Yes, but I’m an atheist, thanks

On Sunday 20th July 1969, Buzz Aldrin invited the listening world

“I would like to request a few moments of silence … and to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

He had received communion bread and wine from Webster Presbyterian Church near Houston, which still celebrates Lunar Communion Sunday every July, and a year later Aldrin wrote:

“I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.”

A few moments later Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were to step out of the module on to the surface of another world for the first time. Aldrin added, later, reflecting on his action:

“Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion.
“Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind – be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists.”

Forty-three years after Aldrin took communion on the Moon, Stacy Harp started a Pinterest group:

Praying for the Gay Community

Every day we try to pray for someone in the #gay community because we believe that #loving #prayer offered in the name of #Christ is the best way to love the struggling #homosexual or #lesbian. Visit our blog to join our email list and read our blog to see who we are praying for each day.

I don’t know Stacy Harp. She appears to be one of those Christians who thinks God wants her to make happy people unhappy. Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out notes:

She has chosen several activists, including moi, and placed their heads on social media sites asking people to pray for us. It kind of looks like the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list hanging at my local post office, except the people are happy.

Speaking of which, if it was Harp’s goal to portray LGBT people as “unhappy” heathens, she spectacularly failed. The photos she used portrayed her subjects as deliriously cheerful and we appeared to be rather pleased with our lives. For example, she chose a photo of me on my wedding day holding hands with my spouse, Jamie.

Many years ago – though I was an atheist then, too – after I had been to the funeral of one of my closest friends, a deacon in the Anglican church and an out gay man back when most Anglican bishops were still claiming they’d never knowingly ordain a gay man, and I said to my flatmate (an evangelical Christian very much of the Stacy Harp type)

Marriage requires sacrifice. It eliminates a loneliness, but along with that there’s the challenge of compatibility. Also, there is a multiplication of purpose — proving that one plus one can equal more than two. – Buzz Aldrin

that I could not understand – could not begin to understand – how anyone who believed in God the creator of heaven and earth could reconcile that with their idea of God as a busybody homophobe, not caring in the least how two men who had sex behaved towards each other, only eager to condemn them for having a sexual relationship.

The Chick Fellatio: stuck in the craw:

This isn’t about Jesus. I have a lot of Christian friends. Most of them are of the liberal variety, it’s true, but even this concept seems lost on some of you. Most of them are pro-LGBT rights. Pro-gay and Pro-Christ are NOT mutually exclusive. They never have been, in the history of Christianity, though it’s been difficult at times. It’s not impossible to be both.

If someone is telling you it is, then maybe you should wonder why they’d do that. I see divorced Christians, remarried Christians, drug addict Christians. I see people with WWJD bracelets bumping and grinding on TV and raking in millions to do it. I see greedy, rapacious, vengeful people who are Christians. And these people are accepted in the Church, and the Church does very little to combat them. Sometimes it seems like being gay is the ONLY thing certain modern Christian movements won’t allow. Why’s that, I wonder?

My evangelical flatmate told me I just didn’t understand how people who believed in the Bible thought, and perhaps so: but I do understand why Buzz Aldrin would want to take communion as his first act after landing on the Moon: I do not understand why Stacy Harp wants people to pray for gay activists.

There are various ways it is appropriate for people of faith to respond to this kind of “invitation”, such as:

Clay Aitkin responds to the invitation

But I’m an atheist. So prayers have about the same effect on me as Thor’s hammer or the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs. This is just not a problem. Time spent by Stacy Harp and her friends praying for me is time taken away from actively dangerous and upsetting homophobic activities.

Yo! Stacy! Pray for me!

The universe is the way it is. It’s not going to be changed by supplications. – Buzz Aldrin

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Filed under LGBT Equality, Religion

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