I cried. When I read that Oak Park will be one of the Chicago area communities hosting the Gay Games this coming July, I broke down and wept. As a community, we've really fooled ourselves into believing that we're doing a good thing.
The website for the Gay Games makes the principles and purpose of this event sound so noble: participation, inclusion, and personal best. What could be wrong with that? But the website also acknowledges that the purpose "is to foster and augment the self-respect of lesbians and gay men throughout the world and to engender respect and understanding from the non-gay world." I have no objection to engendering respect for anyone, including homosexuals, but the bottom line here is that this event is about validating the homosexual lifestyle.
Our community is well known for trying to provide that kind of validation, so the fact that we will be hosting the Gay Games should come as no surprise. It's just another step?#34;or maybe even a leap forward?#34;on the path we have been walking for many years. But I have two questions that I think we should consider.
First of all, is this event really what we want Oak Park to stand for? To answer that question, it's important to understand that the Gay Games are not what you would automatically think of when you envision an athletic competition. Despite the fact that these events were originally called The Gay Olympics (they were asked to change the name by the Olympic Committee), they bear very little resemblance to that caliber of competition.
Among the 30 different sports that will be included in the games are Darts, Pool Billiards, Bowling, Dance, Flag Football, and Physique?#34;not exactly Olympic events I can recall. Anyone can organize other kinds of sports tournaments as "Affiliated Events." This is a gathering where anyone can compete in the events, no matter what his or her skill level might be; there is nothing that resembles the Olympic trials or qualifying events. In fact, attendees are actually encouraged to participate in sports that are new to them. The Gay Games athletes will be cheered on by color guard and cheerleading teams, led by Chicago's "ROTC"?#34;that stands for Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps.
The Gay Games website reinforces the idea that this is not a serious athletic gathering. Check the heading for the Chicago Games: "It's where the action is!" One of the main features you'll find is a listing of parties and events, with a complete social calendar. There is also a directory of bars and clubs categorized by "Mostly Male," "Mostly Female," "Leather," etc. I have a concern that the Gay Games are promoting bawdy, offensive behavior that our community hopefully would not want to be associated with. This certainly has been the reputation established at previous games.
So we'll be hosting a sports event that is only marginally athletic and has a reputation for lewd behavior. Do we really want to bring something like this to our community? Is this really what Oak Park stands for?
The second question to consider is whether or not our involvement with this event is something that will benefit our community in the long run. Oak Park is a community that has a legacy and reputation for wanting to do what's right. But what if, in our efforts as a community to do the right thing and bring forth justice for everyone?#34;including homosexuals?#34;we are actually going about it the wrong way? What if our community has actually violated a God-given moral standard by providing validation and encouragement for those who have chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle?
What if it's really true that God disapproves of the homosexual lifestyle and that it's wrong to act on same-sex attraction? What if, by supporting homosexual behavior, we're going down the wrong path as a community, despite all of our good intentions?
Solomon once wisely said that there is a way that seems right, but in the end it leads to death. Personally, I believe that this is exactly what is happening in our community. In our noble efforts to promote what is equitable, just, and right, we've fallen into that prideful pitfall of doing what seems right to us, while ignoring what God says on the subject of homosexualilty.
I'm one of those people who believes that there are great benefits to doing things God's way?#34;that it leads to immeasurable blessing. But I also believe that we set ourselves up for harm and destruction when we go against Him. This is one place where I'm convinced we're doing just that by celebrating, supporting, and encouraging a lifestyle that He calls an abomination.
I want nothing but great things for Oak Park; I don't wish evil on our community. But it looks to me as if we're walking down a path where we're finding ourselves in opposition to our Creator. So I have more than a little bit of fear for the well being of Oak Park because of our well-intentioned but misguided attempts to secure justice and equity for everyone in our community. I worry. I pray.
And I weep.