I remember being in college around my then friend's kitchen table, debating homosexuality. At this time, I was a section leader in the Gospel Choir, treasurer of Advent Youth Ministries, and I sang in several ensembles around campus and in churches. No one forced me to be in these groups, but I had always been a spiritual person. I felt drawn to God and these organizations were an obvious avenue to "him"; it was a no-brainer. It wasn't until this conversation though, that I felt absolutely disconnected and abandoned.
We spent hours around that table debating whether or not homosexuality was a choice, if it was more sinful than murder or adultery, and if it can be reversed. It was an extremely passionate discussion fueled by tradition and hidden truths. We all left that table conceding that homosexuality is nothing more than a demon that has inhabited one's body and consciousness. It is up to you to fight and dispel these feelings that are not of God. Every time I think about how I got up from that table, leaving behind my truth, honor, and dignity as a gay man who loves God, I literally feel sick. I have never disappointed myself the way I did in that moment.
After college, I didn't go to church for years. When I finally did return again with a friend of mine, a "pastor" who I have seen on Jack'd since then, accosted us, saying that he wanted to pray the demons out of us. Once again, I was mentally and emotionally assaulted by the church. There is no demon inside of me because God lives in me.
Here I am, several years later. The detestation that I endure from "Christians" has been severely magnified, evidenced by the several pieces of hate mail I receive daily because I make no apologies for who I am. However, I go to a phenomenal church here in NYC called First Corinthian Baptist Church where I feel loved and respected. Existing at the intersection of loving God and being hated by his followers isn't uncommon for many LGBTQ people.
I have made the choice to fight for my relationship with God despite the efforts of extremists who yearn to replace love with hate. It's laughable; having to battle with people who choose to represent the love of God with hate-speech and sanctions has become the norm. It takes a brave religious soul to defend the LGBTQ community publicly.
Let's take a look at what has caused all this tension, shall we? These two verses in Leviticus read as follows in the King James Version:
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:22)
"If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)
Now, only a fool would take a bible verse without context and decide that all gay people need to die. Needless to say, ladies and gentlemen, the streets are littered with fools. Anyone who quotes Leviticus is suffering from a low IQ and has a desperate need to justify their disdain for gay people, especially since we know that we have been set free from the Old Testament. Furthermore, it is actually unclear contextually what the bible is talking about in these verses standing alone. Theologians have debated this forever. Now, if those that critically study the bible are having issues with this particular passage, I feel rather confident that the internet trolls I encounter quite regularly aren't quite qualified to damn my soul to hell. Thank you.
Life is short. Be encouraged that you were perfectly made. Lean on the unwavering belief that you are here for a purpose. You are meant to love and be loved... That doesn't change when someone quotes a bible verse taken out of context. It doesn't change when a law is passed. It certainly doesn't change when someone uses your circumstance as a means to justify their transgressions. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!! Be you; God made you that way.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)