Once upon a time, as all the best fairy tales begin, I trusted the church and believed that they distilled and distributed the word of god down to common men like me. I understood that I was sinful and that my life was one where I needed the guidance of others but as I grew I found myself rejected. I was not a murderer or a philanderer, I wasn’t anything except a confused child who needed to belong and to be told that he was acceptable. When I was repeatedly told that I wasn’t I turned my anger in on myself because it would be wrong to blame those who were perfect.
Before I had reached my majority I was exorcised to drive out the demons that were making me gay. In a single night a man showed me how to hate myself so much and believe I was so evil that it has taken me twenty five years to realize I don’t have a demon inside. This man claimed he was showing me Christ’s love in driving the demons away and so when he failed I ended up hating myself even more for being too weak and sinful to receive god’s salvation. In the end when I look back on my life a lot of the choices I have made have their roots in that one session. In being too evil to be good I chose paths that ultimately damaged and destroyed my life. I never believed that relationships were acceptable in the sight of god and so chose badly. Even when I was deeply in love with someone the little voice in the back of my head telling me I was a devil driven sinner destroyed any passion that was there and left me unfulfilled. It was this man who gave me the reasons to try and kill myself eight times and I can’t say that I will never be at the point where I will try again because of him.
In a way this smiling man who represented Christ did manage to convert me. He managed to screw me up so badly that I have never known what I is to have a good relationship and certainly has had more effect on my libido than a bottle of bromide. Sexual fulfillment is not something I have known and so I have at times been driven to find more and more bizarre ways to achieve it. He took the right of every human to find love and sexual satisfaction in a relationship and drove a wedge between the two which I have never managed to heal.
If I was alone in this it would be fine. If I was a sole sufferer of this abuse then I could at least say I was the only one and I just needed to deal with it. But there is a huge body of people who believe that they have the “cure” for being gay and abuse children and adults for their own beliefs. The church has allowed people within it’s body to make a living, and a very good one at that, out of pseudo science, bad psychology, and warped beliefs about possession by demons. When challenged they say that I don’t have sufficient faith or have limited understanding. Perhaps that is the situation. I don’t think it is though.
Take away the religious views for a moment and look at the situation rationally and as a human being. What is actually so strange or scary about homosexuality. Every society has some tradition of it. Every society has dealt with it differently. But what ultimately is so bad about being gay? We pay in and work for the betterment of the whole while not producing children to use up the resources. We don’t affect the way that the next generation develops in any way except in trying to make it more tolerant and progressive. But when you add religion in it seems the whole rational argument for acceptance breaks down. People like me, children in fact, become damaged and destroyed.
At the moment the head of the Roman Catholics is using every means possible to sway the views of society to drive us back into the shadows where we can be demonized. At the same time ministers, bishops, and heads of churches across the globe and of all denominations are whipping up hatred towards us and all because of a word that was inserted into the bible in the 1940s. Its been shown that the translation of the passages that are quoted as reasons to hate actually don’t refer to loving gay relationships. But that doesn’t matter. It’s a convenient way to rally a congregation behind a minister and shore up their position of power and their calling from the lord. No where in the bible does it mention demons being the cause of being gay, and yet ministers and pastoral teams have made it their life work to drive them out. Any successes are because the person is so in need of acceptance that they will believe anything rather than be different. How can any Christian stand by and allow their brothers and sisters in Christ to misrepresent him so badly?
In the end I have no answer other than to pray that one day the church returns to the teachings of Christ. Sure he would be in the gay clubs telling people to turn away from sin, but the sin would be the excess of sex outside of a loving relationship. I also know he would be as stern with a heterosexual slutting it around. Sin is sin. I remember when I was growing up being taught there was no difference between the sin of murder and the sin of stealing a sweet from a shop. All sin was sin and it was why we needed a personal relationship with god. I see now that it is man not god who has placed degrees of sin in place and made some more guilty than others. There has been no trial, no questioning of the verdict, no seeking justice for those abused by the church, because the church can never be wrong. The church is infallible but only because its members have never dared to question what it and its leaders say.
But wait. Isn’t that how the Church of England started. Isn’t that how the Lutherans, Wesleyans, Methodists, Baptists, Free Evangelicals, ad nausea started? People turning away from one branch because it didn’t fit with their world view and their understanding of god? Weren’t they demonized and ostracized for being heretics? Weren’t they burnt at the stake, or forced out of kingdoms, or excommunicated for what they believed? How comfortable they have all become in their condemnation of others once they become part of the club. They reach the table as an equal with the other denominations and they turn on those outside who say that everyone has a right to a personal relationship with god. They use pseudoscience and faith as bludgeons to make their point and keep those who don’t subscribe suppressed.
My question is and always will be where are those in the body of the church standing up to their leaders and challenging the destruction of souls? The church is the reason so many young and not so young people commit suicide and the congregations are guilty by association. If your minister preaches that being gay is wrong and you don’t challenge him then and there it is you not the homosexual who is guilty of sin. Just as guilty as the murderer, the philanderer and the kid who nicks a candy bar. Why? Because you allowed Christ to be perverted for the sake of a members club.
And if you have children? Love them for the amazing, challenging, unique humans they are and don’t try to drive out demons that actually are living in you. The demons of pride, of hate, of anger, of judgementalism and a legion of others.