Massive Religion FAIL in the LGBT Community

ReligionFailIt’s been a full year now that I’ve been writing for The L Stop, often about religion and spirituality in our community. The recent Pew Research poll results that came out have me wondering who out there is reading, given that about half of our community identifies as “unaffiliated, atheist or agnostic,” a little more than double the general population.  Nine out of ten people that identify as LGBT say that organized religion is “unfriendly” to their community, and only 18% currently attend a religious worship service of any kind.

Of course, none of these statistics are at all shocking or surprising to me — it’s seems fairly obvious from my own experiences that religion is quite hostile to us, and has caused great pain and serious wounds to many. There is plenty to be angry about, but even more to grieve.  Both as a community of believers and as a community of non-believers, we can support each other and help to heal the wounds that religion has caused in the lives of LGBT people. Many have faced rejection by religious family members, heard hateful and shaming words spoken from the pulpit or issued in edicts, told that their children were being abused by being raised in same-sex homes, and even point-blank told that they would burn in hell — sometimes by people that they loved.  A day doesn’t go by where we don’t learn of the fight against marriage equality and the fuel from mainstream religious leaders, both in our home state and across the country.

If you have experienced rejection or pain as a result of intolerance or religious persecution, I invite you to share your story here in an effort toward healing. Tell us how you lost your faith, or how you kept it despite your experience. If you moved away from organized religion, did it change your belief in a higher power? It’s time to sound off!

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About Val

Valency was born in San Francisco to hippie parents, but is a Chicago girl through and through. Ten years of Catholic school helped her develop a finely-tuned bullshit detector, as well as a love of all sorts of Catholic kitsch. Valency isn't fond of labels. She is, however, fond of embracing her many paradoxes, and walking the fine lines between religion and politics, with an eye turned toward postmodern religion, feminist theology, and challenging patriarchy from inside religious institutions. She lives on the northside with her two daughters and two female cats, and is always looking for more ways increase the estrogen in her household.


4 Responses to “Massive Religion FAIL in the LGBT Community”

  1. Oh. You could have been writing about me! I completely gave up on organized religion, and I refuse to believe in a god who is as cruel and unforgiving as the christian god. I was one who was told point blank that I was going straight to hell, and more than once. I was “exorcised” to remove the demons of…well, I don’t know what! A family member told my young children that I was going to hell. My father said my “life style” was as abusive to my children as living with a child molester. I was completely turned away by my family. Telling people I was gay became a defense mechanism. I would tell people almost from the very start so that they could just get the rejection part over with before I became emotionally involved. While the concept of a higher being is less frightening/disheartening/event-triggering now, I still cannot bring myself to really consider believing again. I went through years of therapy to learn how to not be a victim and stop the abuse I had been subjected to, and that included some severe religious abuse.
    Today, I am whole, mostly. It’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have an amazing (atheist!) partner, and my children are open and accepting of all people and staunch supporters of all things queer. I won this battle, because I became stronger in who I am, my kids became amazing people partly due to all that, and I learned to stand up for what was right for me.

    Posted by Denise | June 27, 2013, 9:38 am
  2. Great blog. As a lesbian, baptist, ordained LCPC pastoral counselor I definitely have a few broken molds behind me and have had my share of religious trauma and lived to tell of it. I am happy to have seen some fresh winds blow off some of the doors of the church. I’m looking for and slowly seeing a faith life that is just as radical as the rest of my life.

    Posted by Elizabeth Ritzman | June 29, 2013, 10:32 pm
  3. Denise, thanks for sharing your story of abuse and your journey toward healing. Good luck as you continue down that path toward wholeness!

    Posted by Valency | July 18, 2013, 11:17 am
  4. Elizabeth, I totally agree. While my beliefs may appear “traditional” at first glance, my faith practices and my journey ha been defined by all things radical! Thanks for your comments!

    Posted by Valency | July 18, 2013, 11:20 am

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