Pride verses religious freedom

It’s June, Pride month, a time to share our experiences of all things LGBTQ. It is a time of reflection and a time to look to the future. For me it has been an amazing journey to where we are now. The great strides we have made just in my life time with rights and acceptance by society are significant. But there is more work to be done.

When I came out 36 years ago, it was a different world. We met in secret places, bars, clubs, and parks. Now here I am sitting at work and everyone knows and it’s okay to see the light of day. Even that part of the journey is relatively new. It wasn’t safe to be gay in Northern Nevada, at least not in any traditional job. I came to this rude awakening after moving here from the San Francisco Bay area, which of course is mecca or our holy land. But even here great strides have been made. Some of my fears were only imagined in this land of trucks, hunters, miners and cowboys.

So where am I going with this piece? Recent headlines about the baker of wedding cakes have been disappointing. Some are calling is a setback. There is a problem with this new verdict, but it goes beyond those who are involved in the case. The problem is that while our community has come so far in gaining legal rights, we have failed in change the views of the religious leaders.

I know there are “special churches” that accept us. I also know that many members of the churches that don’t acknowledge us do as individuals. If we are ever going to be equal we need to tap into those people and get the view changed at the top of those organizations. If we do, that baker would no longer have a conflict with his beliefs when making his “Art”. (He may still an issue with Halloween, but we my name is spelled with a B not a W.)

So is this too much to ask? I think about what is missing from my life and why. The answer is my religious upbringing. I have come to terms with it over the years. My first reaction was to denounce it, as they had rejected me. But some things fester and won’t go away. Why shouldn’t I worship alongside my family? “Oh, you can Jeff, just do bring up that gay thing.” My parents have accepted me. My father still embraces his religious side. My mother has denounced it for her own reasons.

But I am a Christian. I don’t think being gay changes that trait. In some ways I wish I could have stayed with the Church and helped them see we are all the same. But that was going to be a lonely fight in the 80’s when churches were losing members anyway. I am not that brave person. It was not my destiny to fight that war. But I hope and pray that somebody does. I really don’t think God hates us. But that is the one group that is still keeping us at bay, the religious right.

God be with you.

(and also with you…something you can’t unlearn.)

One Response to “Pride verses religious freedom”

  1. Splendid post. Don’t let ether side “Christian” or “Gay” try to force you into one or the other.

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