Father Tony


Filed By Father Tony | March 19, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bible, gay god, Gay Jesus

From this recent post on Bilerico comes a question from Roxanne in her comment:

Are all gay/bi people atheiest? Or just don't believe in the bible or something? I dont understand how some gay people can say they are Christian, when the bible clearly states that homosexuality is a perversion?

Dear Roxanne,

As others have commented below you, there is a wealth of information easily available to you in which all the biblical references to homosexuality (and also those that don't refer to it but are often used by churches to condemn it) are carefully analyzed to support one position or another. Rather than retread all that, I would refer you to a book I reviewed not long ago here on Bilerico. It is called Sex As God Intended by a gay man who believes in God.

Not all gay people are atheists. In fact, I know some who translate themselves on Sundays from church to sex club with nary a change of clothing. You seem to be a tourist in the gay world and if you really want to understand it, you ought to come back here frequently and sample the wide variety of voices that herein constitute Gay.

Why are many gay people still theists when most churches treat us badly and at best marginalize us? Some keep coming back to church not out of guilt about their lifestyle but because they are convinced that despite the short-sightedness of church leaders, there is a god who loves them in a perfect way that overcomes the nonsense of contemporary organized religion. They are the men and women who choose to work for change within those imperfect churches. They are not about to give up their right to membership in a church that abuses them. They see a bigger picture. The gay community is conflicted over the merits of their effort. Some call it ridiculous, having shaken the dust of those institutions off their shoes.

Why are many gay people atheists? Although I think the reasons are obvious, but I suspect you do not. Here are three:

  1. Gay people have to craft their lives without the nurturing God of their parents and their God-ridden government. They do it on their own. When they do find happiness and love and success, why would they feel inclined to thank God for it, like a teary-eyed Oscar winner doing an acceptance speech? Gay people, while probably no more brilliant than the general population, have had to develop inner resources and strengths to deal with adversity. This can make a person question divine intercession that seems to happen elsewhere, if at all.
  2. Gay people alive today are surviving a plague that has decimated their ranks, taking their lovers and friends. I am thinking specifically of my fellow gay men of a certain age who have lived through the worst of this nightmare. For them, God is not merciful. God is not malicious. He is simply not there. In the old days, when an innocent child died of cancer or the like, the God-fearing parents would tell themselves that God called the lovely child unto Himself and that someday they would be reunited with their little angel. This weak consolation does not work for gay survivors because the loss of their lovers and friends is coupled with the condemnation of a judgmental God delivered by hateful church folks.
  3. Gay people tend to question stuff. They learn to trust their perceptions. I suspect that most of them are agnostics ("Show me evidence of God and I might believe") rather than full-blown atheists ("I believe in no God"). They do not fear the lightning that sometimes strikes the steeple of a church rather than the gay bar a few doors down the road. (This happened not too long ago in my neighborhood. The parishioners zealously contributed to a rebuilding fund. I think they should have sent the bill to God.)

In summary, Roxanne, adversity builds strength and character, and, in some vociferous gay people, diminishes trust in a silent and unseen God. Jesus spoke of the good shepherd who will leave his entire flock to rescue the one lost sheep. I am that lost sheep. No one ever came to find me. No one even noticed when I went missing. I wandered into a world of other lost sheep. In this world, I give and receive love and happiness and honesty. If and when the shepherd ever comes looking for me, he'll have some splainin to do. But I will forgive him, just as he will forgive me. Other gay people will not be so receptive to him, and it's all good.

PS: I hope you will enjoy this classic 2007 video by Pat Condell. It's called Was Jesus Gay?

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Wow. I'm just floored by Roxanne's comment, which I missed on the original post. I'm guessing she's never actually read the Bible. Either that or she doesn't eat pork or shellfish, wear any clothing with blended fibers or leave her house when she has her period, since all of those things (and more!) are "clearly" forbidden in the Bible.

It seems to me that true Christians are those who follow the teachings of Christ. Things like not pointing out the speck in your neighbor's eye, caring for the poor and sick and turning the other cheek. And, of course, letting those without sin cast the first stone. All things that the gay haters don't seem to do very well. And since Jesus said a big fat nothing about homosexuality, it doesn't seem odd to me at all that there are gay Christians.

Heck, I love the teachings of Christ myself. It's (most of) his followers that I'm not too keen on.

Thanks Father Tony for this.

You can go into any gay and lesbian shelf of the major chain bookstories and find books on spirituality and religion. I myself believe in something but I am not quite sure what to call that something and, truthfully, it's not that important.

I also think that all people tend to want to get in touch with that "something" as they get older (something to do with the fear of death, IMO). The fact that gay culture is a youth oriented culture would also give the impression that much of gay culture is atheist and I am not sure that's case. The focus is on the doubting and questioning nature of youth. However, time changes for all of us.

Also one can be "atheist" and still have a spiriual practice such as mediation; one can even be a Buddhist (an "atheistic religion, in some forms). It does not require returning to one of the 3 monotheistic religions, though many gay people do that to but on their own terms.

I am amazed at ANY Christian, gay or straight. They are hate mongers, terrorist and murderers. It is nice to follow the words of one person, i.e., Jesus (was Jesus gay?). Still, there are other more formidable spiritual ways than Christianity like Paganism.

Christians will never let the LGTB community in their club...we should stop trying.

Yes, Christians are all of that just like gays are all child molesters. In all fairness, what you just said could easily be used to label the LGBTQ as hate-mongers. And guess what? Even without that, ANY group of people can fit the three attacks you used on Christians....well I guess not pacifists but I'm assuming you get my meaning.
Fighting bigotry with bigotry doesn't work. Don't bash Christianity just because the loudest minority happen to be pricks. It makes you absolutely NO better than they are. The faith itself is EXCEEDINGLY peaceful. Don't blame the text for the faults of SOME of its followers.
Or should we, the LGBTQ community, be judged by those of us who vandalize churches and such? If you can generalize them, then why shouldn't they generalize us?

Thank you Father T. Posted to facebook...and sent to a few...and will deifinitely keep this as a 'Dear Virginia' Letter response for the future.

There is nothing wrong with being an atheist as we favor scientific psychological "mental health" findings over belief in 4000/2000 year old Middle Eastern fairy tales. We are also not afraid to die as most of us have lived good lives and have no desire for the hereafter. I appreciate LGBT Christians trying to come to a compromise with our "God-ridden" government but claiming that Jesus was gay is divisive and not helpful. We are headed away from a democracy and towards a theocracy. It makes good business sense that LGBT non-proftis would have their religious committees in order to get a piece of the "faith based" funds. They have to stay in the closet until such time as science becomes reason and religion is seen for what it is, superstition.

You are much nicer to her than I would have been! I am a straight non-believer but know many religious gay people. My cousin, a lesbian, was actually in seminary for a time. She's now working on a PhD in New Testament theology.

The idea that because of one or two Bible passages taken out of context can be construed to sound like a condemnation of homosexuality is the absolute worst reasoning I can think of to assert that "the bible clearly states that homosexuality is a perversion". I almost think that this comment was made just to incite people.

I can think of numerous Bible passages that would appear to condone slavery, rape and murder, and ones that condemn eating seafood or interacting with women who are menstruating. I don't see these passages being held up as paradigms of god's word by so-called religious people.

One of the main reasons I left Christianity is exactly this phenomenon. In my opinion, unless you follow ALL of the Bible literally, you're a hypocrite. And NO Christians, not even the creationists, take it ALL literally. You can't pick and choose, and then condemn OTHER people based on your selections. Whatever happened to "judge not, lest ye be judged"? Or, "let he without sin cast the first stone?" Many of today's so-called Christians seem to have forgotten THOSE passages.

Either take every word, every passage, literally, or take it for what it IS - an old collection of morality tales and fables written by many many men over thousands of years.

::stepping off soapbox::

A. J. Lopp | March 19, 2009 3:03 PM

Well, Roxanne, then there is the matter of plain, good ol' heterosexual hypocrisy. Jesus was very clear on his policy regarding divorce, yet there are millions today who divorce and re-marry and still call themselves Christian. Is that any more a theo-ethical mystery than the one you point out?

I wish a Christian could explain why thousands of other deities that have been worshipped throughout the last several thousand years, and yet only the Christian God(s) are real and the others were just make believe. Many people fervently believe in Jesus (look, he has appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich, it's a miracle!), and yet people in ancient Egypt believed in O Mighty Isis and those Greeks worshipped boy-raper Zeus. Heck, they built massive buildings for these Gods and Goddesses, some men castrated themselves to honor Cybele, and those crafty Aztecs ripped the hearts out of their fellow humans to honor their gods. Fun time had by all!

Father Tony: you are much kinder than i am. I would not have offered Roxanne all that information because i truly believe she is making an ignorant statement to you posing it as a question.
I also fin Pat Condell is a bit too old to be playing "cool". He is somewhat unbecoming. So what if people are atheists or believers.
Both philosophies are opposite extremes and deserving of condemnation.

Dear ewe,
given your observations, you should understand why I thought Roxanne and Pat were a good match.

And I am loathe to call anyone too old to play "cool"!

Yeah, I agree with the folks who say they would have been meaner to Roxanne... so would I. :P

Good on Father T for giving a serious response. A lot of us gay folk are far too defensive to be doing this work that still needs to happen. We interpret every ignorant comment as an attack, which often it's not. We think every person who says something stupid is a hater, and often they're just uninformed (although there really are haters out there).

Yeah, we should all take this post as an example in practicing patience.

Love your blogging/voice, but I don't believe that gay people "question things more." Maybe they're more likely to be skeptical of a society that does not readily accept them, but I'd argue that that's simply a human characteristic, not something inherently tied to the "gay gene."

Additionally, people who question things naturally may be more likely to question their own sexuality and thereby identify with an LGBT/Queer identity. If that's the case then it could skew the character of the demographic. However, once again, it's not a defining character trait, just a co-incidence.

beergoggles | March 21, 2009 8:30 PM

It's not so much that gay people question more by some innate characteristic. It's that gay people question indoctrination because they're forced to. After all, we're subjected to heterosexual indoctrination since the time we're born, and when we feel attractions outside those norms, we question those norms. So it's not a stretch at that point to question religious indoctrination as well.

There's of course the cases where heterosexuals who are naturally questioning of their religious indoctrination would develop into atheists and agnostics as well, but that is not forced upon them by burgeoning feelings of same gender attraction.

Essentially, it's a rebellion against control. Control is the foundation of cults (of which religions are a subset). Xtianity, Islam, etc. are all geared towards control by guilting and punishing anyone, anywhere on the off-chance that they're having fun. So don't be surprised when people who place personal happiness over social norms decides that those methods of control just aren't for them and that idea spreads to everyone else.