Can Gay People Have God?

I just read some numbers that really bothered me. They might even keep me up tonight, wondering.

In a study of more than 500 gay men, a group of researchers in California found that 76% of they guys they interviewed claimed they grew up in Christian families, studying the Christian faith… as Christians.  Now adults, only 49% of these men say they stayed with it.  In other words, 142 guys decided they didn’t want to be Christians anymore.

Why did 51% of them change their minds?

Did they give up because every 30 seconds the average teenage boy thinks about sex… and every time the average closeted gay Christian teenage boy gets a closeted gay erection he wonders if God is going to send him to hell? That’s a lot to worry about every 30 seconds.

Did 51% of them turn away because they were tired of worrying?

Did they give up because every time they went to church – or every time their mother talked about religious things at the dinner table – a small voice inside their head neurotically whispered “I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay…. oh $hi+ what if I’m gay?!”  Even when the sermon or the conversation had nothing to do with homosexuality, did it make them whisper silent promises and beg to be forgiven for feelings they couldn’t control?

Did 51% of them get tired of the voices and give up?

  • Did they give up because they wanted to, or because they felt they had to?
  • Did the church hurt them so badly that they saw no option but to walk away?
  • Did they feel forced to choose between who they are and what they believe?
  • Was it easier for them to convince themselves that they didn’t love God than it was for them to convince themselves that they didn’t love other men?

These are hard questions with huge consequences.  Apparently, these men felt forced to choose to choose between two fundamental parts of who they are – their sexuality and their spirituality.  Of course, walking away from Christianity isn’t necessarily the same thing as walking away from God.  Deciding to abandon an organized religion isn’t the same thing as deciding to no longer live life as a spiritual person.

Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist (1875 – 1961), observed that gay men seem to be uniquely spiritual — a quality I see daily, even in men and women who don’t label themselves as Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.   Although many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people choose to nourish their spirits outside of organized religion, it still makes me sad that so many of us feel the need to walk away from our churches, mosques, and synagogues.

It makes me sad because I’m relatively certain God asks us to choose between sin and holiness, but I don’t think he asks us to choose between sex and spirit.  And I definitely don’t think he wants us to run away from home.

Reference

Kubicek, K., McDavitt, B., Carpineto, J., Weiss, G., Iverson, E. & Kipke, M. (2009). “God made me gay for a reason” Young men who have sex with men’s resilience in resolving internalized homophobia from religious sources. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24(5), 601-633.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Opinions, Questions, Research

9 responses to “Can Gay People Have God?

  1. Faggotry is a sin in Christianity. Since some people don’t like being reminded that they’re sinners it doesn’t surprise in the least me that 51% of the queers studied turned away from the God in favor of buggery.

    Then again, Yahweh’s a pretty tough and vicious God even with his son to leaven things.

  2. It’s an interesting study, but what you fail to mention (i’m not sure if you looked into this) but 44% of ALL males change their religious affiliations by the time they turn 24. So, while I think you have a point about the stigma attached by religion, I’m not sure the study cited takes into account the other possibilities for changes in religious affiliation, or lack of affiliation.

    I wonder if the reason some young gay men leave Christianity is because the LGB “community” places such a stigma on Christians, even those who affiliate with supportive and affirming churches such as MCC and UCC. I find the intolerance of Christians by the gay community to be hypocritical.

    To answer your question…Yes gay people can, and many do, have God in their lives.

  3. When I came out, I found more acceptance among other gay folk for my Christian faith (and vocation) than I expected. Maybe it’s just the South, which is a really different sort of place – often of extremes.
    Most gay boys here grew up in church (usually some variety of baptist), and while they may have experienced terrible rejection, and may no longer “do church,” they still have a strong sense of God and the importance of a spiritual life.
    And many just leave church behind. Sad.
    God did make us. and for a reason.

  4. Pingback: A Gay Vacation from Religion | Stillforus

  5. Matt

    My wife is Lutheran and a youth pastor. She’s founded a small camp for LGB kids so they can safely discuss how their spirituality and sexuality are both gifts from God (http://www.spiritualprideproject.org/). I also find intolerance of the Christians within the LGB community super-hypocritical.

    “It makes me sad because I’m relatively certain God asks us to choose between sin and holiness, but I don’t think he asks us to choose between sex and spirit.”

    Word.

    • Bryan

      Matt,

      I just checked out the Spiritual Pride Project and it looks really incredible! Would you mind passing your wife my email address (stillforus@hotmail.com) and asking her to contact me? I would love to talk with her about the camp and how I can help!

      Bryan

  6. Jason W

    The Christian church was formed around a set of teachings that had a goal of getting people connected with God. In the end, is it really about connecting with God or is it about pushing a specific way to do so?

    I would disagree that God asks anything of us. My personal feeling is that we can either acknowledge the innate connection with Spirit that everything shares, or we can be in conflict with it. Heaven and hell are a simply states of consciousness, only as eternal as we make them. Everything about life is holy, regardless of whether or not you follow to the rules. The rules are simply an attempt to preserve and tame something that is extremely fluid. Many of them are based out of fear and unconscious attempts to put something in a box that doesn’t fit in a box. Breaking rules could be viewed as a journey of self exploration, finding your way to personal truth and union with creation.

    Loving your neighbor because you’re told to is not the same thing as loving your neighbor because you see yourself in them. Helping the impoverished because it’s what other people are doing isn’t the same as truly connecting with someone and helping them past a hurdle that they can’t see past. You can’t institutionalize that kind of experience.

    I’m not saying that the Christian church is bad or outdated. It does great things for some people. All I’m saying is that people have different needs and that reality is too big to fit in one box without being extremely non-specific.

    Chances are I’ve lit some people up with this post. I would invite anyone who feels threatened to consider how anything I’ve said could possibly threaten anything that’s supposed to be infallible truth.

    My truth, and the only thing that I consider infallible, is that God is all there is. Everything you see, feel and breathe is God. Which means that each of us is God incarnated, that everything we experience is a result of our own consciousness and what we hold to be true, and that nothing is created without permission or agreement. I’m not saying anyone who disagrees with this is wrong either. What you believe is completely true in your universe, but only because you accept it as so. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    My truth is something I had to discover on my own personal journey. It’s not something that can be institutionalized and have the same meaning.

  7. Jena

    Many don’t leave the church, but our forced out or made to feel unwelcome. As Christians, we should be welcoming EVERYONE!

    • And how do you propose to deal with the fact that Christianity holds their behavior to be sinful, apparently in the extreme in most sects?

      Homosexuality has become an “identity” as well as a set of behaviors and/or predilections. I’m doubtful that many queers would feel welcome in any organization that essentially said their “identity” was wrong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s