Trials of a Liberal Gay Christian

Being a liberal Gay Christian usually means you get flak from all sides.  In fact, outside of our own home church, my husband and I often feel like a couple of pariahs.  No matter which way we look, we find our beliefs, our convictions, and often our very persons under attack.

For starters, let’s look at the “Christian Right” (which is neither).  This group is the obvious one with which to start, primarily because lately they’ve been so noisy.  As the struggle for marriage equality continues, these people are becoming increasingly desperate; they pull Bible verses out of their behinds (to say nothing of context), they refuse to accept the fact that some of them are poor translations and need to be looked at again, and lately we’ve seen a resurgence of Anita Bryant’s old tactic of telling outright lies about the LGBT community.  In fact, old Anita has been in the news lately; I doubt she’ll last as long as the carton of orange juice in my refrigerator.

“You can’t be gay and be a Christian.”  God, if I had a nickel for every time I heard or read that someplace, I could retire to Key West.  In fact I was a Christian long before I knew I was gay, so the answer “of course I can” is obvious, at least to me.

But I am not going to spend too much time on these reactionary conservatives.  They’re noisy, so everyone has already heard them a dozen times over.  I just wish the saner elements of the Conservative/Republican parties would finally sever their ties with this bat-shit crazy faction of Christianity, a “marriage” that took place during the Reagan administration and as far as I am concerned serves only to rob Conservatives of any and all credibility.  As liberal as I am, I do find myself agreeing with a Conservative on occasion, but until they clean their own house, I really have a hard time dealing with them.

Which brings me to the other side of the coin.  Liberal Gay Christians, as a movement, often find ourselves standing with a good many atheists, many of whom are former Christians of one denomination or another who were treated so cruelly by their churches that they have turned their backs on religion completely.

Here’s where it gets hairy.  Some of these people are what I refer to as “Fundamentalist Atheists.”  While discussions within the movement are usually about politics, the actions of the above-mentioned Christian faction often bring religion into the mix, and the results are usually disastrous.  Because we liberal Christians are usually so shamed by the words and actions of the extremists who claim to follow the same Teacher we do that we often find ourselves either apologizing for our own beliefs or saying nothing.  And on the rare occasions when we do talk openly about our beliefs, if there is a Fundamentalist Atheist in the room, (s)he will immediately go on the attack, claiming that Jesus never existed and referring to God as “imaginary friend” and “sky fairy.”

What these people fail to see is that when they resort to these insults, they lower themselves to the same level as those extremist “Christians” we are supposed to be united against.

I am not in any way defending the “Christian Right.”  The Jesus they follow is a gun-toting, reactionary bigot; in fact, if the REAL Jesus were ever to come back, in some parts of this country they’d probably demand to see His papers.

In the context of the struggle for full equality for the LGBT community, most Gay Christians do not proselytize; any faith-based or religion-based activity we engage in is usually in the context of educating the churches.  When we are engaged in other pursuits, most of us don’t say anything unless we’re asked, because Fundamentalist Atheists are just as bad, nasty, judgmental, and insulting as Fundamentalist Christians are.  In short, the extremists on both sides are hypocrites.  But in my view the atheists are worse.  NOT because they do not believe as I do (that is their own business, and I would not dream of trying to impose my belief system on them), but because in their anger at their own suffering at the hands of the Churches, they usually lump all Christians together, forgetting or conveniently overlooking that some of us are standing right next to them.

It’s a lonely place to be sometimes.

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