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How Gaychristian.net Turned Me (ameen) Into An Atheist


Ameen
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Hello, everyone!

 

This is the post I have been promising for quite some time... It is long, I know, but I did manage to edit it down to half its size before posting.

 

It took a lot of deep breathing and dealing with anger for me to write it, and now I am drained.

 

--Ameen

 

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Before I start, you need to understand something about my personality. Only yesterday I was greeted by angry women and a male security guard at a department store’s restrooms. It seems the women’s bathroom had flooded, and the guard would only permit men to use the men’s room. Women, he said, had to go somewhere else.

 

I had just arrived, but I immediately piped up that we could take turns, and that I had no problem with women going ahead of me. The others waiting to use the restroom—men as well as women—agreed with me. I then organized the troops. Once the men’s room was clear, five women went in. When all of them had exited, the men went in. No one bothered to listen to the incompetent guard, who looked daggers at me. I had staged a successful rebellion.

 

That is me in a nutshell. I do what I can to make the world (or the bathroom!) better for others. If have to anger someone in the process, so be it.

 

Now, let’s get onto Christianity and abuse…

 

I was the same way as a child, but I trusted my elders to know what was right and thus tried to ignore my screaming senses when, for example, my Sunday School said that we should not be friends with Jews, Muslims, or Catholics since they denied Jesus. (I went to public school in Brooklyn, part of New York City, for goddess’ sake! How could I not have Jewish, Muslim, and Catholic friends?)

 

Then there were all the people burning in Hell, and “homosexuals” mentioned negatively over and over in the so-called Good News Bible, a prose translation in modern language that was all the rage in the 1970s. I could not imagine why the loving God whose boots I had to lick was such a sadistic fiend.

 

Finally, all the terrors the church forced into my still-forming mind sent me spinning into OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), which first manifested as Scrupulosity (extremist religion OCD). At only 16, I ran from my conservative church to an uber-Fundamentalist cult: the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. I had prayed for help, and then a friend in high school recruited me into Worldwide. God had spoken to me through a friend. Silly God, sending a teenager who just wanted to be loved into one of America’s most notorious cults. Maybe God was just out to lunch that day.

 

Between my conservative church and Armstrong’s group, I learned that Christianity is lip service, sarcasm, pretentiousness, and sanctimoniousness hidden carefully under a cloying facade. Love thy neighbor really meant hate thy neighbor. I also learned to hate myself and everything about me, for I was worthless and undeserving of the grace God gave me. I further hated myself for being gay and wished I could die. Even with this cult that said homosexuality does not exist since the devil put it in my mind and Jesus would remove it, I was sure I was going to hell. (Scrupulosity!)

 

Now, let’s jump to the present. Thanks to ongoing abuse I suffer at the hands of Christians (who still feel they have the right to mock, preach to and condescend to me today), I will always suffer from some OCD and depression—but so much of it went away and stayed away once I broke all ties to the church and became an atheist, once I learned to think for myself instead of letting the Bah-Bull think for me.

 

In addition, I now do volunteer work with teens and twentysomethings who have bad OCD, and I am very good at what I do. Many of my charges are Christian, and I respect that their belief system is important to them and work within it. (Amazing that I don’t try to change their beliefs, but Christians feel they must change mine.) Sometimes I am up late helping OCD folks when I have work the next day and really should be sleeping; I have gone to work with little or no sleep. Often I am so busy with them that other things (including writing this article!) get put on hold. So much for Christians’ stereotypes of atheists who do nothing for others.

 

I am also a university professor who teaches English as a Second Language. Students fight to get into my classes, as I am seen as honorable, caring and, believe it or not, safe for religious students. So much for Christians’ stereotypes of atheists who have no morals.

 

What a far cry from the days when I had almost no friends in elementary and high school since I was an unpopular geek—and I would then go to church hungry for love but be abused even more. Even in my own family, many people hated me because I was different; I now champion all different students. I work far beyond the hours for which I am paid in order to deal with many issues that go beyond academics. I will not reject others the way Christians rejected me again and again and again. So much for Christians’ saying that they are by definition superior to every atheist.

 

I have published a book in my field and have another on the way; I have also written several articles, including one on my OCD work even though that is outside of my academic field and I am neither a therapist nor an MD. A few behavior therapists who have read it have contacted me for advice in the treatment of specific types of uncommon OCD that I deal with. In short, I use my knowledge to help others, this despite my not using the Bible plus Christian condemnation of me for being too educated and pursuing “worldly knowledge.”

 

Now that you have a good idea who I am, let me discuss the reason for writing this article, which I do so that I can get out a lot of pent-up frustration and anger. Anger that is not released becomes depression, and my anger/depression comes largely from the refusal of Christians to take what I need to say seriously. Specifically, I want to talk about how my time on GCN (GayChristian.Net) in 2003 and 2004 was not only a mirror of everything rotten I had already suffered in Christianity but also how it was too much to bear since it meant persecution by gays, my own people, in the name of Jesus. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the reason I became an atheist.

 

When I joined GCN, I was looking for support. My grandmothers had just died a few months apart, after which my only first cousin was raped, became a drug addict as a means of coping, and died of an overdose. There were also other problems in the family, including my parents’ multiple health problems, and, as always, a lot of it fell on my shoulders. The university I had worked in for almost ten years was closing the program I taught in, and I had to find another university to teach in quickly. All of this stress was making some OCD issues resurface.

 

Support is not what I got on the board.

 

I was also trying to figure out what I believed. At the time, I was agnostic, but while I was leaning more to atheism than Christianity, I was tired of more than a decade of sitting on the fence and wanted to talk to others who had been in my shoes. I was looking for a type of Christianity that talked about love, acceptance, kindness, divinity within… The opposite of what I had always been taught in Christianity. I also did not want to base Christianity on rules upon rules that had to be followed to the letter. In other words, I was looking for a transformational religion, not a legalistic one. I had been urged by a few people to seek out gay Christians, as they were supposedly very liberal and accepting.

 

That’s what I did: And I can honestly say I would be hard-pressed to find a bunch of more close-minded, legalistic, self-serving Christians than the GCN coven. (I do not know what it is like now; I can only talk about then.) There were some liberal Christians there, but the fundamentalists and evangelicals took them to task again and again. In addition, Justin, the head honcho, officially defended extremist positions, posted that the board was not for intellectuals/academics (or me, for that matter), and posted about how no one was allowed to criticize the so-called “Side B” gay Christians (those who rigidly enforced a life of celibacy and not falling in love with the same sex). “Side A” Christians (those who felt they could be Christian and also have same-sex mates) were given no such official protection.

 

It was also clear even among the liberal gay Christians that sex before marriage was forbidden, this despite the difficulty every gay person faces in finding someone in a homophobic society. (Some gay Christians posted that they did not adhere to this, but their posts were not always looked on kindly.)

 

As I explained on the board, in Biblical days people were married off when they hit puberty (which came around 16/18 then—not as early as it does today). Today we go to university and graduate school, undergo internships or frequent transfers to other cities or countries… It is often necessary to put off marriage and starting a family, but absolutely inhuman to force people to be virgins into their 30s or whenever. Humans have basic needs; how does denying those needs and causing mental harm make them better people/Christians?

 

The whole point of gay liberation is having the freedom to make one’s own choices and live as one is. As long as the sex is consensual and safe--and no one is being raped, abused, or harmed in any way—what is the issue? Why is everything that does not meet unrealistic Christian standards labeled “promiscuity”? Why is GCN about control, control, control?

 

How can gays do this to other gays? It is so painful to read long tracts by “Side B” Christians who have researched in order to prove how repulsive they are and why their deity supposedly does not want them to have sex. How does the control, control, control differ in any way from the Christian tyrants I dealt with when I was a kid and was told I would go to hell for loving a man? People on GCN split hairs trying to prove that it does.

 

I also explained that I did not start to get better (OCD/depression) until I embraced my full sexuality, which included having sex. Chances are I will not find a husband. Maybe I will and maybe I will not. Not everyone finds a mate, and people who do not are not simply unworthy trash or unmarriable. In addition, they still have needs. Am I really supposed to give up sex and become unhealthy again in order to be a “good” person in Jesus’ eyes? If I had followed Christian teaching, I would be a 43-year-old virgin today.

 

On GCN I also dealt with evangelicals claiming Jews went to hell unless they converted since Jesus is the only way to Heaven. I made it clear that the Nazis were Christians who were able to kill millions of Jews with no guilt since their religious interpretation made the Jews less than human. I then suggested setting up extermination camps for six million random southern Baptists--men, women, and children--saying that it might give them some insight into what they were actually saying.

 

They were unable to understand my example at all, and some blasted me for calling for the death of Christians. I gave up in disgust and simply said they had demonstrated why the Romans fed them to lions.

 

Another time an evangelical minister (and lesbian!) was talking about Mormons in hell, and I sent her a picture of a Mormon friend by private message. I told the minister to look into her eyes and tell me if she was a human being with rights and feelings. Of course, I was told that someone like me (gay? agnostic? liberal?) could not possibly understand.

 

Oh, I understood all right.

 

Tammy Faye Bakker was still alive then, and she and Jim had new ministries. There was a thread on GCN about how the two had 'repented' and now truly preached the word of God... People on the board were actually sending them money! Can you believe it? I warned them against trusting proven snakes, and I got a lot of angry backlash saying that God had forgiven them and that they had changed through his grace.

 

I had been in a cult just like the Bakkers’. Was I to remain silent?

 

I further got into trouble when I came to the aid of a young man who was practically suicidal because he was unable to control the "sin" of masturbation. Given the volunteer work I do with OCD folks, to whom I often have to explain sex so that I can clear up erroneous ideas and OCD thinking, how could I not reach out to this young man? Justin himself reamed me for that one.

 

And yet, I made an anonymous $200 contribution to GCN; I told Justin not to post my name under contributions since the mere mention of my name caused people to flip out. I so wanted to be there and understand the abuse I had suffered at Christian hands. It was, after all, supposed to be a recovery board, among other things.

 

Eventually, Justin banned me from GCN in 2004; he did not refund my $200, which I had contributed not too long before I was banned.

 

Prior to being banned, I had tried to talk to him by e-mail and phone (yes, phone!) to explain that I saw the board helping a few at the expense of hurting many. When nothing would penetrate—and because he was much nastier in private communication than he was on the board—I made it clear that he was not to call or e-mail me again. I took a six month break from the board (more on that in a minute) and made it clear when I would return. In the time I was gone a new section for complaints about the board had been created, and I took my thoughts from the past six months there.

 

I got yet another divisive e-mail from Justin, saying GCN was not the place for me. What was, then? That is what all Christian groups tell me. How can I know what I believe when I don’t know what I believe? How can I be committed to Jesus when I am participating to learn about Jesus whom I do not know? It is a Catch 22 situation.

 

If only atheists listen to me, understand me, and feel compassion for me, why would I not become an atheist? And yet, the very Christians who say their exclusive gangs are not for me condemn me for being an atheist?!! Have they even thought it through logically?

 

Back to Justin… He had e-mailed me yet again even after I had made it clear that he was not to send me any private communications. Anything he needed to say to me was to be done on the board and thus be in the public eye, I had explained. I posted his e-mail on the board to show people how he had addressed me. Within five minutes it was deleted and I was banned. I then sent him an e-mail about how proud I was to be banned. (It hurt more than I could express—Justin’s response to my hurt was the very Christian “Oh, come on!”—but I was proud that I had kept my dignity and not caved into Christian hypocrisy.)

 

Granted, he had warned me in the past not to post his e-mails, something I had already done—and I had told him to stop sending them to me if he did not want them posted. If he disobeyed my wishes, why did I have to obey his?

 

Anyway... On that day I became an atheist. I had been researching atheism by reading extensively in that six month period, something I may not have done if I had not been so disturbed by the dehumanized gays on the board and in real life. Justin gave me the final push, so perhaps I can call him the architect of my atheism.

 

Why atheism? Aside from all the rational arguments I do not need to reprint here since you are undoubtedly familiar with them, if Christianity were real, it would be filled with joy and love, not the vindictive excuses for human beings I saw on GCN and in every real-life Christian organization I had ever encountered. Gandhi once said that if he ever met a (real) Christian, he would become one. A very wise man.

 

My motivations for becoming an atheist may have been wrong, but now that I have studied the issue at length I stand by the results and maintain that there is no God. I live a life of service to others and follow the Golden Rule (which many religions and secular philosophies, not just Christianity, profess). I do not do this to gain brownie points with a deity; rather, I do it because it is what I have determined as the best course of action. I also do what makes me happy, and that includes being gay and celebrating my sexuality. I am who I am, and no person or deity has the right to tell me that I am not good enough as I am.

 

Being an atheist is a moral choice. I don’t wish to hate and deceive the way I see Christians do. Instead, I want to grow as a good person as I help others to grow.

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Oh, Ameen… I am so sorry that you have had to endure such utter stupidity. Although I am not gay, I have always felt that one of the major disconnects in christianity is the treatment of homosexuality. I just could not be comfortable with a god that professed to be a loving god, who created a beautiful child, and then rejected that child.

 

Although I felt terribly sad as I read your post, I must say I almost stood up and cheered as I read the following:

 

Why atheism? Aside from all the rational arguments I do not need to reprint here since you are undoubtedly familiar with them, if Christianity were real, it would be filled with joy and love, not the vindictive excuses for human beings I saw on GCN and in every real-life Christian organization I had ever encountered. Gandhi once said that if he ever met a (real) Christian, he would become one. A very wise man.

 

My motivations for becoming an atheist may have been wrong, but now that I have studied the issue at length I stand by the results and maintain that there is no God. I live a life of service to others and follow the Golden Rule (which many religions and secular philosophies, not just Christianity, profess). I do not do this to gain brownie points with a deity; rather, I do it because it is what I have determined as the best course of action. I also do what makes me happy, and that includes being gay and celebrating my sexuality. I am who I am, and no person or deity has the right to tell me that I am not good enough as I am.

 

Being an atheist is a moral choice. I don’t wish to hate and deceive the way I see Christians do. Instead, I want to grow as a good person as I help others to grow.

 

It seems to me that you have taken your challenges and your difficulties, and turned each of them around to the benefit of others. I find it so much more admirable that you live a good life, serving others because you have determined that is the best way to live, than if you did it to please a deity. I'm glad that you are happy and that you are able to love yourself for who you are!!! Thank you so much for sharing this very personal story. It touched me. In fact, if you were here, you would be the recipient of a very big HUG!!!!!

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That was horrible how they treated you and others, Ameen. I can't understand how one persecuted minority group can persecute others. You'd think they would be more understanding knowing what it's like to be persecuted. I sometimes read the articles posted at exgaywatch.com because it's a good way to keep up with news about the ex-gay movement, but sometimes I get annoyed when some of the commentors on the blog will give praises to the "Type B" type of gay Christians you mentioned about how much better they are than the fundies that try to change people's sexuality. As long as it's between consenting adults, people should be allowed to enjoy sex however they want and I don't understand how it's better to accept homosexuality as long as you can still tell people what to do with their vagina and cocks. And I don't understand how anyone either straight or gay can believe in something as horrible as hell. I'm reminded of this quote by Robert Ingersoll

If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men.... What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.
It also pisses me off that Christians can make fun of other people's religions all the time but if you say anything negative about Jesus, then it's blasphemous and evil. People completely over-rate the teachings of Jesus and hold him up on this untouchable pedestal that's immune from criticism but it's ok to make fun of Joseph Smith. The stories you've shared are a perfect example of when "moderate" Christians enable fundies and they should be called out on for that. People would justifiably protest if black Christians started donating money to the KKK and claim they had "repented" but for some reason it's ok to do when it comes to homosexuality. These gay Christians are nothing more than cowards who hide behind Jesus' skirts and don't have the balls to live life for themselves instead of letting Jesus do the thinking for them and they don't have the balls to stand up to fundies if they seriously think they've changed. And don't worry about the reasons for your deconverion. Unlike in xtianity, there is no right or wrong reason to deconvert to atheism. What matters most is that you're free from their shackles.
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I am glad that I am out of Christianity now so that I don't have to look down on others and hate other people just cause some book or some pastor tells me so.

 

I was kept so ignorant I didn't even know what homosexuality was until I was in high school. I just knew it was some kind of horrible sin. I didn't know much at all about any type of sex. The only information in the house was crappy Christian books on the subject that didn't go into any detail.

 

It took me many years to dump the whole brainwashing thing that gays are always unhappy because they are "living in sin". Basically I was taught that they deserve whatever they get. Sorry, that is really the attitude that Christians have, as you know only too well.

 

Thank you for posting your story Ameen. Its terrible what happened on that other board. Labelling people "type A" and "type B". Sounds like something the Nazis would do.

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I just rushed over to Gaychristian to see what it was about.

 

Holy shit.

 

Never seen so much cognitive dissonance in one place my entire life.

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Never seen so much cognitive dissonance in one place my entire life.

 

Flexible interpretation of "sodomite" or "catamite" aside, I just can't wrap my brain around how they fucking manage it....

 

And here I thought the Log Cabin Republicans had issues!!!

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I just realized that I wrote "Type A"/"Type B" instead of "Side A"/"Side B," which is the exact GCN terminology. Sorry. I've corrected it in my original post. Freudian slip, as I see the leaders of GCN as misguided anal-retentive Type A personalities. (I also think some of them have undiagnosed OCD.)

 

By the way, everyone...

 

Thank you! :) It feels good knowing that others see the insanity of that place and what it does to people! I was worrying that I would be accused of lying/exaggerating, but I am glad that some of you have checked it out for yourselves and seen that I actually held back.

 

The board is huge, and it is usually the first Google hit for Gay + Christian. That's how I found it.

 

There are some good, open-minded people there--not many, mind you, but some. I have been in touch with one person my age from there since 2003. He remains a celibate gay Christian, but we get along fine since each of us respects the other and we rarely talk about religious or atheistic issues. (He also feels that what was done to me was wrong.) I also used to write to a younger gay Christian with a boyfriend from that board, but we lost touch more than a year ago. Last I heard he was thinking about atheism. I hope he crossed over and is happier.

 

Also, I do think the board has prevented some gay suicides, as it claims.

 

All that aside, though... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a horrible place!

 

Step two is for me to edit out some (a lot?) of the article to make room for other things specific to the board that would not be of interest here--and to say a lot more about atheism. Then, I want to e-mail it to Justin and a few others. That will mean setting up a new e-mail account and joining the board under an ISP signature they do not know--from my current university, where I have been teaching since 2005 (after I left GCN). This is the only way I know of to get access to their e-mail list; if I sent the article by private message, Justin would just delete the messages as soon as someone got one and alerted him. Any advice in this area would be greatly appreciated even if we do not see eye to eye.

 

Why do this? I need to get it off my chest and will not be at peace until I do. The decison to ban me was unanimous among the board of directors, which, of course, begs the question why a message board needs a government... They may pooh-pooh what I say, but I want them to see that I have not come back a Christian asking to be forgiven, as some implied I would. And maybe, just maybe, one of those brain surgeons will learn a tiny bit of kindess and treat someone else just a tiny but kinder? It's unlikely, but who knows...?

 

I'm still a bit emotionally drained, so I will keep my replies short.

 

@ noob: Hug accepted and appreciated! Ironically, the "sin" of homosexuality boils down to being told it is wrong to love if the person has the wrong sexual organs. That's all it is. If you have a penis, you can only love a vagina. If you have a vagina, you can only love a penis. At least those gay Christians who do believe in same-sex marriage can experience... something. I wish it were true of all. I look at that board and see my people in bondage. Let my people go!

 

@ Neon Genesis: Love the Ingersoll quote! Heck, love your whole post!

 

One of the many things I edited to shorten the piece was about how I would always hear others' complaints through Justin, as few of them had the balls to tell me anything directly. It was so much easier to whine to Justin and let him do their dirty work. So, they not only hid behind Jesus' skirts, but Justin's too.

 

And Alma's. (Alma is Justin's right hand woman, more or less, and one of the only heterosexuals on the board. She is very well respected there.) About Alma... A French woman living in Britain who spends much of her time telling gays that God loves them, even when she travels on vacation to exotic locations like South Pacific islands she finds gay people to preach to. Ironically, her English husband is an --atheist-- (!!!), but he goes to Catholic mass with her because "it makes (her) happy." And one day, she once wrote on the board, maybe she will discover that God plans for her convert him. (Oy vey!) I think she means well, and I give her props for once writing on the board that she did not wait until she was married to have sex with her husband and does not think her decision wrong since she loved him and knew he was "the one"--but I also think she is brainwashed.

 

@DevaLight: I, too, did not know what homosexuality was until after I had learned to hate such wicked people. Imagine my surprise when I learned I was one!

 

@ Jedah and Vomit Comet: Just curious... Did you only see the main board, or did you look at the forum as well? You woud not believe some of the topics for threads...

 

You will never know how much good you did me by going to GCN and posting what you thought of it. I may have just healed a bit more!

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Auigh, how horrifying. I've been atheist since before I heard of it; and I've referred people there since they seemed to be able to healthily hold faith and be gay according to the articles. But if they've got no common sense and that kind of abuse is going on, hell no.

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Auigh, how horrifying. I've been atheist since before I heard of it; and I've referred people there since they seemed to be able to healthily hold faith and be gay according to the articles. But if they've got no common sense and that kind of abuse is going on, hell no.

 

Hi, sharkindeepwater.

 

Again, I was describing my experience in 2003 / 2004. GCN may (or may not) be different now. And again, there are some good people there, although there may be more not so good than good. Better for a deeply troubled gay Christian to go to a board like that than to harm himself/herself. There are already too many gay suicides.

 

A gay Christian in need might do well to read this long article by a pro-gay Baptist minister--who is heterosexual, married and a senior citizen, by the way. Follow the link and scroll down to the Letter to Louise: http://godmademegay.com/

 

I have to admit that this letter is one of the few positive things I got out of GCN. I don't need it now, but it helped then. There have to be places that are better for gay Christians than GCN. A very, very liberal gay Christian message board, perhaps? One must exist somewhere.

 

Let's see... A gay Christian who is freaking out can check on line for a very liberal, affirming gay church or a heterosexual church that is inclusive (with none of this Side B/celibate nonsense). The Metropolitan Community Church, perhaps? It's completely LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender), I believe. I know NOTHING about it save that I have heard good things: http://mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home You can search for worldwide branches here: http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Find_an_MCC

 

My sister's friend is a lesbian who is studying to be a UCC (United Church of Christ) minister. That is not a gay group per se, but UCC is quite liberal. My sister's friend, who has a wife whom she legally married in Massachusetts, chose that denomination because of its stance on various issues, and I know her to be very, very liberal.

 

Look, I think she, too, is brainwashed, but at least she is not a bad person. It's a shame we can't deconvert all gay people, but some cling to church and cannot let go. Others have so much internalized homophobia that they cannot imagine themselves as anything but celibate. With some, that can change over time as they heal.

 

Again, better for them to be in a group where they can have some freedom (under the illusion of total freedom in --ICK!- Jesus) than for them to have none in a completely homophobic group or to commit suicide.

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Does anyone else know if the Unitarian Universalists are better than the board Ameen mentioned about? Like do they get as hung up about sex and what you do before marriage and stuff? I don't know much about them and I'm not even entirely sure if the UUs count as a Christian denom.

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Again, better for them to be in a group where they can have some freedom (under the illusion of total freedom in --ICK!- Jesus) than for them to have none in a completely homophobic group or to commit suicide.

 

Yeah. I don't think it's impossible for a gay person to have a healthy faith that affirms them, and I'm totally supportive of people using religion if they want it.

 

But it's sad that sometimes trying to keep them alive, even wounded, is all that can be done. Maybe in another decade, things will be better.

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@ sharkindeepwater : We see eye to eye!

 

@ Neon Genesis: I am not an expert on this and I hope anyone will correct me if I err, but...

 

As I understand it, The UU (Unitarian Universalists) encourage people to think, research, use science, compare world religions, and so on. Although many in the UU (most?) believe in God, one can be an atheist and still be a Unitarian Universalist since one can see value in some humanitarian beliefs and principles but not necessarily believe in a master creator. One could also be, say, Hindu or Muslim and be a Unitarian Universalist. Each person decides for himself or herself, which is why much of the Fundamentalist world is against the UU.

 

Many (most?) of the members are Christian, but Jesus does not have to be at the center of one's faith. I believe one need not interpret the Bible literally--and one can also use the holy books of other religions or even Plato and Aristotle.

 

Cut and pasted from on line: "The Unitarian Universalist Association has no official statement of faith and does not require its ministers, members, or congregations to subscribe to any particular religious belief. Consequently, wide differences of belief and practice are found."

 

"The organization has an annual general assembly and currently includes around 500,000 members in the United States and in Canada. It is associated with the International Association for Liberal Christianity and Religious Freedom."

 

The UU is pro-gay marriage, et al:

 

"Unitarian Universalism has been on record as supporting the rights of bisexual, gay, and lesbian people since 1970. The Office was formed in 1973. We have advocated against sodomy laws and job and housing discrimination. We have advocated for ceremonies of union and same-gender marriage, the right to serve in the military, the right to lead congregations as ministers and religious professionals, and the right to be parents. We are now on record as supporting the rights of transgender people. The number of Welcoming Congregations is growing, having nearly doubled in the last 18 months. There is still much homophobia and heterosexism. The work and the story are still in progress. Each of us has the opportunity to be a part of the work and the story."

 

I know that Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation--the former Fundamentalist minister who is now one of the United States' most outspoken atheists--has a good relationship with the UU and has even spoken at some of their functions. They share a dislike for extremism, and many in the UU are open to hearing what he says. That does not mean everyone in the UU agrees with him, though.

 

I also know of people who went straight to the UU after getting out of hard-core conservative Christianity or cults. Some became liberal Christians and still are while others became atheists. It was a place they could read, research, think, and discuss without fear or intimidation.

 

One criticism by atheists I have read is that recently the UU has become more theistic in nature, and that, depending on the congregation, it is not as easy to be an atheist as it was before. I do not know if this is true. (I may have read it in one of Barker's newsletters a few years ago or I may have read it on line; I just don't remember.)

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I was looking through the forum rules at gaychristian.net about what you can and cannot post about sex and holy shit, their rules are about as strict as fundies: http://www.gaychristian.net/rules_sex.php Apparently it's wrong to post pics of shirtless guys. Why is it wrong to post that? People can walk down to their local beach or local swimming pool and find plenty of topless guys. I could understand pics of guys' crotches or something like that, but if guys can walk around topless in public, why is it wrong to post pics at their forum? You can't make raunchy jokes, either. They would gouge their eyes out at what we talk about here at ex-c, especially in the sex forum. And how can you discuss the morality of masturbation if you can't talk about how often you do it? What if you have a genuine addiction to porn? How can you discuss that at their forum then? Why is it ok to talk about masturbation but not about your fantasies when doing it? And what the hell is wrong with saying what part of the human body you think is attractive? They try to use the family friendly excuse as their justification for their ridiculous rules. We have younger members here too and the ex-c rules are nowhere near as strict and we haven't had any problems so far. It just seems pointless to me to have a board about sexuality where you can't actually talk about sexuality.

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Ameen,

 

I see every single act of yours regarding that board as behavior and attitude which Christians are alleged to exemplify. What they did to you and others -- people with such need for support and affirmation -- is hideous. Their motto should be, "And you think you hate yourself now?!"

 

Of all the crazy-making aspects of my fundy daughter's fundyism, the one that cut me to the quick and sent me off to bed and into depression for several days when I first learned of it was her rejection of "G" -- the gay man to whom I was married when she was aged 5 to 11. "G" was a wonderful father to her and her sister. I could recount all the details of the beauty and love he brought into their lives, but just take my word for it -- he was an excellent father. After our divorce, he and I remained, and remain to this day, the closest, warmest of friends. He has remembered the girls on their birthdays through all these years, written them letters and sent gifts to them for no particular reason except that he cares.

 

When my daughter, her charismatic-Episcopal priest husband, and their two children moved to a town which neighbors that of "G" and his male partner of over two decades, she let "G" know he would not be seeing her little children because of the negative influence on them of his gay relationship. When he told me this over the phone, I was in tears of fury. He actually took it better than I did (probably because of more lifetime experience with pernicious mindless prejudice against him). Whatever happened to "Honor thy father?"

 

This position of hers has done more, over the years, to freeze our relationship than any other factor.

 

Only recently has she begun to bring her daughter, now fourteen, over to visit "G" and his partner. I do not know if she does this against her husband's wishes, or maybe even without his knowledge. I do know that my granddaughter has emailed me about the great pleasure of being in his company and learning about him and seeing old headshots of when he was a gorgeous young actor. I guess her son doesn't go on these visits because he's still too young and susceptible to catching Teh Gay. :Hmm:

 

At any rate, this is just my contribution to your thread by way of saying, "Ya Don't Have T' Be Gay T' Be Crushed By Gay-Crushers."

 

I wish you well with what you need to do about Justin and that board.

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@ Neon Genesis: I am so glad that you looked at the rules and posted your disgust. As I wrote to Jedah and Vomit Comet, your actions validate me. Before posting, I was afraid no one would believe me. After all, we gays are known for being open-minded and liberal. Fundamentalist gays who are out and proud yet do all the rotten things other Fundies do? I have had people not believe me before.

 

I once shocked people by talking about racism within the gay community. Yes, it comes from gays too, not just from heterosexuals. No all gays are racist just as not as heterosexuals are racist (or homophobic), but there are too many examples of racism in the community for my taste. Have I ever mentioned my first same-sex date? I was a virgin who had never so much as had a kiss and was hoping to get something... But when my beau said "All black women should be sterilized," I hit him so hard that he almost fell into the street. Naturally, the date ended abruptly. (And that was one of my better dates! There's a reason I am single... ;) )

 

@ pitchu: Your story touched me, and I am so sorry that homophobia has weaved its ugly head into your daughter and ex's life this way. "Honor thy father" indeed! Well said!

 

I am glad that your ex gets to have a relationship with his granddaughter, and I give her kudos for the way she takes it all in. Only fourteen, huh? Smart kid!

 

The positive feedback I have gotten here has given me the courage to try to get my message to certain people (Justin included) on GCN. I'll keep you posted.

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I kind of suspect the only reason gays are open-minded and liberal is that we have to be to get along with other out gays who are probably from radically different backgrounds. And like... someone religious I can't think of specifically once said, "suffering teaches compassion." Getting pushed down tends to make us sympathetic towards other groups, if we aren't busy being contemptuous of them.

 

It really is like herding cats to get us to work together. Snarky, artistic cats.

 

Who would you recommend I point conflicted, religious homosexuals to?

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There are gays that are right wing authoritarian/reactionary cranks, too. My uncle's partner is just such a fellow.

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First, thanks for the heads up on those boards. From what you and others have described, it sounds like a non-starter.

 

I kind of suspect the only reason gays are open-minded and liberal is that we have to be to get along with other out gays who are probably from radically different backgrounds. And like... someone religious I can't think of specifically once said, "suffering teaches compassion." Getting pushed down tends to make us sympathetic towards other groups, if we aren't busy being contemptuous of them.

 

It really is like herding cats to get us to work together. Snarky, artistic cats.

<snip/>

 

Tying into one of the other above posts I have to disagree that getting pushed down makes people sympathetic to other groups. Just as often, if not more so, I see the oppressed becoming the oppressors. In a way to extract revenge or lash at something they can't otherwise lash against. If what you said was true, I'd expect that the black support for LGBT causes would be off the scale. As it stands, it is, but mostly because it doesn't exist, and is, instead a desire to undermine. You'd have similar expectations from a group like the Mormons, instead you see the same results.

 

I've run into the Side-B types and other gay and xtian variants. The amount of cognitive dissonance and self-inflicted paradox is utterly staggering.

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@ BlueGiant:

 

Tying into one of the other above posts I have to disagree that getting pushed down makes people sympathetic to other groups. Just as often, if not more so, I see the oppressed becoming the oppressors.

 

Sad but true. :(

 

@ Vomit Comet:

 

There are gays that are right wing authoritarian/reactionary cranks, too. My uncle's partner is just such a fellow.

 

Also sad but true. :( :( :(

 

-------------------------

 

--SIGH!-- Many in the gay community have a lot to learn about compassion.

 

-------------------------

 

@ sharkindeepwater:

 

It really is like herding cats to get us to work together. Snarky, artistic cats.

 

I sooooooo agree! :lmao:

 

Hissssssssssssss!

 

Who would you recommend I point conflicted, religious homosexuals to?

 

My best guess is the groups I recommended in my response to your first post in this thread. It's the one where I began by quoting you and then wrote: "Hi, sharkindeepwater. Again, I was describing my experience in 2003 / 2004..."

 

A link I forgot to include in that post, one that calls gay marriage "a blessing" and was written by a Presbyterian minister, a married heterosexual male no less: http://www.godweb.org/gaymarriage.htm

 

The UU, which Neon Genesis brough up, is also a possibility.

 

Calling a local gay hotline (or the national one) or contacting the closest gay community center can also help you find the addresses and contact information for houses of worship that are safe for gays. (That's why I mentioned The Metropolitan Community Church in my previous post.) There are militantly gay churches that are nothing like GayChristian.Net. Every other message from the pulpit is about equality for gays, how there is nothing wrong with gay sex, why discrimination hurts, and so on. Some even have "Bring a straight friend Sunday" (!!!).

 

Quakers... Many Quaker meeting houses (They don't say churches) are pro-gay, and in fact the Quakers were the first Christian group in the U.S. to go on the record as pro-gay (1963, I think--when it was not fashionable for religious groups to do so). They also stood by those blacklisted for being gay (or for any other reason) during the McCarthy scare in the 50s regardless of whether the accused was or was not gay. They even visited gay people in jail and truly acted like "The Society of Friends."

 

The next part may or may not be true, but I have heard that Martin Luther King, Jr. learned non-violence from gay African American Quakers who had in turn studied Gandhi and others. There are also stories (maybe true, maybe not) of openly gay Quakers in 19th-century America. Walt Whitman himself came from Quaker roots and admired Quakerism, although he did not become a Quaker himself.

 

Each Quaker meeting house decides its own path, so it is possible for one meeting house to be pro-gay while a nearby one is not.

 

Of course, Richard Nixon was a Quaker, so we should not idealize all Quakers! He was also a psychologically disturbed man, so I personally have more compassion for him than I would the typical Republican leader. Same with Herbert Hoover (Quaker, Republican, psychologically disturbed, and my compassion).

 

Eeek! I don't mean to imply that all Quakers are psychologically disturbed or Republican. Many, many modern ones are liberal and, I would assume, as well balanced as the rest of society. (Not that society is so well balanced...) Quakers are actually among the few tolerable and even likable Christian groups I know. Well, the modern ones are, at any rate. The ones from other ages did a few things, like disowning people who married outside the faith, that I don't like.

 

Other famous Quakers include Joan Baez, Lucretia Mott, James Dean, Connor Trinneer (Trip on Enterprise!), Daniel Boone, Susan B. Anthony, Joseph Lister, Bonnie Raitt, Edward R. Murrow, Dolly Madison, Dave Matthews, Anna Sewell, and James Michener.

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People will go with the party that represents their interests and avoid the ones that go against it. Blacks were Republican loyalists all the way up until FDR.

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Thanks for the empathic words, Ameen.

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Agreed, Vomit Comet.

 

And my pleasure, pitchu!

 

Well...

 

I use my old AOL account for storage only these days, but in 2003 and 2004 I had used it to write to folks on GayChristian.Net. Some of the old e-mail addresses were still there, and some of those folks had multiple addresses. I sent a slightly edited cut and paste copy of my first post in this thread along with a brief explanation to anyone whose address I could find, Justin (the head honcho) included. Many of them should, I hope, have the same addresses.

 

As for the rest... Since I am banned from GCN, I rejoined under a new name which has been approved. I am now a member again. (I feel like vomiting.) That means I will have to send private messages to people I knew then. With luck, some will read them before Justin realizes what I have done and erases everything.

 

I wish I could do better, but there are no other means at my disposal. I did mention in my brief introduction that people were welcome to share my letter with anyone they wished, including current or former GCN members. There were a handful of good folks there, and I am hoping those good few will do just that.

 

Again, I wish I could do more. But even if Justin merely laughs at my letter, I know I sent it.

 

Being on that board and seeing everyone's personal photo avatars again--including Justin's leering skull face--gives me the creeps. I don't take any pleasure in this.

 

Please: Say something to cheer me up.

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Ameen,

 

I could offer platitudinous cheer, but I know, as I assume you know, that doing right, doing justice, doing what is necessary for healing, is rarely a cheery undertaking.

 

So, until I arrive with my tap shoes, cheer may have to give way to the serene knowledge that you have performed a mitzvah -- that which is both a duty and a blessing.

 

My heart is with you, Dear Friend.

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Thank you, pitchu! It's really, really, really appreciated. (I use the word mitzvah often, as I believe in the concept as long as religion is not attached to it.)

 

----------------------------------

 

Another update...

 

They work fast at GCN--even when it is the middle of the night!

 

Alma sent an e-mail that began "Nice to hear from you again" and then proceeded to tell me that I had broken a rule (posting when I am banned) and am thus banned. (I'm banned, so you're banning me?)

 

Yes, I know it means my new account is also banned, but I couldn't resist posting a dig here.

 

The next e-mail was more to my liking. Justin apologized for any action that hurt me; he may or may not be sincere--but he did read what I wrote. He also said he would be willing to discuss the contents of my letter with me "publicly or privately" (!). I shot back an e-mail saying I would be willing to discuss it on GayChristian.Net if my letter were printed in its entirety and anyone (him, me, the other members) could respond freely. That, of course, would mean he'd have to unban either Ameen (my 2003/2004 account) or Never Again (my new one day account--the one Alma has just banned).

 

I may be opening myself up to abuse, I realize, but if it means I can get the word out I'll just put up with depression and whatever else comes my way. If some of those bozos can learn to treat vulnerable people with a little more kindness, it is worth it.

 

And, somehow, maybe I can post the web address for this site. I'll simply mention that this is where I post about issues related to religion, and maybe I'll plant a few seeds for those in need... Again, worth it.

 

And maybe, if some of the bozos actually hear what I say about how I was treated, I'll be able to leave some of my pain in the past.

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