Gay Life Volume 33, Number 7
Idid not have an especially religious upbringing. My family celebrated Easter this time every year, first with painted eggs and eventually with family dinners at the adults’ table (admittedly clad too often in pastels). But I seldom went to church, either on Easter Sunday or throughout the year. My relationship with organized religion went through stages, but because I was not forced into a pew every Sunday, I did not feel the need to rebel against religious orthodoxy. In fact, I’ve often found church peaceful, and I have a special appreciation for the Latin lyrics of Catholic choirs and their haunting cathedral acoustics.
As I began to realize how some religions institutions reject gays and lesbians and discriminate against women, I felt increasingly uneasy about organized religion. Many major religions profess to be based on compassion, while hypocritically favoring tradition over empathy. I found the condemnation of homosexuality irreconcilable with any understanding of compassion.
But I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to reject all the good that religion has to offer. After all, human beings have turned to religion for answers to age-old questions that science and philosophy have not convincingly solved. The insight and peace that many reap from prayer, reflection, and even worship should be enjoyed by anyone searching for meaning in a world that appears increasingly awry.
Today, I still do not attend church services, nor do I have any simple answer when asked about my religious beliefs. But the hostility I once felt toward religion has been assuaged over time through understanding and patience.
While religious beliefs are very personal, entire communities can grow out of sacred worship. Religious affiliation was (and often still is) determined by family and locale. But today, in this country, we can choose religious demoninations based on the beliefs, doctrines, and the communities they involve.
Fortunately, there are many churches right here in Baltimore that embrace lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Some even embrace LGBT clergy and followers with equal warmth. This issue of Gay Life highlights some of these places of worship, just in time for spring holidays. Whether you celebrate Passover, or Easter, or some other spirit of spring, I hope you find affirmation and support in whatever path you choose.