Religion and homosexuality, when used in the same sentence, tend to be less than kind. I told my former best friend—when I thought we were still friends—about a guy I was seeing and the first thing she said was, “Don’t have sex with him because that’s not what the Lord wants.” Yikes.
The cause of my friend’s new…erm, outlook, was her joining a cult church the second she arrived at college—thankfully, her school is nowhere near mine.
But her situation is not unusual for college kids. As a resident assistant, I get more fliers advertising church “recruitment” than anything else. Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic…even Atheist—there now seems to be a church for everyone. And undergraduates—fresh-faced, doe-eyed and eager to sign our lives away—are the main targets for these institutions.
This entire situation can be particularly aca-awkward for gay students. We’re taught by mainstream culture that the church…well, hates us. Apparently our love for boys is the only money you need to get a one-way ticket to Lucifer’s lair. That same friend told me that “all sins are created equal,” and put me being gay on the same pedestal as felonies like murder and rape.
This is, of course, total crap. I’m sorry to anyone who still feels the way—so stop! This week isn’t about bashing religion, though; it’s about reconsidering the role it plays on your campus.
While yes, there are those crazy-backwards-thinking churches that bash us (Ahem, like my former friend’s), I’ve noticed a few that don’t around my uni. In fact, they do quite the opposite.
I’m not a church-going or religious type of guy, but plenty of my friends—gay friends—are, and they’ve managed to find joints that let them raise both their rainbow and Jesus flags. Pretty nifty, eh?
There’s one campus ministry my friends attend that abides by “deeds, not creeds.” In other words, in lieu of dogmatic rules omnipresent in normal organized religion, they focus on action: doing good things for the community and each other. Hmmm, sounds more Christian than any “normal” church I’ve seen. This institution prides itself on being more than just “gay tolerant,” but “gay affirming.” Several of my best friends attend this service every Sunday.
I have one friend who started a gay Bible study two years ago. It has since grown exponentially as a place for LGBT students to come together and analyze what religion really says about homosexuality. News flash: It’s not that bad.
There’s also a Gay Christian Network on campus in addition to a few other spots that welcome LBGTs…just as they are—not “projects” that need “saving.” And that’s pretty damn refreshing.
I’m not attempting to convert you or even make you see religion in a positive light. Simply, I’m suggesting that if you are curious about religion, take a look around your school. You’ll be surprised how gay-friendly it might be.
But every town and campus is different, and I want to hear about yours. Did you ever consider religion in college? How was the scene on your campus? Good or bad? Share your thoughts below.