One huge issue that bothers me with religion is how so many people are under the impression that spirituality and sexual orientation (or any kind of being different) are mutually exclusive. Even my therapist once said to me that he didn’t know what they were going to do with me, and I asked him what he meant; he said I obviously had a strong devotion to God and deep spiritual calling, but I was gay, which was a lifestyle that some people would say is sinful.

My response?

I told him that maybe my sexual orientation was there to confound his way of thinking, to show him that the worldview that gay people aren’t religious or devoted or in tune with God may definitely be false.

On one hand, I think the issue is that religious people and gay people who are suspicious of the other group have a poor idea of what religion and homosexuality are, respectively, usually drawing on the absolute worst possible images. The point is, people often forget that religious people and gay people are PEOPLE, so in attempt to point out the horrible things that they do, they also forget that most people are, for whatever reason, either ignorant or stupid, and that those people are going to be the ones without the sense to keep their mouths shut.
Of course, I’m generalizing here myself- so understand that I mean “some gay people” and “some religious people” and have no intentions of lumping them all into one category.

Some gay people seem to think that “religious” equates with “comically conservative” in the sense of hating gay people, subjugating women, and despising pleasure of all kinds. This just simply isn’t the case. While Jansenism does exist within certain Catholic circles, at least implicitly, Catholicism and Anglicanism alike are known for their embracing the ordinary world and the pleasure it has to offer- if only people would look a little deeper into the matter, they might find this.

Likewise, some religious people think that gays are all horrible humans who lack any scrap of morality and are absolutely obsessed with nothing but sex, and they distort the fight for civil rights by saying that gay people are just trying to “normalize” gay sex.
Then you have the third group, the most important one, of individuals such as myself who are both gay and religious, who can give insight into both realms, who explain what it’s like to hang in the balance between two worlds that seem contradictory to one another, at least to other individuals involved.
First, the distortion of religion is a major issue with which we’re contending today; any mystic has to face this, as the exoteric expression of a religion often has forgotten the true esoteric meaning. Some people are still able to grasp at the Ineffable God as His Mystery is called into the Mass, but just as many are obsessed with rules and regulations, and still just as many want a concrete, solid set of rules they have to obey- the sheer amount of brain power it takes to question the rules and to try to find the underlying abstraction guiding them scares the hell out of these people, and they would rather not exert the necessary energy. To bring this to my point, it’s no wonder that gay people have a poor idea of religion, as religionists themselves often have a poor understanding of the religion.

Second, the distortion of gay people is just laughable to people who have common sense and actually know gay people. Most gay people are so normal that being gay actually makes them more interesting and saves them from being only slightly more interesting than tapioca pudding. To suggest that gay people are any more or less obsessed with sex than straight people is also ridiculous; have you ever spoken to a straight man? Yeah. Also, Erik recently directed me to an ex-gay organization of sorts that referred to “gay” as a “reductionist sexual identification.”

Here’s the issue: it’s about more than sex. It’s always been about more than sex. It’s about falling in love with someone of the same sex, it’s about husband and husband, it’s about two men who are pair-bonded, it’s about an expression of the Divine Mind of Christ that we apparently have neglected, and also, much to horror of the comical conservatives, the more we try to fight gay people’s expression and existence that God Himself is giving us, the more we’re going to see it. In other words, you’re setting yourselves up, dear comical conservatives, and the end result is going to be God laughing at you for trying to stop Him.
Anyway, having an identification does not mean it is a reductionist identification, as most gay people will tell you that being gay is only one part of their lives, albeit an important one. We are humans, we are people, who just happen to be gay.
Oddly enough, the author failed to realize that since he’s a priest, he could easily be said to have a Reductionist Religious Identity.
Of course, we all know people who seem to be one thing and one thing only; this is the basis of how stories are written, as we assume people in a specific role will have specific qualities, and that’s okay for a novel, but this is real life, and real life is far more complex than a story.
Whether or not religious people and gay people will ever get along is definitely a big question that’s looming over our heads, but hopefully, in the meantime, those of us who are in the middle will be able to address the situation the best that we can and try to keep both sides from hurting the other.
Another thing that gay people should realize is that for all the vocally anti-homosexual religious people, there are just as many, if not more, devout and extremely pro-gay religious people who are working FOR equal rights- and trust me, the not-gay-friendly religious people do not like them at all.