In my part-time job as a volunteer at a Christian non-profit, I have occasion to be surprised by things that cross my path. At times, it’s the clientele. A variety of so many different people flutter in and out of our tiny thrift store and always appear to bring with them some of the most bizarre and thought-provoking ideas and stories…not to mention behaviors.
Other times, there are items in donations that boggle the mind. Why would anyone own this? What would have compelled someone to donate this particular item to a Christian-based organization?
Sometimes, there is no explanation. The person donating these items just needed more space, was moving, or grew tired of its appearance. There is even the occasion when someone is “revenge-donating” (a term I’ve coined locally where a person is donating someone else’s items because they’ve had a disagreement)!
On rare occasions, however, there is a simple explanation. The individual donating these items wanted to make a statement, especially due to the fact that this is a Christian-based organization.
This Alaskan community is small, very diverse, and very divided. Just as there are lines of demarcation in the Lower 48, the Last Frontier State has its political in-fighting as well. There is a difference though, because our island community (separated from other even smaller communities) happens to be sequestered on a huge island roughly the size of Rhode Island. Believe it or not, this society has its “haves” and “have-nots,” just like the rest of the world, and the political lines are deeply divided between those who believe in freedom and those who wish to squelch that freedom.
Sounds like Washington DC, you’re probably thinking, right? Well, that’s not far from the truth. Except, here, the political classes while similar (less rich than poor) are reversed in their belief systems. Here, the overwhelming majority are right-wing and conservative-minded, while the liberals and socialists are limited to the state and local government workers and unions.
We have a large artistic community that also plays well with the tourism industry. All winter long when the cruises are absent and the locals go back to their normal activities, the artist community here goes into overdrive producing their wares for the following tourist season. When that arrives once again in the Spring (pandemic times excluded, of course) the artistic community breaks out into a celebration of their work in order to sell to the Alaska-obsessed traveler.
Due to our special artist community, there is also an emphasis by the public library and other local municipal-related groups on the LGBTQ+ activists who occasionally (in fair weather) descend onto the streets and avenues to march with banners or set up gatherings at the beach where the NPR-affiliated radio staff and local newspaper photographer ensure they snap enough pictures to fill the front page of the left-leaning rag or record enough snippets of interviews for midday broadcast done with those who participated in the celebration of not being straight or cis-gender.
The small Christian-based organization where I volunteer has a history of assisting the community, especially in areas of the homeless population or underprivileged families. They don’t discriminate according to racial lines, gender, or religion. All who arrive for assistance with food or clothing are not turned away and more often than not, depart the premises with even more than they anticipated.
As I sorted through donations one day a few weeks ago, I came upon a few articles of clothing which very definitively showed a certain affinity for the LGBTQ+ community. The clothing may have been donated merely because the person thought they’d be accepted by the locals as normal, but if anyone knows this community well, they’d understand that this is just not the case. Don’t get me wrong, people are tolerant here…they are just not participants in this push for broad-based acceptance of behavior that the vast majority of Christians find sinful and off-putting.
The T-shirt that struck me as interesting however was one that stated quite defiantly, “Some people are just gay. Get over it.”
When I saw the shirt and read its banner in large letters, I smirked and shook my head. Following that logic, I added a few more statements that might very well be embraced by someone who once wore this article of clothing. How about, “Some people just believe in killing unborn babies. Get over it.” Or how about, “Some people just see the color of your skin. Get over it.” Here’s another: “Some people hate America. Get over it.”
Now, I don’t begrudge people for creating these types of T-shirts with these types of messages. After all, this is exactly why the First Amendment was created. If you have something to say, whether others may agree, you should have the right to say it. The people who made these T-shirts may very well be nice people. Heck, they donated a shirt to a Christian non-profit for the benefit of someone else who doesn’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on some brand name at Walmart or Target.
Let’s back up though and remember that the very same people who espouse these types of in-your-face messages are exactly the same people who would be outraged and ready to cancel your registration to humanity if you wore a T-shirt with similar right-leaning narratives.
Let’s try a few, shall we?
“Some people just support the US Constitution. Get over it.”
“Some people are just straight and white. Get over it.”
“Some people don’t agree that climate change is human-induced. Get over it.”
“Some people just believe an unborn baby has the right to live. Get over it.”
“Some people just believe all men are created equal. Get over it.”
“Some people just support science and believe that men are men and women are women. Get over it.”
“Some people just think that illegal aliens shouldn’t vote. Get over it.”
“Some people just believe that Critical Race Theory is cloaked Nazism. Get over it.”
“Some people are just Christians. Get over it.”