All three of my children - who are within the so-called Millennial generation - have walked away from organized religion, in particular the Roman Catholic Church. Most of their cousins and many of friends have done likewise. Why? It's actually very simple: the rabid homophobia of many supposed Christian denominations and for those who are Catholic, the sex abuse scandal. The two combine to make the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in the Gospels pale in comparison. That's not to say that many Millennials aren't spiritual. They simply want nothing to do with denominations best defined by their hatred towards others. And I suspect the number of those who will walk away from religion in my grand children's generation will be even higher. As a piece in LGBTQ Nation makes clear, there is no better reason to leave Christianity than the godly Christians. (Note the fact that coming out is not a one time process. It is ongoing and often involves standing up to bigots and changing hearts and minds). Here are article excerpts:
My husband and I live with our twin sons in rural New Jersey — the garden of the Garden State. We moved there shortly after we adopted them in 2001. We don’t live in the mythic “gay community.” We live in a community. A fully integrated community. We attend the kids’ sporting events, drive the kids to and from basically everywhere a teenager would need to go (indeed the ol’ “sometimes I feel like I’m running a car service” applies). I’ve even ascended through the cutthroat ranks to become president of the PTA. Along the way, my husband and I have needed to constantly educate other non-LGBT people around us about our family, and we are happy to do it — to better the lives of our children.
We may not be throwing bottles and bricks in a bar in Greenwich Village, but we are on our own front line advocating for change right here, in suburban America. Simple, small battles, year after year, like meeting with the superintendent ensuring all school forms from our district read “Parent and Parent” and not “Mother and Father.”
Always the ten-second feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach as we “educate” and “integrate” our family into the community around us.
Just this week our 15-year-old son’s bus driver was listening to her “Christian” radio station while driving the school bus, giving him religious propaganda — in the form of a comic book — with Jesus as Superman and the rest of us poor citizens of Gotham living a dark dreary life until we accept the Man of Steel as our Lord and savior. Why has she taken it upon herself to volunteer this information? He already subscribes to all the teenage angst: attempting to fit in, questioning his parents’ beliefs and doubting his self confidence. As my son listened to the religious Sermon on the Mount…or rather the Sermon on the Bus, he discussed with the driver that he had two fathers. She imparted her wisdom unto him; she doesn’t have a problem with homosexuals, but “they are not blessed, and they will go to hell.”
So again — I had to “rouse rabble,” teach and advocate for change. Our son’s bus driver has been swapped out, and she was given a slap on the wrist. The very kind and helpful woman from the bus company told us, “She is not to listen to religious programming on the bus, discuss her religious views or talk about people’s lifestyle.”
Next battle: Umm, It’s not a “lifestyle.” It’s not some choice like jetting off to Napa (maybe we have), baking like Martha Stewart (possibly we do) or keeping a regular yoga practice (definitely guilty). But I’ll save that “opportunity to teach” for next week.
I am a lapsed damaged Catholic. I was raised Catholic: Sunday School, Stations of the Cross, altar boy. At 14, when I mentioned to my pastor that I was having certain strong feelings (it was way more than feelings, but I only told him it was “feelings”) about men, he told me not to worry. “You’re just starting high school. This can be normal at this age. If you were starting college, then we might consider it a problem.”
LGBT people and our families cannot allow the Catholic church to willingly escort us to the back of the bus as second-class citizens. “Love the sinner, but not the sin” is not even a little bit acceptable. It also makes it difficult for me to make the kids clean up their rooms when the Catholic church is telling them they won’t see me in the afterlife.
And to anyone — whether a Pope, bus driver, butcher, baker or candlestick maker — who wants to begin a conversation where I or my family are second class citizens, My inner Dad voice says “go fuck yourself,” then I remember: this is an “opportunity to teach” right here. Pull this bus over.
Folks like this brain dead bus driver will be the death of Christianity. Thankfully, my grandchildren are growing up seeing gay granddads as normal - just this weekend the husband and I baby sat my grand daughter overnight - and those who condemn us as abnormal. Time truly is on our side. Meanwhile, we need to live our lives openly and with pride, taking opportunities that present themselves to "educate" anti-gay bigots and those who are to lazy to question the status quo.