by Chris Roper
I'm no expert on god, unlike the Dutch Reformed Church's (perhaps inappropriately named) "Ring of the Cape of Good Hope". So I'm willing to believe them when they tell me that, if a man puts his willy into another man's Ring of Good Hope, it's a sin.
Hey, they're the experts. And also, it appears that the Catholics, the Jews, the Muslims, and all the Jesus-come-lately new religious cults (like the cutely named His People), hold the same views, very broadly speaking. So in this democratic world of ours, we're going to have to face the facts - god does not like gay men.
Strangely enough, this relationship doesn't seem to be reciprocal. There are actually gay men out there who still like god. This proves one thing, at least - no matter your sexual orientation, you can still make some silly relationship decisions.
Notice that I don't say that god doesn't love gay men. Most of the reputable religions seem to agree that, if god does love one thing, it's a sinner. I'm not sure how much comfort this is to gay men, but there you have it. In the cosmic scheme of things, according to the majority of religions, god loves you, but he won't be taking you home to mom. You're good enough to save, but not good enough to be a member of polite society. Laurie Gaum's story
The story we're concerned with is this. Laurie Gaum, homosexual and dominee of St Stephen's Church in Cape Town, is to be defrocked. That doesn't mean that he has to throw away his cute Malcolm Kluk outfit, assuming he has one. It means he's going to be stripped of priestly privileges and functions.
When the DRC's council issued the statement firing the gay padre, they also said the following: "The church council prays for the blessings of the Lord on Dominee Gaum and trusts that his choices in the difficult periods in his life will be the best for the kingdom of God."
Well put, Ring wraiths. Very well put. Of course, you could say it's also slightly threatening. Gaum's choices had better be the best for the kingdom of God, rather than for himself, or he won't be ending up in Heaven. No, he'll be rotting in Hell, which I believe is a small gay club in Green Point.
According to http://www.capegateway.gov.za/, St Stephen's church sits on Riebeek Square, and the building dates from 1801.
It was originally a theatre open to all races, but in 1829 slaves and "free blacks" were no longer allowed to attend. The theatre was later used as a mission church for freed slaves, but this caused a public outcry, and the windows of the church were broken by stone-throwing ex-theatre patrons.
Because of this, the church was named after one of Christendom's original martyrs, a man who oddly enough was also of the Greek persuasion. Stephen first came into the spotlight when he was made a deacon to sort out some financial irregularities in the church's distribution of alms to the poor (ah, the good old church never changes, does it?).
Eventually, Stephen was stoned to death (or "aggressively defrocked", as the Church refers to it) for saying that the Church could possibly be a little kinder about who they let in to worship.
'Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve'
Chanting "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", the holy people of the time dropped rocks on Stephen's head. (This reconstruction is based on an actual true story, found in the Bible, in the Acts of the Apostles. Check if you don't believe me.)
An appropriate saint, then, for the church that kicks out a Christian for loving his fellow man not wisely, but a little too well. By the way, Gaum's lover, Douw Wessels, is the man who committed suicide after his story was splashed across the pages of that quality newspaper, Die Son. (The timing here is coincidental, of course.)
Can we hope that the Dutch Reformed Church changes its stance on homosexuality, and lets Gaum back in as a dominee? I guess it could happen. After all, it only took them until 1998 to decide that apartheid was maybe not such a viable theological standpoint for a church that needs to grow its Afrikaans-speaking membership. Not to mention being vaguely un-Christian.
But why on earth would a gay man even want to belong to a Christian church? The churches don't want you. You're just bothering them. They've told you over and over again, god doesn't like gays. Of course, they said the same thing about women and blacks, and they eventually gave in on that.
Interestingly, St Paul, the famous hater of women, was one of the people who took part in the stoning of St Stephen. I don't know, maybe it was professional jealousy.
But anyway, the point is, if I were gay I sure as hell wouldn't bother trying to belong to a Christian church. You're not wanted, apparently. Well, not as gay men, anyway. They won't mind so much if you tie a knot in your penis and devote your life to feeling bad about yourself.
Chris Roper has an internet diploma in Priesting for Profit, from the Billy Graham University of Lagos.