The past few weeks have been particularly challenging for me and with the exception of two people nobody else was privy to the emotional turmoil I was experiencing. I knew what was causing my pain but I didn't want to acknowledge it because I was afraid it would cause me to do what I considered to be the unthinkable. I was mad at the world and God but more so his church and I was prepared to never go back.
These feelings were particularly troubling for me because I attend an LGBT affirming church where all of God's children are welcome to worship regardless of their sexual orientation. For a few hours on Sunday morning my church reflects the beauty of God's creation and simultaneously shields a marginalized people from a cruel world. But it's what happens after I leave the sanctuary of The Vision Church of Atlanta that I'm reminded of the toxic theologies and homophobia we often endure on a daily basis, most of it coming from the church and I'd finally had enough.
I consider myself to be a pretty strong and confident person. I know who I am and I don't allow other people to define me. I promised myself a long time ago that I would never allow anyone to deny me the God-given right to worship, inherit the kingdom, or live my life authentically. But I know other people who share a same-sex attraction that aren’t as strong and are suffering in silence.
When you are constantly being told you're an abomination, a whoremonger, a mistake, and a demonic spirit after a while you'll start to believe it and it will manifest itself in your life. Before you know it you will begin to look in the mirror and hate the person staring back at you. The person God created in his wonderful image, but yet the person the world is so quick to persecute and throw away like yesterday's trash.
While I was not attending church regularly like I'd always done in the past, I realized I was giving MAN the authority to take away what he never had the power to give; my relationship with God. For it was MAN who was attempting to rob me of my soul and it was MAN who said my life didn't matter.
Have you ever noticed what happens to same gender loving people when shame tied to religion is thrust upon their lives? I don't think it's a stretch to say that there wouldn't be a down low phenomenon, or anonymous online hook-ups that end in death, or thousands of new HIV infections everyday, or people who are infected but don't seek treatment until it's too late because of stigma and shame.
I'M MAD AS HELL!!!!!
I'm mad at those people who preach intolerance and hatred disguised as religion and I'm mad at the people who blindly believe, "God said it, so I believe it, and that settles it" and proceed to create hell on earth for gays in the name of God. I'm sorry but more times than not "your preacher said it, you're afraid to question it, so you believe it".
I challenge my LGBT brothers and sisters to take back what's rightfully theirs in this world.
Take back your life
Take back your self-respect
Take back your dignity
Take back your civil rights
Take back your right to marry the person you love just like everyone else
Take back your right to walk in your truth
Take back your right to worship without the fear of fire and brimstone
Take back your right to be included in God's favor
Take it back and dare someone to try and steal it from you!
I DARE YOU!