As a conservative preacher I’ve preached several times on “Biblical Marriage”. My perspective was never polemical. I never thought there was a “gay agenda” to ruin America, or what have you. But nonetheless I have preached that homosexual relationships a marriages were void in God’s eyes. I have preached that the only hope for someone who was gay was to remain celibate for life. I also never bought into the programs that “pray the gay away”, and all those miraculous stories were someone went to a prayer camp and returned:
“I was gay and prayed really hard, now I’m straight and have 5 kids and lead worship at my church. Praise Jesus!”
It always smelled fishy to me. You know why?
Because I was taught better.
I was raised by my non-religious parents and in my non-religious school, that gay people were people. They should be respected and treated like everyone else. I was taught that some gay people are funny, some are kind, some are not so kind, they have hopes and dreams and positive traits and negative traits just like everyone else. Because they are just like everyone else. They are human fucking beings and are no different than I am.
Then the Bible happened to me.
It never turned me into a hateful person who despised gay people. But all of a sudden I pitied them. Not because of how tough life can be for a gay person. Not because of their struggles with family or society that they’ve had to endure. I pitied them because I thought God demanded they be celibate without any hope of finding love. I pitied them because I thought they had to choose between hell or love in life. They could either lead a life absent of a close one on one relationship with another human being, or they could burn in hell forever.
Because, you know…God is love.
So I preached. Not because I thought I was better than them, but because I was afraid for them.
What an incredibly stupid thing to do.
I regret this terribly.
I thought about becoming a liberal Christian and just endorsing gay marriage from within the belief, but it was clear you’d have to throw out the Bible in order to endorse that position. So if I was going to throw out the Bible, then why believe at all?
So here I am, an atheist behind the pulpit, wondering what the fuck I’m supposed to do now. I cannot come out in support of gay marriage without losing my job instantly without having a dime to fall back on (church’s are exempt not only from discrimination laws, but they also don’t have to pay unemployment insurance). Yet I cannot allow discriminatory beliefs to continue one day longer. I simply cannot allow that one kid in the church who is probably just figuring out (s)he’s gay to think there is anything wrong with them, because there is nothing wrong with them.
Why don’t you just quit and find another job?
I’m trying, I’m trying! But until them I’m sorry. I’m sorry I thought there was something wrong with you. I’m sorry for believing and teaching that you had to choose between love and hell. I’m sorry for ever even thinking hell existed and trying to warn you about it. Life without love is the only hell that has ever existed. Somehow I’m even more sorry that on top of all this I tried to convince you that God loved you.
God does not love you and Jesus did not die for you or me.
There is no God. This life is all we have. Find love and hold onto it. Tell anyone who thinks differently to fuck off.
Lastly, I’m sorry this apology is far less than you deserve. This is meager and does nothing to help you. I am a coward, hiding my support for you in fear that I wont have a job to support my family.
Please don’t forgive me.
Just take this as one more example that proves you are right, and people are slowly coming to realize it.