December 26. 2015

GREATEST SOURCE OF LOVE

by Jeff D., New York


           A few years ago, I moved from upstate to Philadelphia. There I would pursue an academic degree in religion. 

           I decided to begin a new life, openly acknowledging myself as a gay man. However, I hadn't quite determine how or when to "come out" to my family and friends back home.

           Months followed, and October, on my birthday, a close friend from New York visited me. She took me to dinner. I chose a restaurant, gay owned and operated, with patrons of a mix bag of people. 

           I thought nothing of my choice, though, I still hadn't mustered the courage to 'come out' to this friend. However, she was less than pleased with my choice of restaurants. I tried to imagine her reaction to my choice of 'my life partner'. 

           When I inquired about her "reservations"  toward the restaurant, she bluntly stated.

           Other than her distaste for the cuisine and ambiance of this restaurant, she was offended by the use of a religious statue, (catholic Virgin Mary), located on the bar itself. 

           Beside the fact, that she felt this to be sacrilegious, she perceived the establishment was owned by religious gays! Horrors of horrors, religious gays. 

           It is one thing gay people insist on serving in the military, living openly in our cities, owning businesses, but what an inappropriate idea for gay people to be associated with religion.

           Although she did not exactly state this, my friends reaction is indicative. Nothing could appear so unthinkable, so inconceivable as the audacity and presumption of gays to claim religious piety or allegiance to any respectable, God-fearing faith. For many people in religious circles, nothing could be more outrageously antithetical. After all, God condemns all homosexuality, true?

           This attitude is not unique to the religious heterosexual world. Regrettably, it is prevalent in our gay world.  I have encountered attitudes ranging from apathy to outright antipathy towards religious faith. 

           Once an article appeared in a gay newspaper, denouncing religion as a legitimate option for gays.  It was based on the arguments of an organized group of gay atheists. The group maintained that religion and faith are weapons used against gays and that gay people, therefore, who remain in religious institutions, and retain their faith, are merely compromising their integrity.

           Many of my gay friends, understand and tolerate my religious faith. I am asked by others if I am  really studying religion. 

           Religion has been used to repeatedly throughout history  to bash homosexuals. Let's get it straight ...err or should I say, correct. It is not God who has condemned us but so called pious people. 

           Yes, it is my conviction that gays belong in religion to help reveal the true loving God, despite the religious establishment of hatred towards gays.

           Homophobia has robbed us of many rights in the past, don't allow it to rob what is for many;  the most important relationship and source of love.

(editor's note, the majority of this story was reprinted from an original paper newsletter copy of POC)