January 28, 2010

Homosexuality vs. Religion

Hello. For my first blog post I had no idea what to write. I was sitting in my room tapping the keyboard uselessly, and then a book on my shelf with a little rainbow sticker caught my eye, and this post was born.

Being gay comes with no small amount of controversy. Most societies today choose to frown upon same-sex couples, never really understanding the situation from our point of view. It’s tough, it really is, dealing with the social jibes, unjust laws, and personal prejudices, but for those of us who belong to a faith that condemns homosexuality, it could be even worse. It’s one thing for others to dislike who you’re attracted to, it’s quite another when you dislike yourself for it.

I remember when I was in middle school and I started to realize that I was attracted to other guys. I was terrified. Raised Lutheran, with both parents converting to Southern Baptists after the divorce, I had heard passages from the Bible that condemned homosexuals as innately evil, hell-bound devil worshippers (I’m paraphrasing from an old pastor). It’s a difficult concept for a 13 year old to deal with, the idea that God created you as you are/everything you are is as God made you, and at the same time facing the gate of Hell for something you have no control over: who you love.

I’m sure this has been an issue for many gay men and women. The thing that helped me, though was a book called The God Box, by Alex Sanchez. I had never before felt so connected to a main character. Alex Sanchez is a gay fiction writer whose novels are all gay teenage coming-of-age stories, and in this was one about a young, deeply religious boy named Paul who was trying to cure his own homosexuality. The story starts when Paul befriends a young Christian transfer student named Manuel who is openly and proudly gay. All of Paul’s preconceived notions about homosexuality, and the more famously used Bible verses to refute same-sex relationships, are put in a different perspective, until he is finally able to accept himself for who he is. This book made me realize that you don’t have to either be gay or be Christian. Religion and sexuality are only in conflict if people are taught that they are in conflict. All of my fears and sense of self-loathing vanished in a single sentence:

“The Bible was meant to be a bridge, not a wedge. It must be read with love as the standard. Anyone who expects a person to change something as personal as who they hold in their arms at night need to change their own judgmental attitude.”

If anyone reading this has ever struggled or is struggling with sexuality and religion, I hope it helped at least a little bit. Thanks for reading.

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