When I was little, religion wasn’t really a big thing until my mom married my step-dad who is Southern Baptist. Suddenly, we were in church every Sunday. I was saved and then Baptized by the time I was seven years old. My step-dad’s parents were old school baptist, far right wing Republicans. They still are. The Bible has always been their guide to live their life in a way that they believe will please God. I don’t know where they thought the Bible told them to judge everyone based on what they wore, the company they kept, who their family members were, or by the position they held in the community – but that’s what they did. I remember we had a man walk into our small, judgmental church wearing jeans, a shirt, and he had an earring in his ear. Good-looking guy, but unfortunately he wasn’t dressed the part of what the congregation considered “worthy”. When we went back to the grandparents house for Sunday lunch, the entire conversation dominated around what that man was wearing, instead of dominating around the fact that he even came to church to learn about God in the first place. At a very young age, I decided that a church like that wasn’t for me.
As I grew older, I kept my relationship with God, but I didn’t follow the Bible to its complete standards. I always had a hard time believing that an all-loving God would condemn homosexuals because of who they loved. I have always believed that homosexuality is something you are born with, not something you just choose to do because you want to be ridiculed for the rest of your life by people with closed minds. I never appreciated the sermons of homosexuals and suicides doomed to hell simply because of a choice they made. But if you kill someone, as long as you ask for salvation, you’re golden to go through the gates of Heaven. That makes absolutely no sense to me. It never will.
And so, as of recent, I have termed myself a Theist; I believe in God, Heaven, and Hell. But I also respect other religions and believe that every religion holds some form of truth to the afterlife. I also don’t think God would punish people because they were raised into a certain religion, and so that is the one they chose to follow. How can you be punished for thinking your religion is the right one? How can God expect you to just ‘know’ which one is the correct one? How about you do good in life, treat others with respect, and be the best person you can be? When this life is over and we move on to the afterlife, we will be rewarded accordingly to our deeds. That is what I choose to go with. That answer seems best to me.
My daughter is in middle school. She hit puberty last year, her emotions are changing, hormones are all over the place. A couple of weekends ago, while we were in the car on the way home from her friends house, I asked her if she liked girls. She was very quiet at first. Then she told me she liked people for who they were, not their gender. She also told me the girls house she stayed at, was her girlfriend.
I told her that I love her no matter what. I also told her that in being bi-sexual, gay, or Pansexual, she is going to face a lot of obstacles from people that don’t understand – especially because we live in the bible belt. My job is to help her navigate her teenage years with as little damage as possible. Even without being Pansexual, she is going to face a lot of obsticles (and it has already started) from her peers, her changing body, the emergence of her sexuality. I want to be there for her no matter what, but I’m scared that I’m going to fail her. I have a feeling the next six years are going to be full of tears, laughter, heartache, and fulfillment.