Friday, 18 November 2016

Brent Hawkes’ Trailer Party

Brent Hawkes —Toronto’s beloved gay pastor — is on trial for molesting a 16 year old boy in Nova Scotia. I must say, this animates my animus towards him. For years, I have hated Brent Hawkes. There, I said it.
If you are part of the Brent Hawkes fan club, perhaps you should not read on.
I will disclose. I’ve been watching Brent Hawkes from the time that Buddies in Bad Times Theatre was having trouble with the City of Toronto (and Rob Ford — at that time a rookie on city council). We were in trouble because we wanted to take over the 12 Alexander Street building (which Buddies presently calls home). We had a lot of opposition from Christian Right homophobes (and the Toronto Sun) who were trying to block our bid for the building.
At that time we were looking for support from well respected members of the gay community — in fact we needed that support to survive. And we couldn’t get Brent Hawkes to make a statement in support of us. We didn’t know why. Finally I enlisted a spy — a young man who was going door to door to raise money for the Buddies’ cause. He went to Brent Hawkes door to ask Brent for a donation,  and this very attractive young person was somehow able to pry loose Brent Hawkes tongue — for Hawkes confessed to him that he would never publicly support Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
I will never forgive Brent Hawkes for that betrayal. 
This incident is at the heart of my anger at Brent Hawkes; but I also feel it’s relevant to the present trial.
I believe the Reverend Hawkes was unwilling to get behind Buddies in Bad Times Theatre so many years ago because Buddies philosophy has always been pro-sex. This means we always thought that sex is fine, in fact joyful — even when it is not part of marriage or a loving relationship. I personally believe that any consensual act of sex is, in fact, love — and that people who are promiscuous are not bad or sick — just joyful — and they should not be judged but prized. To quote Hannah Jelkes in Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana: “Nothing human disgusts me, Mr. Shannon, unless it's unkind, violent.” 
Apparently this philosophy was a bit foo dangerous for Brent Hawkes to be associated with.
Now I am not going to suggest that Brent Hawkes is guilty of molestation. I really don’t know.
But I will make one small — but I think important observation — that comes from all this. 
Unfortunately Christianity has become a very good place for molesters to hide.
Consider Donald Trump who, as we all know, likes to grab women in the ‘you-know-what’ — without consent. And yet, the Christian Right in American is supporting him, many whole heartedly. Then there are the molestation scandals that were carefully hidden by the Catholic church for so many years. 
If you ally yourself with Christianity, some will think you are respectable. But nowadays being Christian is no guarantee of respectability. Christianity has become a religion that -- though it may boast some kind, caring, understanding believers -- also welcomes a significant constituency who have lost their heart, their love, and their tolerance, and replaced those (once considered Christian) virtues with ‘unkindness and violence.’
Welcome to ‘Brent Hawkes Trailer Party!’

For me, this invitation is a symbol of the lies, hate, and molestation that have infected Christianity, and now, with the election of Donald Trump, threaten to infect us all.