I'm the executive director of The Damien Center. I am a native Hoosier (Bremen, pop. 785 newly-arrived Hispanics, 3,000 pissed-off white people). I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, a gentle, anabaptist pacifist Christian denomination. Trying to expunge my dirty secret, it wasn't harsh enough for me, so I became a fundamentalist Christian. Typing an application for seminary one night in college, I realized I didn't believe that stuff. Then I became an atheist. Now I am a seeking agnostic who sees very little of Christ in Christianity, and less in Christians. I still love playing, singing, and listening to Gospel music.
I used to be a very active Republican. I know Eric Miller personally (yes...he is a small-minded pig, but he's very, very smart). I was the youngest Republican state convention delegate ever in 1978 and I was being recruited not very long ago to run for State Treasurer (I used to be a banker). I tell you that only to point out that I was on the fringes of the inside of the Republican Party. That was before, of course, I was out of the fringes of the closet where I lived for a long time.
I am no longer a Republican. I am, however, a conservative. Please understand, nothing about the "new right" or the "Christian right" is conservative as I understand the term. These people have no true respect for the Constitution, for the will of the Founders for a government free of sectarian religious prejudice, or for the conservative impulse to keep government out of matters of home and hearth.
Reading Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley in high school (yes! I was a nerd), I never could have imagined being active thirty years hence in the movement to protect the Constitution from theocratic intrusion by "conservatives" and to establish marriage as a fundamental right of same-sex couples. Yet, it is completely appropriate to be doing so, as protecting the Constitution from narrow interests, expanding the scope of liberty, and extending the conservative institution of marriage to more families are fundamentally conservative enterprises. They are, as well, fundamentally liberal.
So, my name is Tracy. I am a small-town broad-minded liberal conservative business-trained do-gooder spiritually seeking agnostic gay man with a woman's name. Just try and fit THAT in a square peg!