If you work untiringly toward an ideal until you die, and in all that time your efforts go nowhere (in fact, your goal drifts further and further out of sight)…have you wasted your life?
I would argue no if you at least helped build some bridges, and brightened the lives of others, perhaps by giving them hope and peace and affection (cue the Nick Lowe song).
If you devoted yourself to the opposite — sowing suspicion and hatred, dehumanizing other people, increasing the misery of a minority that was already put upon — that’s different.
Viewed from the perspective of his final years, nothing Sheldon worked for came to pass. More LGBTQ people than ever are proudly out. Fewer people than ever are othering or maltreating them. Marriage equality is the law of the land. We have a president who is openly romantically involved with other males.
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, who founded the Traditional Values Coalition, a lobbying group that was largely known for opposing homosexuality and gay rights, died Friday. He was 85. … An unapologetic Christian conservative, Sheldon … was close to political leaders, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. …
Sheldon contended that there was a “homosexual agenda” to not only promote acceptance of gay rights but to recruit children into homosexuality. “As homosexuals continue to make inroads into public schools, more children will be molested and indoctrinated into the world of homosexuality,” he once wrote. “Many of them will die in that world.”
I kid about that last one, but the others — yep. Done deal.
On top of that, there can’t be any doubt that it’s conservative religious people, within their patriarchal institutions, who have spawned astonishing numbers of child molesters. The mere words “priest” and “youth pastor” have acquired the vague but unmistakable stink of sexual abuse.
Louis Sheldon had the misfortune of having been born in the wrong country. If he’d been a son of Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Nigeria, he could’ve looked back with satisfaction on a lifetime of hunting and imprisoning gay people.
In the United States, ultimately, he tasted only defeat.
My condolences to his family. I hope they will overcome their loss, just as the loved ones of all these murdered LGBTQ Americans had to overcome theirs.
(Screenshot via YouTube)