Someone I know posted on the social media something that Dave Chappelle allegedly said. I have no way of knowing that he actually said the words, but let’s work with the assumption that he did.
The post read thus:
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe, say or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” – Dave Chappelle
First of all, this entire quotation is bogus. Society has never peddled these claims. There’s something called tough love, which is often, if not overtly, practiced by people who love others. Loved ones always think they know what’s best for you, and act accordingly. There’s hardly any compromise with most acts of love.
But that’s by the way. Because I know what this post is really about, let me humour the ‘truth’ in it.
Summarily speaking, Dave Chappelle is saying that you can care about a person and still disapprove of his lifestyle. That the disapproval of a lifestyle does not equal hate or fear, and he who expresses such dissent must not be held in contempt of this bias.
Dave Chappelle would be right to say this.
Because we’re a universe of diverse human beings, not everyone will own a lifestyle that everyone else will care for. At some point or the other, even your loved ones will make the choice of a lifestyle that you won’t approve of.
See what I did there? Choice.
So, if someone chooses to be an unrepentant playboy, a career call girl, a heavy drinker or a chain smoker, you would be well within your rights to not approve and still retain the right to be indignant if someone takes umbrage with you over your bias. People do not have to see eye to eye on the choices they make and the lifestyles they opt for.
Now, considering that this Dave Chappelle post came on the heels of the recent outrage that spiraled all over Facebook following a string of homophobic posts made by a number of ignoramuses who should know better, I could only assume that the update was a subtle act of chastisement, white-washed defiance in the face of all those supporting “gayism”, a justification of prejudice that we are not supposed to see.
But I grow weary – no, impatient – whenever people attempt to equate sexuality with lifestyle. Dave Chappelle was right when he intimated that you can be a good Christian and a compassionate loved one in spite of your disagreeing with the lifestyle of another.
But lifestyle choices have nothing to do with who a person is. Race, colour, sexuality, gender – these are attributes that people become when they are born. These are not acquired. They are not choices. A man did not walk into Shoprite one afternoon and say, “Oh, they have homosexuality on sale today. I think I’m going to binge on it.” There are no support groups of people recovering from addictions where a woman stands up to say, “Hi, I’m Annabelle. And I’m a lesbian.”
People are who they are. Men. Women. Black. White. Dark complexioned. Light skinned. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Transgender. And when you discriminate against anyone based on these characteristics, even in the slightest way possible, then you do not deserve to sit on any moral high ground, fancying yourself above censure for your prejudice.
Lifestyle choices are what a person does. You can turn up your nose at a gay woman who jumps from lover to lover, because you do not think highly of fornication. You can frown at the bisexual man who has a fiancée but is still fooling around with his ex gay lover, because you believe cheating is bad. To fornicate and to cheat – these are the choices they have made, and it is okay for you not to approve.
Sexuality is who a person is. To deign yourself better than someone else simply because he or she is gay and still revel in the sanctity of your life as a Christian would make for an interesting conversation on that much-anticipated judgment day when your God will turn a gravely look to you and ask, “So, have you always loved your neighbour as yourself?”
A person’s sexuality can be separated from him or her about as much as his gender or race. If your recoil from toxic labels such as racist, misogynist, misandrist; if you feel a world is wrong where women are put down because they are, well, women; if you bristle with outrage when there is evidence that white people still think of black people as little more than animals; if you cannot fathom how a light-skinned Nigeria will opine that God hates dirty as a shot of denigration aimed at the dark-skinned person, then you should probably think twice before you begin to seek justification over why you should be left alone to not consider the LGBT individual to be a whole human being deserving of your respect and acceptance.
There is no hating the sin and loving the sinner with a gay person, simply because there is no sin. A person’s sexuality cannot be separated from who he is; the sooner you start to realize that, the sooner you contribute your goodness to the healing this world so desperately needs.
I am @Walter_Ude on twitter