This Apology Isn’t Good Enough

I-am-sorry-apologyAs 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.

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7 thoughts on “This Apology Isn’t Good Enough

  1. New reader here.

    Sounds like you have always had a good heart, religion or not. All the best to you. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think NOT-preaching anti-glbt counts for quite a bit, actually, especially if you’re in a conservative setting; and later you’ll be able to do a great deal. Meanwhile, maybe you’re in a very good position to lay biblical groundwork for glbt-affirming interpretation. For example, I’ve heard a rather conservative pastor say in a sermon that one thing that frightens him is the way the bible can be misinterpreted, as it was during the slavery debates. (Mark Achtemeier tells a great story of an Aryan Nations leader matching a seminary student verse by verse to show god’s favored blessing on the white race [“The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage”]. ) I say celebrate your return to equality, and use remorse to fuel doing everything possible at each stage of the journey. Thank you for your posts.

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  3. As a now openly-gay former music minister-turned-atheist, I’ve had to make the same apology. What made it worse is that I was condemning my own community. I worked specifically with students, several of whom I suspected were struggling with their sexuality, and I told them the same thing that was told to me growing up: homosexuality is an abominationation in God’s eyes, and gays are to be pitied and prayed for. All that “hate the sinner, love the sinner” bullshit from Billy Graham’s colostomy bag.
    I can’t take back what I’ve done, but eventually I came to forgive myself. I forgive you too brother. This life is all we have, and all we can do is be better tomorrow than we were yesterday.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Like Sheri said above, it is incredibly telling that you feel so much compassion as an atheist. Christians are far too quick to claim the moral high ground when, as has been pointed out in your last couple of posts, the ground they are on is very shaky indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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