Thursday, October 13, 2005

On Being Gay and Christian

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From The Brown Daily Herald of Brown University Columns/Marc-Donahue.07.On.Being.Gay.And.Christian-1019769.shtml Marc Donahue '07: On being gay and Christian National Coming-Out Week By Marc Donahue Published: Thursday, October 13, 2005 "If you are already deeply involved in homosexual behavior, seek help from a trustworthy, professional Christian counselor." That's how the annotation in the Bible my grandmother gave me for my high school graduation ends. It's in reference to Romans 1:26, 27. I went to church every Sunday growing up, for 18 years. I went to a Christian summer camp for seven years, and vacation bible school every year before that. In my senior year I was a camp officer, leading a camp of 250 in prayer, song and example at least three times a day. Those summers were some of the best times of my life. My camp friends are some of the most genuine and caring people I have ever encountered - they understood a part of my religious identity that often goes overlooked in my life at Brown. I wanted to share my whole life with them, my whole person, but I never came out to most of them. I was too afraid. I remember the first time I prayed to God about being gay. I was lying on my bed, around the sixth grade, late at night, turned toward the wall with my hands folded across my chest. I said "God, you know that thing I've been worrying about - is it true?" I wouldn't be able to say the word "gay" to myself for another five years. It was foolish of me, really - God knew what was in my heart, and I knew what the word was. Everytime someone called a book, a homework assignment or practically anything gay (as was the vogue in middle school), I knew that they really meant me. I was gay, and no matter what I tried to do to stop being gay, it never mattered. But I was at a loss when it came to how to square who I was romantically and sexually with who I was religiously. I saw James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and my personal favorite, Pat Robertson, on TV, and they all blamed the ills of society on those godless, promiscuous homosexuals. Not only that, but apparently I was going to hell for my "sin." I don't want to give you the wrong impression: My church was fairly liberal, in the sense that we don't mind gay people as long as they don't talk about their sexuality, ever. All my life I was taught that God made all of us, that he knew us before we were born. I couldn't understand why God would put this burden on me. I was a good person. I was the best Christian I could be. Why would God make me a faggot? I came to the conclusion that God was a dick, and I told him to piss off. I couldn't actually leave the church. That would have been unacceptable to my family, and apostasy is never that easy. Furthermore I was already elected to serve as a camp officer. So I made one last trip to Camp Christian. There I elected to enroll in a workshop on sexuality and faith. I was angry and I couldn't wait to tell all those Christians about how unfair their God was. The woman leading the workshop's name was Cindy, and I'll never forget her words. Like all things in this world, she said, "your sexuality is a gift from God." Sex feels good. It's supposed to. It's supposed to let you experience another person in marriage in a powerful and meaningful way. I shared my story with her, and she hugged me and told me that God loved me. It took a few months to really sink in, but eventually I realized that I am as blessed as everyone else. But I get to be with cute gay boys instead of having to deal with any crazy women (straight guys, God have mercy on you all). So in the end, I found my Christian counselor, and she showed me what being a real person of faith and an honest human being is all about. If Pat Robertson wants to damn me to hell, that's fine. I'll deal with God when I see him, but for this lifetime, I'm going to be honest about how God made me: absolutely fabulous.