I did not grow up in a religious household. We did the standard Christian-esque Christmas and Easter celebrations, and when we happened to be at my grandparent’s house on a Sunday, we went to their church.
I did grow up in a very Bible Belt-ish town where pretty much every kid I knew went to church. There wasn’t a line drawn between church and school, but not knowing any better, I didn’t know there was a problem with the cross-over.
I never wanted to go to church, mainly because I liked sleeping in on Sundays. It wasn’t ever something I thought about doing other than getting to see more of my friends. I was kind of jealous at the retreats my friends went on in high school, but I wasn’t jealous of all the extra Bible learning they had to do.
For the last few years, I debated finding a church to belong to, but not knowing exactly what my beliefs and thoughts are about my religion, it came down to a questionnaire on the internet to figure out what religion I belong to.
It still wasn’t really clear on what I am or to what religion I belong.
I just kind of believe what I believe, and my beliefs change over time.
When my high school invited an Evangelical speaker to come talk to the school shortly after a friend committed suicide, he made me feel bad about the choices I had already made in my young life. He was so powerful in his speech that I started believing that I was a bad person for not living by the word of the Bible. He was so convincing in what he said that I started hating my own thoughts and feelings.
This was one man in one speech at one vulnerable point in my life.
I can only imagine what a lifetime of listening to powerful, convincing, persuasive men and women can make people think about themselves and their own beliefs.
Actually, it’s unimaginable to me.
I don’t know what it’s like to blindly believe what I’m told is The Truth in an organized religion.
I don’t know what it’s like to do what I’m told to do in the name of my chosen deity.
I don’t know what it feels like when I believe something that is the opposite of what I’m told is The Truth by my religious leader.
To me, that is unimaginable and incredibly heart-breaking.
It’s moments like now when I am comfortable with my personal decision to not belong to a specific religion or place of worship. I have my own set of beliefs that are based on my own knowledge of spirituality and religion. I do not follow the outline of The Truth as put forth by one person or group of leaders.
It’s moments when I receive emails and messages from friends who are forced to hide their own beliefs about homosexuality and gay marriage because they fear the backlash from the religion to which they subscribe, that I’m thankful for my decisions.
My religious, church-going friends are being persecuted for making public their own personal beliefs that Gay is OK.
This is when I find it astonishing that I have not received a single negative comment, email, or message about what I believe, but my friends who DO belong to a church and religion are being judged and harassed.
I am sad for them. I am sad for my friends who cannot speak their own Truth for fear of the members of their own chosen religion and their families.
I am sad for the hypocrisy they are experiencing.
So, I, with my churchless and religionless soapbox, will proudly speak for them.
Gay is OK. I believe, that no matter what religious belief you subscribe to holding, Gay is really OK.