Salvation

After watching American Horror Story tonight I started to think about Salvation. I am not quite sure why I continue to watch this show, especially the fact that this season has a religious twist to it, but for some reason I am drawn to it. Watching the nun talk about salvation and needing to be cleansed made me feel very bad. It reminds me of growing up in a Southern Baptist family. It also gets me thinking about the whole idea behind good versus evil… and how some falsely pass themselves off as good but are really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Look at the Catholic Church and The Boy Scouts of America treatment of the LGBT community and how they both responded to their own sexual molestation scandals. These are two organizations who are suppose to protect others especially children but have instead have chosen to stay silent about sexual predators within their organizations. They have shown to value their own prosperity and security over the emotional salvation of the numerous victims. Yet bot organizations have openly shared their anti gay views. The Boy Scouts have went as far as banning gay people from joining.

My father was the kind of person who felt it was his purpose to save others. It wasn’t unheard of for him to come up to people outside of church and he would try to preach at them. He shoved God down peoples throat with his fists… It didn’t matter where he was at, if he felt a person needed salvation he would approach them.

The idea of salvation makes me nauseous. I guess it is the idea that I need to be saved. If I need to be saved it must mean that I am a bad person. I mean why else would a child need saving?

When you are gay and surrounded by religious people it is common occurrence to have them pray for your salvation. It has happened so often that I dread having to tell a religious person I am gay. Now I just get angry. It is especially infuriating when it comes from a family member. Behind the anger is a lot of deep seeded shame, not that I am gay but that I must be a bad person. I have come so far but I still hold onto shreds of those feelings.

I just love when I hear someone say, “I love the sinner. I hate the sin.” I wonder if they realize that both are the same. How can you think or feel anything but horrible when you hear someone tell you that?

Here is how I break it down:

Sin=Bad 
Gay=Sin
Gay=Bad

Those who aren’t gay can justify this ideology because they think being gay is a choice, which is very different for someone who is gay. For them being gay isn’t a choice, so for them you are saying they are inherently bad.

I wonder where our society first started to feel the need to save those who are gay? or feel such hatred towards those who are gay?

This idea that homosexuality is an abomination is so harmful and hypocritical. I saw a picture once of a protest sign someone made that said that how others treat gay people is the only abomination. Those who so blindly preach at gay people are so misguided.

The women who created that sign was right, turning people away from God’s love is the real abomination. Instilling in a child that there is something bad about them that they have to be saved is also a sin.

As an adult I have come to realize that those who are so hateful in their religious cult like beliefs are themselves flawed. They live their lives in fear. How they get calm inside is by projecting their fears, self hatred and lies onto others. That is also how they feel better about themselves. The justify their hate, discrimination and bigotry through God and the Bible.

“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.” ― John F. Kennedy

Thankfully society is changing but there are still those out there that still believe in this whole mumbo jumbo. There are even programs out there that try to convert gay people. I can’t imagine how much turmoil a person must feel to try to change who they are. There are even parents who force their children into such programs. California is the first state to ban gay conversion therapy. The legislation prohibits attempts to change the sexual orientation of patients under age 18. I can only hope more states will see this type of therapy as child abuse and outlaw it as well.

Religious persecution does damage not only to ones mental well being but their soul as well. I have hide from my spirituality for many years. I am saddened to think of the many other of my gay brothers and sisters that also have to endure this abuse. I think it is wonderful that programs like The Trevor Project are out there but what about those children who never get the help they so deserve and grow up into adults who feel broken. You have to wonder how many of them kill themselves as adults because of the abuse?

LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are up to 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. (2010, Family Acceptance Project™ “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults”)

As far as we have come those who are gay have to face the reality of this hate and the possibility of being confronted with it head on. You can’t help to feel fear when you hear the news stories of those who are victims of hate crimes. It is easy to think that this could happen to me. It is tragic that there are people who do not value life and love, and feel they have a right to extinguish a gay person’s life.

I can remember very clearly hearing about the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, who was abducted and then tied to a fence where he was brutally beat and left for dead by two cowards. Five days later he would die. The tragic passing of Matthew Shepard sparked a movement and through activism helped to pass The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law against bias crimes directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

Matthew Shepard’s parents Dennis and Judy Shepard founded The Matthew Shepard Foundation which was created in the memory of their son. The foundation was created to “Created to honor Matthew in a manner that was appropriate to his dreams, beliefs, and aspirations, the Foundation seeks to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, & Acceptance” through its varied educational, outreach and, advocacy programs and by continuing to tell Matthew’s story.”

It is hard to come to terms that some really bad things happen on this earth but I am comforted to know that there are times that something good can come from something so horribly tragic. Matthew Shepard legacy lives on and his life continues grow in the hearts of so many others that need it.

The essence of what God really is love. That is truly what those who preach hate really are missing out on. They don’t themselves feel they are worthy of that love, so they try to take it away from others. If they can attempt to save others, then they have a chance of redeeming their own salvation.

Their fears have turned into reality and the truth. They believe their own lies. As more and more people get on board in regards to equality, the more polarized those against the LGBT community will be. As time goes by their voices will not be as loud, or as strong. The day is coming where inequality, discriminate and hatred towards the gay community will not be tolerated.

Anything we need salvation from is religious persecution and hate. Those of us who have overcome this persecution and hate need to stand up and let the world know that there is another way. The gay community desperately needs and deserve more love and acceptance. I am encouraged that some churches are starting to stand up and reach out to the gay community.

Our views on religion and/or God may be different but what is universal is the message of love. It is easy when you are surrounded by hate to believe that is all there is in this world. If that is all you have known, it is very difficult to see outside of that. I have since learned that for everyone who is against me, there is someone for me.

If you are reading this and are in that position today please know that God loves you and there are people in this world who embrace love and light. People who will love you unconditionally and lift you up. Personally I have had to let go of various people who were only bringing me down. I have learned for my well being I must love them from afar.

That is my salvation…

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