I am a Christian and a gay rights activist, a combination that is rarely heard from in the media. When “Christian” and “gay” come up in the same news cycle, the story usually has to do with a minister’s fall from grace (Ted Haggard and George Rekers), another idiotic comment by a professing Christian (Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson), a prominent Christian coming out of the closet (Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp), or the unfortunate folks from the Westboro Baptist Church.
Several weeks ago, Newsweek published the article “Straight Jacket“ which suggested that gay actors and actresses cannot “play straight,” using Jonathan Groff of Glee and Sean Hayes’ Tony-nominated performance in Promises, Promises as its main examples. Since then, author Ramin Setoodeh has been criticized by Hayes’ co-star Kristin Chenoweth, lukewarmly defended The West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin, and slammed by numerous gay rights websites.
This week, Setoodeh wrote a response to the criticism, specifically mentioning Chenoweth’s letter to Newsweek. I believe, however, that in the midst of dissecting response after response, people are missing something that was truly wonderful to see during this war of words. In the media, a prominent gay rights activist who is also a person of faith was making their voice heard.
Chenoweth wrote, “This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian.” More people of faith who believe in gay rights should be standing up and saying the same, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever. Chenoweth should not be the rare occurrence in a media that shines the light over and over again on intolerance and hate from individuals who claim to follow a loving God.
I will stand up right now and follow her example. Ramin Setoodeh, I read your article. I read it several times over, in fact, trying to discover why you wrote what you wrote. After reading your response to the criticism, I am no closer to understanding your intentions. Your article does not help gay actors and actresses or encourage the teen subjected to “locker room torture.” The only parts of this controversy that encouraged me were the responses to your article and the discussion it has sparked. You may think that gay actors and actresses cannot play straight, but I do not agree and neither do all the people who took the time to speak out against your article.
Your article offends me because I am a human being, a woman, and a Christian. Imagine if more young gays and lesbians heard encouragement from Chenoweth and other LGBT activists of faith instead of you telling them what they can and cannot do.