Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Christian Comes Out

National Coming Out Day was last Sunday, October 11th. I'm (obviously) already out, and even though I was looking for something to do to celebrate, I ended up not doing much.

A friend of mine, however, decided to take advantage of the day and come out to everyone he knows. On Facebook. Wow. So, at 12:01 am on October 11th he updated his Facebook status to say, "...wants his friends to know the real me: the real me who likes guys. yep, its true. I'm gay. :)"

This friend of mine has been struggling with his sexuality for a few years, is a Christian, has gone to Christian counseling to help deal with his attractions to the same sex, and as a result, has a mix of friends--conservative Christian, gay, and those somewhere in between. So, the coming out process hasn't been that easy for him. While a lot of people can depend on most of their friends to be there for him, he wasn't sure that was going to be the case with all of his.

After a couple of days of getting emails with just a "?' as the content, my friend decided to write a lengthy note on Facebook to describe where he was coming from. The note was very clear and thorough as to his motivations, and in it he thanks his friends that have been supportive, asks those that disagree from refrain from using the, "I'll love you but..." lines he had already seen, and then goes on to describe why he came out.

He talks about not wanting to hide his orientation and attractions anymore, not letting some friends into his whole life while others are in the dark. He discusses his attempts to change his own orientation through counseling and therapy, and discusses his views on his own salvation in light of his coming out. Most importantly, though, he talks about his struggle with coming to terms with being gay and how he dealt with depression and thoughts of suicide. This wasn't a decision he came to lightly.

I'm proud of him. I know how hard it is to come out, and its especially hard when you have friends from such varied backgrounds. Unfortunately, not everyone was as proud, and a rather heated discussion followed. Here's a few excerpts from those people that disagreed (all of whom referred to themselves as Christian):

"[You have] taken God's name, thrown it to the ground, and pissed on it."

"In as much as you do that [fall to homosexuality], you flaunt it and Christ's sacrifice as meaningless to you. I do not know how long this flaunting can go on before you are beyond reach."--and that was one of the nicer ones. Nothing like doubting salvation to win points.

"my heart is breaking for you...for that delightful, engaging, talented, and intelligent young man who has chosen a path to self-destruction."

"Do not listen to those who approve of this; their words are poison and their advice deadly. White-washed tombs is a compliment to them."

And my favorite of all--"Mark, you must unfriend the young and impressionable in your friend list. You may choose this, but it's wrong to expose kids to it."

Here's a new one (added after the original entry). Notice the use of the word "homo" at the end. Classy: "Second, America is the land of the free and home of the brave. I have just as much right to hate, dislike, make fun of, put down, support, encourage, or agree with something or someone just as you have the right to be a homo."


So there you have it. The responses of "loving" Christians to someone that just came out. And to someone that had already talked about how hard it was, and even talked about how terribly depressed he had been for years dealing with this. This is how they responded to someone in need.

A commenter on another blog asked me the other day why Christians always get blamed for being anti-gay when other religions have similar views. Maybe this is the answer. In fact, in a comment chain that went on for over 50 comments, only two people that disagreed with my friend's coming out did so with love and compassion. Pretty unbelievable.

Maybe examples like this will show those Christians that think homosexuality is wrong why their message isn't often falling on friendly ears.

16 Comments:

At 14/10/09 10:32 AM, Anonymous Joel A. said...

Please give your friend a hug from me (either physically or verbally, depending on your proximity to him). Let him know that there are others who have been where he is now and understand. And, if it helps any, let him know that it's been my experience that people who react so harshly from their "Christian" background may not always feel the way they do now. If they see that he is not demon-possessed as they fear, then the next time someone comes out to them (or they come out to themselves, some of them) they'll be a little less harsh. In the long run, if he can get past the reactions of people who matter to him, he'll find that he's much better off being true to himself. ... And let him know that there are people of faith who do not feel the way these people do. He should seek them out.

 
At 14/10/09 5:44 PM, Blogger freelancer said...

That's so upsetting. I hope in time people will stop being so afraid. I think it's fear that drives the insane reaction.

 
At 15/10/09 1:18 AM, Blogger Daemon said...

Man,

That makes me sad. I am glad he had to courage to be present and engaged in reality with his friends.

One should never have to apologize for the truth.

I hope he realizes and meets other "Christian" people that will show him the love, acceptance and support he needs at this time in life.

 
At 15/10/09 6:18 AM, Blogger KipEsquire said...

A post like this really needs to clarify which franchise of "Christian" your friend is.

There are plenty of gay-friendly denominations. It does them a disservice to equate modern, "Jesus' teachings" churches with the Catholic-Baptist-Mormon swamp that your friend was obviously drwoning in.

 
At 15/10/09 6:27 AM, Blogger Charles said...

And then there are some in the "Catholic-Baptist-Mormon swamp" (in my case, Roman Catholic) who are gay and out and no one gives a rip. Not even the priest.

It is incredibly sad to hear stories like this. I'm blessed that in my part of the country, I've never had this sort of response.

 
At 15/10/09 7:05 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Kip- sorry, I meant to stress that my friend comes from a conservative Christian background, as do most of his friends.

Obviously he and his friends are not from a gay-friendly denomination, or this type of response wouldn't have happened.

Regardless, you guys are right, it's a terribly sad situation, and I can't imagine how much more difficult my coming out would have been if I had to deal with these types of reactions. The few negative response I had to deal with were hard enough as it was.

 
At 15/10/09 7:50 AM, Blogger Daemon said...

I find it crushing at times, that we find more love and acceptance from strangers than from our own family, friends and churches.

This story has stuck with me today and my thoughts and prayers are with your friend.

Love one another.

 
At 17/10/09 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness Me! Brady- you have such excellent eyesight...and that mote was so very tiny.

Jim

 
At 20/10/09 9:26 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Jim. Maybe it's just me, but I missed the metaphor...

 
At 27/10/09 3:29 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Great blog. I have a political blog so feel free to stop on by and post. You have a cool perspective on things. Keep up the good work.

 
At 28/10/09 6:51 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Thanks, Chris, I'll check it out.

Seeing as you come from a conservative viewpoint, I'd like to hear your comment on this post too, if you feel so inclined...

 
At 1/11/09 6:00 PM, Blogger Strange said...

Lol, wow. This is almost word for word on the comments I got from "Christians" when I came out, a majority of them coming from my family and people who claimed to "care that my family's name not be tainted by association" with me. Good to know it's not me that is crazy. Thanks for this post. And mucho kudos to your friend. It's rough coming out and being a Christian with Christian people surrounding you. It can be a very tough road to walk.

 
At 23/11/09 7:20 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Oh, hey. I commented on that. Hopefully I was one of the loving ones. I do love the guy, and we've chatted quite a bit before an since.

 
At 24/11/09 7:19 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Jay- I'm pretty sure I know which one is you now that you mentioned you were one of the commenters. You were definitely one of the 2 compassionate ones I mention in my post.

I've been friends with him for only about 6 months or so (he actually watched my house/dog this weekend for me, though). It's crazy how many people he and I both know. This whole gay/ex-gay/gay Christian/questioning community is really closely-knit.

 
At 24/11/09 5:26 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Don't I know it! I'm friends with so many people along the gay/ex-gay spectrum. It's a challenge to love all these folks who have so many different views, but I'm really thankful for the chance to meet so many people. I tried looking for a Brady in his friends but didn't find you. Feel free to add me. My last name is Holloman.

 
At 8/12/09 5:33 PM, Anonymous Mykelb said...

These so-called Christians are not living the teachings of Christ. These people are reading passages from the Old Testament which Jesus told them to abandon. I feel for your friend, however, growing up and into your own is difficult. I am glad he is standing up for himself. He does not need the friendship of hypocrites and people who put conditions on their love. He just needs to say goodbye to these people who will do nothing positive for him or his life and move on. I knew when I came out that my family would be against it, withhold my college fund and possibly disown me, but I did it for myself, not for them. I was 18. I am now a successful man with two homes, a six figure salary, and married to the man I love. Live your own truth, not what someone else tells you to believe.

 

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