We've come a long way toward accepting LGBTQ people here in the United States. But there's a lot that still remains to be done, largely because of archaic Christian religious attitudes based on pre-scientific notions thousands of years old, now hugely outdated.
An email I got recently gives me hope, though. Read on...
Hey Brian, I saw the post about the Salem library wanting to use the church property as a temporary place while renovations take place. Hmmm…
It’s interesting to look back and see how much my values and opinions have changed. Growing up in the heart of the Bible belt, I was surrounded by God fearing Republicans who prayed to God in Jesus’ name at sporting events and had Christmas programs in the schools.
So, I was raised with those same ideals. Part of all that, of course, was to believe that homosexuality was wrong and sinful. I can’t say that my family had any kind of open hatred for homosexuals, but it was thought of as wrong, according to the Bible.
Also, we would have looked at a situation like the library renting the church as a great thing.
Lots of changes took place in my thinking in the last 10 years or so. Fast forward to today and I now I do not see homosexuality as being any different than heterosexuality. It’s just a preference. Everyone is different and that’s normal.
And my political views have shifted drastically as well. Also, I definitely have issues with the blatant non-separation of church and state that goes on here in the south, all the time. The library thing is definitely in a gray area.
One cool thing is that my parents and sister have changed a lot as well. None of them are atheists, but they are all Democrats (gasp!) and they also no longer have issues with the homosexual community. And we all changed without knowing that each of us had changed. My parents were raised in really strict evangelical Christian traditions. So it gives me hope that people can change if they are just open to it.
I have no doubt that a catalyst for change for most people is education and exposure. In the churches I went to, we were often encouraged NOT to learn a lot of different things and don’t be exposed to “the world” because it could “contaminate” our faith. Well shit! Of course it will!
When people start educating themselves and learning to think for themselves, chances are they will start to see through the religious bull shit. In my experience, the religious folks that I know who are the most staunch, unmoving believers are often the ones who have done very little study into what they believe and why.
On the flip side, the people that I know (myself included) who have really researched the history of their religion and their holy book and some science about how the brain works and how societies have formed, and such… these people often have become less dogmatic, more open to the world around them and those that believe differently, and even have become agnostics and atheists.
My children are a good example of this. They both were in church at a young age, but we quit going to church around 2010 or 2011. Since then, my daughter has graduated from college and my son from high school. We stopped actively indoctrinating them before we quit attending church.
So they have had several years to think and observe and become their own people. I don’t know where they are spiritually, but I think they still believe in God in some form or fashion, but aren’t religious. They both have several gay friends and they don’t look at them any differently than their straight friends.
Awesome. Even my wife, who is still in church and full on Christian, has loosened up on her view of the LGBTQ community, and a few other sacred cows. So that’s kind of cool.