For Today’s Mattie Montgomery: “If I Was a Lawmaker, I Would Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage”
So Alternative Press has a new interview with For Today vocalist Mattie Montgomery in which they broach the topic of last year’s controversy surrounding now-former guitarist Mike Reynolds’ comment that “homosexuality is a sin.” Speaking about the whole debacle, Montgomery lays the blame at the feet of extremist organizations that give Christians a bad name and the media:
“It was frustrating, to say the least. That whole thing blindsided me. And it was exasperated by preexisting issues.
“The fact that there are people who call themselves Christians but go on the news and picket soldiers’ funerals and say stuff like ‘God Hates Fags?’ These people totally dishonor God, and disrespect God and they dishonor and disrespect people who are made in God’s image.
“There is a bitterness and a polarization that has come and a lot of wounds and defensiveness have developed in the homosexual community toward Christians. That has made them very sensitive toward Christians in general, especially when talking about the issue of homosexuality. I hate it.
“We’ve been put in a situation where the media has made it an ‘us vs. them’ sorta thing. As a result, we’ve lost our sense of human community.
“That is the thing that breaks my heart. Like I mentioned earlier, the guys from Stray From The Path don’t agree with or care about anything I stand for, and they are still some of the best friends we’ve ever had on tour.
“I think there’s something to be said there in that we are able to respectfully disagree with each other. There are still plenty of other things where we find common ground. At the end of the day, we’re all in this world together; we’re all in this thing called life together. We’ve got to do what we can to help each other instead of hurting each other and tearing each other down.
“So yes, it was a frustrating thing, and it was a difficult situation for me to go through because I really do love gay people. I have a whole bunch of people I’ve been friends with for years who are gay men and women. We have all been forced into this new religious/political paradigm where Christians are pitted against homosexuals in this stupid struggle for political dominance. It’s really a political issue. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
“Because I’m a voice to a lot of Christians, I’ll say it like this: I would like to see Christians come to a place in which they can be respectful of people, regardless of their sexual orientation. No matter what sexual inclinations a person has or what faith they do or do not ascribe to, as Christians we still must believe they are made in the image of God, and because of that, our love and they deserve our respect and honor.”
“Outlets like AP, Absolute Punk, Lambgoat, Metal Injection, the PRP and all these places that will do anything to anyone to try to get some hits on their website. They saw one comment out of hundreds of thousands of comments collectively that this band have made and they thought, ‘Oh, that’s going to stir up some drama.’ And they were willing to throw our band under the bus and to put our families’ well-being in jeopardy just for the sake of a few more hits on their websites. I think that sucks. I think that’s irresponsible journalism. I think it’s a reflection of a lack of personal responsibility in your community.
“If we, as a scene, would take a step back and say, ‘The things that made this music scene special were that it was a place for rejects, for people who didn’t fit in, a place for all of those people to be accepted and celebrated not even in spite of their diversity, but because of their diversity.’ I think we need to remember that and apply it to all walks of life and all faiths.”
Finally, AP asks Montgomery where he personally stands on the issue. His response?
“I’m not a lawmaker. So, really, my opinions on what laws should and should not be don’t matter. But ultimately this is a political issue right now. It seems like homosexual people are seeking, politically, to have equal rights. And I think that’s absolutely fair. So, speaking politically, if I was a lawmaker? I would vote to legalize gay marriage. I don’t think the United States government has the right to tell people who they can and can’t marry. That is my standard across the board. To be completely honest with you, I don’t think the United States government has the right to approve a marriage between me and my wife, as a heterosexual man. It’s not really their business. The fact that they think they can forbid some people from marrying is ridiculous to me.”
There’s a lot to digest here, but what I ultimately take away from Montgomery’s words is: he’s deflecting. What he says sounds really good on the surface, and some of it is even true — we should all be tolerant of one another, and people shouldn’t assume that just because groups like the Westboro exist that they represent all Christians.
But when you actually think about the language Montgomery is using, well… it’s pretty disappointing, ultimately.
For thing, he assiduously still never utters the phrase “Homosexuality is not a sin.” He repeatedly implies that one cannot be both Christian and a homosexual (“wounds and defensiveness have developed in the homosexual community toward Christians,” “Christians are pitted against homosexuals,” etc.). He uses the old “Some of my best friends are gay!” chestnut. He foists off any real responsibility with regards to the issue, stressing that “I’m not a lawmaker” before saying “If I was a lawmaker…” (emphasis mine). This is akin to seeing someone get hit by a car not even bothering to call 911 because your line of reasoning is, “Well, I can’t help them because I’m not a doctor, but if I was a doctor? Sure, I’d help. But I’m not, so I won’t.” And he continuously emphasizes the point that this is a “political issue,” as though politics were completely divorced from morality. Basically, what’s he’s saying is, “Sure, they can get married, I don’t mind. Will they burn in Hell for it? Probably, but they should still be allowed to do it if they want.”
Think I’m reading too much into the fact that Montgomery still won’t just utter those five little words we’re all waiting to hear? Well, check out these quotes from Montgomery’s personal webpage, which Metal Injection came upon this past December (Montgomery subsequently yanked the page down… but not before Metal Injection got a screen cap):
“I’d like to make my stance on homosexuality/homosexual marriage crystal clear: I cannot support the homosexual agenda in our nation. This is not because people call it an ‘abomination,’ or because I’m some sort of homophobe or bigot, but because every argument in support of that act is based on one fundamental misconception; and that is the flawed idea that we should be able to marry whomever we want.
“I have never heard a homosexual couple tell me that the reason they are together is because, out of a place of devotion to the Lord in prayer and scripture study, He commanded them to be together. And, until that happens, there really is no discussion to be had. They will receive the same response I would give to a straight couple that is together for carnal or selfish reasons: You are in disobedience to God, and you have made an idol out of yourself. Repent. Leave this relationship, and commit yourself to hear and obey the spoken Word of God.”
So: “be respectful of people, regardless of their sexual orientation,” because ultimately God is fry their asses anyway. On the one hand, that’s a lot less aggressive than “God Hates Fags,” and on the other hand, it’s a much more insidious way of pushing your agenda. At least everyone knows where they stand with the Westboro people.
I’d also like to add that claiming the media endangered his family is paranoid at best and disingenuous and insensitive at worst. I can’t recall a single case of gays retaliating against alleged homophobes with vigilante violence. On the other hand, we hear about hate crimes against gays on more or less a daily basis. Let’s try and keep in mind who’s actually being persecuted here.