual, Caucasian, male. Among other important roles, I believe God made me to be a teacher. I believe all the students I have had, currently have and HOPEFULLY will have are blessings from God and it is my responsibility to treat them as blessings from God.”
Now, that I have “come out,” I hope you will still be a part my world, respect me and, love me. As long as you do not purposely hurt others, I will encourage and support you to be you with the understanding WE CAN GROW AND IMPROVE! Thank you for allowing me to BE WHO I AM every day! I love you. Happy 2019!!