Pride vs. Faith

June 9, 2010

As Pride month comes on once again this year, I think it’s easy to question its necessity when it is easier than ever to be out and proud here in the States and across the globe. But of course, there is still a long road ahead of us, and that fact becomes painfully evident in light of the latest anti-gay crusader to actually come out as being like, totally gay; Family Research Council co-founder, (now ex)N.A.R.T.H. member, and “ex-gay” movement player George Alan Rekers. Rekers just got caught taking a rentboy on vacation with him for help with luggage... and sexual massages. The fact that this guy has spent his life fighting gay rights, gay adoption (in which he got paid big $$ from the tax payers in Florida for his bogus testimony) as well as working to promote the notion that homosexuality can be “cured” is running around with a male prostitute, it’s clear we have a case of serious mind-bending self-hate.

It’s been often noted that those that seem a little too obsessed with hating gays often are just fighting feelings that they have and can’t deal with based on what they have been taught in their lives. And, it’s no secret that religion is the biggest proponent of homophobia, and it’s shown, time and time again, just how messed up and hindering the conflicting feelings of wanting something that you have been told is the worst possible thing you could do can be. But there is a school of thought that puts faith above all else in life, and that cause and effect brews such an awful stew of unhappiness with those born gay and in a religion that abhors it, it’s a wonder that year after year we don’t put the brakes on and say... this just doesn’t work. At all. (Rekers is a Southern Baptist Reverend, he didn’t have a chance.)

I was very lucky to grow up with parents that constantly praised me, set me up with a strong sense of self, and didn’t force me into a religious lifestyle that I never connected with. While they were not initially, let’s say thrilled, with the idea of me being gay, time, meeting my friends and boyfriend, and the change in social acceptance has brought them up to the point that they might even be happy that I’m exactly as I am. No strings. Talk about a serious rung in the ladder of my own personal pride!

But despite my personal (non)relationship with organized religion, it is not impossible to live a life of faith and be gay, happy, and true to God, whomever that may be. I’ve seen much good happen from people that have discovered faith that may have lost their way in life and it’s important to recognize that. The foundations of most religions are very very positive, lessons on how to be, how to treat one another, etc. but the sticky part comes when you have opposing gospels that say different things about how we were created, and how we should be. It’s an age-old conflict that has set up the entire human race for failure, because it’s somehow impossible to let an opposing viewpoint co-exist.

I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “If God hates homosexuals, he wouldn’t have made any.” There is so much truth in that, no matter what you believe. Maybe I’m just more inclined to think that the earth is a big beautiful place and that we, the humans that inhabit it, are here to live and laugh and create art and music and things that fill us with happiness and hope that anything is possible... and to learn things about ourselves
through our differences. It might be crazy Pollyanna to think so, but if the alternative is that we are to live in constant fear of an unseen force that imposes doom onto our acting on feelings that hurt no one... well that’s some bullshit to me. It just doesn’t make any sense. And given the history of the human race... it’s clear it DOESN’T WORK.

And isn’t the religious notion that ‘this is what I (have been taught to) believe to be true and therefore you also need to follow along the same exact path of choices’ the epitome of arrogance? I mean, just because you like sushi and I don’t shouldn’t mean that I cannot get married... or that I can be fired from a job for not liking sushi. Or even serve in the military because I can’t stomach a California Roll. It sounds ridiculous, but in essence... you’re love of sushi is really all about YOU. Not me. I’m totally cool with your liking sushi... go crazy, just don’t force it down my throat. (sound familiar?) But it seems that it’s a basic human trait to get confused, angry, and lash out when someone exuded a behavior or interest we don’t. “Wait, you don’t feel exactly the way I do on everything? I need to dismiss you and then breed hate and violence toward you because I don’t understand that!” Well, you can take that raw bit of hate and ignorance, roll it up in rice, and shove it up your ass. Check please.

It seems crazy to me that while on one hand you have religions that teach that same-sex attraction and homo-sex is an ungodly abomination with, on the other hand, people being born through the ages with these feelings and not realizing how that effects all of us. Would Catholic priests that are born gay, been taught all their life that that is some kind of f-you to God, still molest young boys if they had known gay was totally okay and were able to grow into their sexuality like everyone else? Would guys like George Rekers, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig spend their entire life’s work to make the public hate gay people if they knew it was okay in the eyes of God? My guess is not. I don’t equate my absence of faith with being a happy, well-adjusted gay... that would be foolish. But given the still alive official stance on homosexuality that the Catholic Church and many organized religions have, it certainly didn’t hurt...

I’m of course not the first person, or the last, that will put this two and two together. And yet as old as the human race is, we’re STILL debating this, and hating on ourselves for it. And while things are quickly changing here in the states, American evangelicals are spending their time teaching hate in Africa in the hopes to make that continent so homophobic that they believe in death, (DEATH!) to the gays. It is so important, as homosexuals, to come to the conclusion that the way we ARE has nothing to do with the struggle between Heaven and Hell. We have to love ourselves, without question, no matter what we’ve been taught. It’s the essence of pride, and a reminder that it is still needed year after year

Love yourself. Love your God. And love one another, despite the differences because hate is TAUGHT, it doesn’t come naturally. Happy Pride.

Tags: Gay Culture, spirituality, Gay Community, Pride
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Post written by Cyrus (View Author Profile)
About this author: Writer, DJ, driven, and clueless... I'm still just trying to work it all out, and hope I never do.
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Comments

As a happy gay Christian, I say, right on...love on!

you pretty much it everything dead on....my ex, whom is very religious, i think would also completely agree with everything you have said...things from the bible can be mis-read as well as mis-understood.....those smart enough to know and to read cause easly point out another scripture that completely counters some of the ones that get throw our way in the name of hate....being strong and proud is one of the easiest and best ways to break the cycle of hate

I think it's important to note that, just as there is diversity in the gay community, there is diversity in the religious community. There is in fact a growing number of churches, synagogues, and other faith communities that are open and welcoming to the full participation in religious/spiritual practice by gay men and lesbians. I am fortunate to have found such a church, which just happens to be the oldest Lutheran congregation in North America. While not every Lutheran congregation is open and affirming to the GLBT population, in my congregation I have found a safe space to worship as I wish, with lots of love and support from the rest of the congregation. And when it becomes legal in my state to marry my boyfriend, I will be married in my church.
So, for all the guys on Daddyhunt that want do want to continue to build their spiritual side, I encourage them to ignore those homophobic religious zealots, and seek out a place where you can be accepted and welcomed in that quest. Those places exist, for many mainstream denominations. In our community, we even have an interfaith group working to promote Welcoming Congregations to the GLBT community, which is too frequently ignorant of the options that are available. For more information, you can visit the Yahoo group 'Welcoming Congregations'.

I really wish that when one brings up the topic of faith that people would look beyond the Big Three (Christian, Muslim and Jewish) faiths. Especially as gay people, I really wish that by and large we'd look beyond the Big Three and turn our attentions to World Religions.

The simple fact is it's only been in the last 20 years at best that there has even been a discussion about being all inclusive and bringing in those lost souls that are out there who happen to be gay back into the fold of the Big Three. Whereas there are multiple world religions out there that not only have been welcoming of gay people but embrace that lifestyle as just another manifestation of whichever God or Goddess they happen to worship.

Please don't misunderstand. It is my FIRM belief that one should worship where one feels most comfortable. If you want to be a part of the Big Three, may only blessings follow that decision. Far be it from me to take the arrogant stance so many of my religious brothers and sisters have that "my way is right and your way is wrong". I'm all about religious tolerance and embracing positive spiritual lifestyles.

I can only speak from personal experience, and here's mine. At 22 I attended my last worship service inside the Big Three. God (as I understood Him then) and I had a conversation and we decided together that I would go on a spiritual journey with Him outside of the confines of the dogma I'd been raised with. I came out as a gay man and God and I have continued on this journey together to this day.

It was the best spiritual deicision I've ever made.

I've learned so much and become a much deeper spirit than I would have ever been, I suspect, if had I stayed inside the Big Three. The world has so much to offer spiritually. I learn every day. I grow every day. And I'm affirmed by the Universe, not just as a gay man but as a spirit, everyday.

Again, if you find a spiritual home inside the Big Three I bless you. I'm happy for you. Finding a spiritual home is sometimes a very hard thing to come by. So you are indeed blessed to find that home inside the Big Three.

However if you're a spirit who has never quite gelled with the spiritual teachings of the place you are in (regardless of whether that is inside or outside the Big Three) just know there are spiritual options for you. If you've been brought up outside the Big Three, maybe the Big Three will find a welcome home for you. And if you've been brought up inside the Big Three, I can tell you for a fact there are other spiritual options available. Maybe one will be right for you. But you'll never know unless you try.

May you find peace wherever your spirit lands.

I totally agree! We have been conditioned to think that there was no spirituality on the planet before organized religions came into the picture. India in many ways, is the Mother of Spirituality. Unfortunately, even Hinduism was tainted, especially with its English occupation for so many years, but in ancient Yogi philosophy, like in many early spiritual traditions, sexuality and people who loved others of the same sex, were viewed as equal, as something that Divine Consciousness incarnated as in order to have that experience. In some traditions, gay people were seen as special due to their uniqueness.

We cannot be oppressed unless we allow it. There is no need to stay in churches that don't accept gay people and continue to perpetuate oppression by telling us to change (become what we are not!), or that there is a God that condemns who we are. That is never a spiritual approach. As one becomes more spiritual, the natural tendency is to accept others in their difference, even if we don't embrace their creed. We have a choice as to whether or not we accept erroneous teachings.

I welcome the article as a fresh breath of air. My work in the last few years has been about inviting my gay brothers to join in the life of Spirit as who they are. If you are interested, visti my website: www.ajvargas.com.

Hugs and Namaste brothers!

Personally, I find hard to reconcile my homosexuality with the Abrahamic faiths. So many people of been persecuted and killed for being gay, for not believing the same as the extremists, etc. My friends and I have been caught up in religion-based persecution, be it because we didn't share the same beliefs, we were gay, what have you. Not to mention that ancient civilizations such as Greek, Roman, Chinese, Japanese, and many African tribes all held great respect for homosexuality, many of which making it a basic phase of every young man's lifestyle.

A lot of people tell me that God is love. I call bullshit. The Big Three's holy doctrines revile homosexuality and condemn it's practitioners to death (anyone curious enough can look them up). Then they either: A) point out other scriptures that they claim debunk them, that's called contradiction and makes me less inclined to believe that faith; or B) Tell me not to pay attention to those passages and to focus on the good parts. So, what I'm supposed to cherry-pick through a religion's holy doctrine and pick out the parts I don't like and toss them aside? Seems rather insulting or disrespectful to the faith's deity, if you ask me.

The only spiritual path I've felt any true acceptance on is the path of the "Chaos Magician", which is just a fancy way of saying that I'm an eclectic that takes bits and pieces of other religions, experiment with them, and go with what experience tells me. Even then, I haven't found anything would tell me that there's an "all-loving deity that accepts me, homosexuality and all".

I can't remember exactly where I heard it, but I remember a saying from someplace: "Judge a group of people not by their best, but by their worst". Makes a lot of sense to me: You can have a group of people with their best being real stand-up people, but their worst are absolute scum. Now take people whose worst aren't that bad, even pretty good, and imagine great their best are.

For me, a recovering Catholic, I had to throw all the metaphysical baggage out and now mostly claim to be a "Buddhist without beliefs" a la Stephen Batchelor. It is more a matter for me now of depth psychology and practical ethics. My other influences are LSD (natch!), Spinoza's "view from nowhere" (who some Jews claim even though he was excommunicated, who inspired Einstein's cosmic religion), and some neopagans like the Radical Faeries as long as they don't jive me with newage sewage!

Your mileage will vary.

GREAT article - so thoughtful and well-written. I'm going to send it to my Born-again Christian mother. Not to rub it in her face, but to (hopefully) get her to see another point of view.

I love the quote: "If God hates homosexuals, He wouldn't have made any." That's fantastic!

I must say I am very moved by the article. Whether "others Christians" realize it or not, we are ALL a part of a family as believers, straight or gay....and as believers, we ought not to divide among us. We have individual biases and blinders which prevent us from seeing the beauty of others, and this is the age-old struggle that religion has failed to remedy. How can we see clearly as individuals, when we are taught (as people of diverse groups) so many conflicting ideologies? One thing must be clear to everyone though, and that is that HATRED is not of God. I do believe in a disdain towards those things which separate us from God, but really, those things are a result of our own fear & misunderstanding towards others. If we truly learned to "love others as we love ourselves", then I think that simple mantra would enough to unify people of ALL faiths. The problem in "loving others as you love yourself" though comes when people who DON'T love themselves start "loving others" in the same manner. And that kind of "love" is just poison to the soul of humanity. How can we have pride in ourselves when we have been taught hatred & fear? Pride comes from a sense of earned responsibility, and the respect that comes with it is something that can not be demanded, especially from those who try to play God with our lives. We must earn others' respect by loving ourselves, and that begins with forgiveness & acceptance of God's mercy. If we cannot give mercy to others (including ourselves), then how can we expect it from God? We earn our pride through act of acceptance, regardless of others' ignorance & fear.

Religion is not God and God is not Religion...confusion between organized Religion and ones faith in God is a sad thing. They are mutually exclusive. One can have Faith and believe without belonging to an organized religion. What is sad is that organized religion drives a wedge between us and our Lord...You can hate Rome, Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars...but don't lose your Faith...Don't let them take that from you...It is yours to have and your personal relationship with God is just that..."Personal"...

When I came out to my sister who is born again she told me god doesn't make mistakes, how lovely. So I am a mistake, mind you, I was insulted and it took a couple months before we talked again but that is what religion does. It pollutes your mind with a bunch of crap that some self loathing, hiding in the dark with some lube and a whip so he can flog himself for being an abomination wrote on some idle sunday when he was out of lube and couldn't find his whip. Seriously guys, the best way I have seen faith described is " Faith is not believing we know...Faith is knowing that we believe." and I mean believe in something, anything as long as it keeps you happy and healthy and blessing this world with your presence instead of destroying you brothers and sisters with anger and hate written on some idle sunday then have faith, believe, love, be free. You only get to do this life once.

I gotta weigh in here.

I was raised in a family where you studied the Bible, but didn't talk about religion. It was sort of like separation of Church and State. That was primarily because, being from Pennsylvania, my heritage was very denominationally mixed: Swedish Lutherans, Dutch Reformed, English Anglicans, Puritans, and Quakers, Welsh Quakers, Dutch Presbyterians, one French Huguenot, Scots/Irish Presbyterians, German Calvinists, and lots of Swiss Mennonites who were kicked out of Switzerland in the early 1700's.

I had no idea I was gay when I was in college. I guess the Chaplain of my Lutheran College knew better than I did. He invited me to his talk on "Homosexuality and the Bible" I didn't go, but one of my best friends (who is now a gay-friendly Lutheran Bishop did. He married the woman I introduced him to. <G> ).

What did Jesus say about homosexuality? Nada.

Oh, yeah, there are things in Leviticus about men patronizing temple prostitutes of either sex.
See "Shellfish"

On the other hand, see the Gospel where Jesus heals the "slave" of the Centurion. There are lots of discussions about the translation of the word for "slave". So look it up. The guy is the Centurion's "body slave" i.e., the guy responsible for the sexual needs of the Centurion.

The Centurion could have let the "slave" die, and bought another for sex. But he LOVED his "slave" and went to this lowly Nazarene, whom he probably considered lower than his slave, and Jesus blessed the union.

Jesus blessed the union.

Love prevailed, despite Leviticus. Jesus-given Scripture lets us eat shellfish, but the SAME scripture lets stand anti-gay statements in Leviticus? I don't think so.

Wow! There are some very well thought out replys posted here on this topic. I was raised in an ultra conservative church where we were taught that anything other than the Adam and Eve relationship was wrong. It has taken a long time for me to finally become comfortable with the idea of religion again. When reading the Bible, one could definately make an arguement for either side however; if you put aside all but the red letter quotes that were made by Jesus and not some human interpretation, I don't believe he ever addressed homosexuality. He usually talked about how much the Father loves ALL of us and not by what we do or do not do. Personally, I know who my God is and I know who my savior is and what he did for me. Its called the free gift of salvation, not the gift with strings attached. To quote Amy Grant (Christian singer), "If we could have done anything on our own to get to heaven, we wouldn't have needed a Savior!". I respect all faiths and points of views, these are just my beliefs. I hope I haven't offended anyone.

Just one of God's little homos!

If their had been video cameras and a larger amount of people who could read and write apart from the censorship of church elders 1000's of years ago there might have been the same ole scams uncovered as is always the case with human nature. Maybe a disciple might have flipped the birdie to the camera without realizing it was recording. Might have made for entertaining media rather than what it became.

Did George Rekers actually come out? Being outed in the press doesn't equal coming out. Coming out is an act of courage. Living in the closet until you get caught is not.

If someone ever tells you "God doesn't make mistakes", then your response ought to be "That's right....it wasn't a mistake that He made me gay- He did it for a reason!"....It's not your fault if uptight straight people can't understand that reason.

wow, that is so profound. Why are we here as gay people! How do we understand the reason for our being. Is our contribution to society the reason or is it just to be the best we can be. Your comment is awesome. Thanks

I'm thankful to be learning that you can live in faith and be proud of who you are.. thanks for the posts...

It ironic really. What many conservative Christians don’t seem to realize is that Jesus was a MAJOR rebel during his time and that what he rebelled against and completely turned on its head was the religiousosity of the time. Yet today, those who call themselves Christians often do the very things that Jesus preached against.

Jesus hung out with the poor, leapers, prostitutes, and tax collectors. The worst of the worst and those considered the greatest sinners. He talked with them, ate with them, healed them, and accepted them… just as they were. His greatest contempt was for those who followed the letter of the Law without ever getting the real message or why the Law was created. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. And the second is like it: to love your neighbor as yourself. The whole of the Law can be summed up in these two commandments.”

But the gay community is not exempt from hypocrisy. I attend a small gay church here in Fort Lauderdale. We have participated in the gay pride here for many years. Yet this year the pride board told us that, while they would be happy to have our choir sing again this year, they could not sing any songs that had the name Jesus in the lyrics. Half naked gogo boys are okay. Foul mouthed drag queens are great. But don’t say the name Jesus because someone might get offended…

Life is short. The secrets will be revealed soon enough so have some fun for sure :)

As clergy in the Episcopal Church who welcomes all people, and meets them where they are, the one thing I've noticed is that many organized religious folks seem to think it's a biblical tradition to think only of THEIR personal piety, and THEIR chances for entry into whatever they think heaven is.

The reality is, much like this website, people are called into community, and if you look at the true ministry of Jesus on earth, he called people into community, fed, healed, and taught others to NOT put yourself first......strange how 2 millennium has kinda screwed things up, huh?

I have seen Pride parades loose their way as each individual group tries to use their time for their own personal agenda, be it a non-profit, or a person's own hedonistic gratification. I get a sense that many people who attend Pride seek community, and don't find it. Then, from my side of the coin, as a representative of a faith tradition who thinks in terms of community, we get a touch of resentment from people who have been abused in the name of Christianity, and other faith traditions.

I'm not sure there is a quick answer, but maybe the first step is for people to realize that it is community that they seek, and once this is found, all types of healing can occur, and all kinds of growth can take place.

my religion since birth teaches of a God who loves the soul and wants whats best for us. Since I have always been a stereo-typical gay guy- efeminate,unathletic,artsy , fashion oriented,abit silly and samesex oriented, I learned early that I can be all of those things - and that's ok, just keep your" peter" to yourself. Tho ,that may seem rediculos to some, it makes sense for me. Being gay dosen't mean I have to be sexually immoral. God wants us to be eternally happy, moral standards lead to that end. I am gay and don't question it or feel ashamed of it - it is how God created me, and we all need to strive to be the best we can be with God"s help. If we don"t live a sexually moral life,I'm not sure we can be the best person God has in mind for us. That goes for all the ethicial morals- not an easy lifestyle, but a fufilling one. Talerence and love are cosidered Godly vitues by most ,ethicial morals , to me are,also. I'm not perfect and don"t profess to be, just sharing my veiws on the subject of being gay and have a moral foundation. God help each us to be happy and good.

Without wishing to upset anyone but just wishing to tell the TRUTH of the human situation.

Why can't humans accept that none of us KNOW anything about god or the afterlife?

Any bizarre theory is as valid as any theory put forward by any religion because there is ZERO PROVABLE EVIDENCE. There are an infinite number of possibilities regarding the nature of god and the afterlife - all with exactly equal possibility of being the TRUTH. How anyone can choose to pick one needle out of the infinitely massive bunch of needles and choose to devoutly believe in that theory is really very, very insane.

So many people prefer to lie to themselves than embrace the true human situation.

The human race really is quite insane.

Accept that NOBODY KNOWS and nobody can ever know. It is actually quite liberating.

Just try not to hurt other humans and forget about belief.

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Nietzsche

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpfVeMp_UKM&feature=player_embedded

Look at a living cell and you see complexity beyond human ingenuity. The odds that a living cell happened by accident are so close to zero that the difference doesn't matter.

Look at DNA and you see information -- a small library's worth of information. Where there is information, there is a preceding Intelligence.

The explanation for most people is that a force outside of time and space, i.e., God, created everything. The choice "Nothing created everything" makes no sense, except as a delusional form of moral escapism.

The finest minds of science have been spiritual, e.g., Newton and Einstein. Newton was a Christian.

The Bible is widely considered the greatest book ever written. You can't make up that stuff.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best forensically validated events in history.
If you think the Shroud of Turin is a fake, make one.

The Bible is full of prophecies which have been spot on. That should be sufficient evidence of the Bible's Divine origin.

I'm writing this because this is serious business, probably the most serious business. The New Testament is about salvation. Turning down the free gift of Salvation is probably the biggest mistake anyone can make. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit isn't too bright either.

I'm not sure if you're an atheist or doing a parody of atheism but I would say that atheists are deliberately and willfully blind to the evidence which they demand.

There's no gentle way to say this: People who are quick to categorize others as "crazy" and "stupid" for having faith in the God of the Bible are projecting their own weaknesses.

If "NOBODY KNOWS and nobody can ever know" then how can you be sure that your statement is true? This is the same logic that says "there are no moral absolutes"...to which I reply "Are you absolutely sure about that?" Face it belief or lack thereof requires faith.

My comment (after trying to read this first blog) is: why in the world was this system set up so that it's white print on a dark background? Has no one at DH done any reserch? This is the hardest way to read anything... any ad expert can tell you this. Do they wan us to go blind? Sheesh...

Lots of great comments here reflecting the rich, intelligent and deeply spiritual nature of our community, I mean just look at us. For those who say we have no Spirit, they are completely ignorant. I was raised Catholic and began questioning at a very early age. I knew I was gay at about 10 years old.

Since moving to New Mexico, I have found a great deal of acceptance within neighboring tribal communities. I recently presented as a panelist on my experience with domestic and sexual violence in my first relationship and my subsequent recovery. This is a very spiritual path. I spoke about how I often felt my troubles were attributed to being gay, and that the Church's view of me so often contributed to that. But now I have a different view. I consider myself to be a Two Spirit. Therefore, I am blessed by the Creator.

And to those Christians who claim it is a "CHOICE," I say YES! I made a covenant with the Creator/Creatrix that I come into this world gay. I chose to be here with these gifts I carry, boldy, courageously living my life and sharing my love of life in order to bring about more compassion and understanding. I am responsible for who I am. THAT is the essence of my gayness. NOT who I have sex with.

Because we are so unified inside with the same image as God/Goddess, the androgynous true nature of the Supreme Source, we don't need to be preoccupied with making babies. We are here to bring the spark of creation itself. It is our CREATIVE nature that gives rise and has given rise to many ideals of higher consciousness throughout history. And we will continue to fulfill that role. Our gifts of art, literature, self expression, mediation, invention, music, and higher forms of thought are our creations. And they will always be here as evidence of the love of the Supreme Source that brought us here in service to the whole of humanity.

Religions want to take that awareness away by shaming us because we have so much POWER. We are self-realizing my brothers. Use it, love it, share it and walk PROUD.

Here we go again. Yet another anti-Church rant that claims the pedophilia (technically ephebophilia) problem in the Catholic Church is because the priests involved are gay.

One more time: the problem is not becasue the priests are gay. It's more complicated than that. Studies have shown repeatedly that the generic abuser is 1) married; 2) a family member. By your definition -- gay-born and unaffirmed there should be millions of gay child abusers roaming the world. And yet, the numbers are small. Many of us 'gay-born' and unaffirmed as youth do not turn out to be abusers. The sexuality link has been debunked repeatedly, but is still dragged out by those who wish to attack or wound someone or something.

It IS possible to be a member of an organized religion AND happy. Pride and faith are not mutually exclusive .

I wish to add, as a gay man who was the victim of a pedophile. Pedophilia comes from being a victim and not getting the help you need to overcome what happened to you. It has no more to do with sexual orientation than gum has to do the creation of life. The two are not connected in any way. I was gay before the victimization occured and I am still gay but I am not a pedophile and the man who victimized me I am happy to say recieved the help he needed and is married with kids of his own and everything is fine. He isn't gay but he was victimized by his father who was victimized by his father and so on. It is a viscious cycle that at some point someone has to break or it will never stop, but I digress. Gay or straight or bi or tran, religious or not makes no difference where pedophilia is concerned. If you are a victim and you don't deal with it and get help you will become the perp. I know many priests who would never even give thought to harming a child and are appalled at the churches lack of responsability in the matter so there you have it.

The need to belong to something causes people to join whatever group is having a pot-luck dinner and free day care options in their neighborhood. Eventually the world will be more universal in nature even if some conflicts pop up in the process of the worlds growing pains to get to that universal acceptance of all people eventually.

I walked away from organized religion because as a minister's son I experienced first hand how oppressive Christianity can be if you are a homosexual.
Believe me! It takes a lot of courage to come out of the closet and be proud of yourself, and stand for what you believe is right, against all kinds of obstacles in your way. And then leap into the unknown!
Since I emancipated myself I choose not to feel as a victim of religion itself... although, the right wing elements of organized religion and their politics are a totally different matter....
My liberation has given me the chance to learn about many other religions and philosophies. After all, we are all responsible for our own theology or beliefs, the same way you are responsible for what you eat or what you do in bed. You are the ultimate authority in such matters. It is not a book or an institution or a person.
You can be an atheist and have a rich spiritual life. I have friends exactly like that.
And all of us human beings have the potential to love and make that love tangible everyday (or poison the world with hatred, prejudice, and fear), no matter your philosophy in life .
We must also be aware of the many different types of oppression that exist around us and remember that we have the power to fight injustice together.
We have a long ways to go, people!. Fight back!

One mans fun is another's "Holy cow..we must put an end to that." Ancient bedtime stories cause a lot of the issues these days. Memories of family are where the power of culture gets its roots. Educational alternatives can help put more progressive ideas in the kids minds to reduce hate activities in the future. Educational system can eventually alter certain behaviors that are based on 10,000 year old dogma that people can't seem to toss in the can because of family ties where love of family doesn't have to mean also being glued to an old book full of a ton of legal system style laws that are very mean spirited in nature to say the least.

I was raised Catholic, but not a STRICT Catholic! Approaching adolescences, I knew I was different! So my prayer to God was, that I be the BEST person, I could be! As an adult, I found a church, that HONORS, ALL PATHS TO GOD. So ACCEPTING, are we, although it is not a "GAY" Church, my current Minister, is a Lesbian, and my previous church, the Senior Minister, and the Assistant Minister, are both Gay! Our Congregants, come from ALL faiths, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, to name a few!