Prejudice against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people continues in
For the most part, I think in
Of course, we have it good in
As an adolescent, I did not know anything other than a homophobic God existed. I grew up very connected to church. When my family moved to
In university, my religious affiliation came unwound. Funny how being exposed to diverse thought put such clear beliefs into question. Morality without compassion felt hollow, self-righteous and, yes, hateful. I cannot count the number of times I heard people limit their own thought processes as they donned holier-than-thou expressions and stated that trite phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I knew that “love” could not truly exist in the same sentence with hate.
Nonetheless, my favorite course in university was a study of world religions. In a place where I got the impression that all non-Baptists were going to hell—more than once I was befriended by a seemingly nice person who suddenly turned and grilled me on being “Saved” and “Born Again”—I was fascinated with the different views of divinity and the purpose of life.
Gradually, I pulled away from religion, in part due to feeling unwelcome as a gay man, but also on account of the troubling concept of a “moral war” and the guilt-ridden preoccupation with sin. More than anything, I felt religion impeded independent thinking. I could share a belief, but I wanted to reach it through logic and through consideration of practical implications rather than by way of “Thou shalt”.
Many people find comfort in religion. Wonderful. But religion continues to divide, to foster hatred under the umbrella of “freedom” and to justify inhumane treatment of people who are different. I am thankful that leaders like Desmond Tutu examine their religious views to ensure they are governed by love, without any trace of hate.
Homophobia continues in various degrees in