By Randy Roberts Potts
There is a story in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 2, about a little old man who wanted to be healed. He couldn’t get off his cot, but he’d heard that Jesus was in town, and that this Jesus was a healer.
Friends came by, took the sides of his little cot, and carried him through town to the house where Jesus was supposed to be, but, when they got there the house was so full they couldn’t get in. They pulled him, cot and all, up to the little thatched roof and proceeded to lower the man down. Jesus forgave the man his sins and told him he was healed and he could take his little cot and walk home. He was healed, instantly, just like that.
2,000 years later, there is a class of people in America who, like this little old man, are looking for healing. My people, as it were. Homosexuals. People whom my grandfather, Oral Roberts, and most of his generation, describe as an abomination.
(File photo of Oral Roberts, the evangelist who rose from humble tent revivals to found a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university bearing his name.)
How can an abomination desire healing?
Gay men and women are knocking at the door of the president, of the Senate, of the Congress, impatient, hoping to get in, hoping to be healed. They are even, at this moment, lowering down their little pink cots from the rafters in capitols across the nation, insisting that their voice be heard.
How can an abomination desire healing?
We could sit and debate, endlessly, whether or not God sees homosexuality as an abomination. He did, clearly, in the early years of the founding of the nation of Israel, but then, he also described the eating of shellfish and the wearing of two different cloths as abominations. We could debate what Jesus meant when he said that the old laws set down in those early years were finished, and could be better summed up in one single, new, all-encompassing law: love thy neighbor as thyself. We could sit and talk, for years, about whether this love extends to homosexuals, whether you can love the sinner but not the sin, whether or not telling these men and women they are going to Hell is part and parcel of the good news Jesus came to Earth to deliver.
We could have this debate, but meanwhile, this same group, these gay men and women, will be clamoring, and begging, for healing. They will be dying, too often, from suicide, unwilling to live in a world where this debate is more valuable than their well being. They will be unable to visit their partner in the hospital. They will be unable to legally marry the partner they have loved, and lived with, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for sometimes ten, sometimes twenty, sometimes thirty years, or more. We could look into the pros, and cons, of dismantling “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and whether or not the military can survive with openly-serving gays. We could debate, endlessly, what Jesus would have done.
There are men and women waiting, today, for healing, while the Sadducees and the Pharisees debate. I disagree with much of what my grandfather taught, but he was right about one thing – healing is simple. It is about establishing a point of contact between a source of power and a person in need. There is a need for men and women of all faiths to reach out, in healing, to their gay brothers and sisters, and welcome them as equal citizens, with equal rights, no longer separate. If they have sinned, as the Bible says all men have sinned, then forgive them, and let them go home, healed, and complete. It is time for healing. It is time to be bold. It is time to look gay men and women in the eye and tell them: take up your cots, and walk.
Randy Roberts Potts is the gay grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts. He has worked with juvenile delinquents on the East Coast, was a social worker in Oklahoma City, and spent five years as a middle school English teacher before deciding to pursue a writing career. Follow him on Twitter @randyrpotts.