Honor the Giver

When I graduated into the “real world”, I had spent 12 years in Catholic schools and was well indoctrinated. Although I think I got a great education, I’m not sure adding religion into the mix is a good idea. Two concepts that were front and center were:

  1. The idea that physical pleasure that came from activities not designed to produce a baby were evil and a sin.
  2. In all things moral and spiritual, the Catholic church was right and disagreement was not an option.

As a gay guy, I saw no fertile fields for my seed in the foreseeable future and my options were bleak. Celibate or sinner. The only guys I knew that were celibate were priests and they got some special hocus pocus from God to keep them that way.  Since then, we’ve seen how well that turned out.

Slowly at first, I began questioning what I had been taught. On our tenth anniversary, my husband and I asked a priest if he would come to our home and give us a blessing. We knew him because he was always in gay bars and we would occasionally run into him. He explained that the church would not allow him to bless us because of being gay but he could bless our house.  We said ok.  Today I’d tell him to get the hell out of our house.

I’m not trying to single out the Catholic Church because all churches have their individual idiosyncrasies:

  1.  Southern Baptist Convention – Broke away from the Baptist Church in 1845 to be pro-slavery and were a driving force behind Jim Crow laws.  In 1995, the Convention apologized for their pro-slavery positions.  For white supremacists who may have been offended by this apology, take heart.  Just for you they doubled down on homophobia and sexism.  Not to be outdone by the Catholics, a huge sex abuse scandal has recently been uncovered.
  2. In the Mormon Church, whenever one of their guiding principals becomes unpopular, a cooperative God will give one of the twelve church Elders a vision that immediately becomes church doctrine.  In 1978, because of one of these visions, Black men went from having the Curse of Cain and very limited membership in the church to being eligible to be priests and admission to the temple in Salt Lake.
  3. “Evangelical” Christians are just a puzzle.  Their belief in the Bible as a historical document at the expense of science – ignoring the reality it was passed down for a millennium by story tellers before being written – is a testament to their blind faith.  However, their actions seem contradictory.  Bill Clinton was discovered to have had a marital infidelity and, as a group, they called for his head and impeachment.  Donald Trump has been discovered to be a man whore with three different wives and this same group says it’s a private matter and is none of their business.  How about some children being taken from their parents and others put in cages?  They support the person responsible?  Where is this behavior found in scripture?

I started becoming more aware of gifts I have received such has the ability to tell right from wrong, a brain that can think for me and my own moral compass.  In my youth I had allowed my religion to perform these roles without question instead of using the gifts God gave me and it brought up uncomfortable questions.

  1. If God created me and God doesn’t create junk, how can I be an abomination?
  2. The greatest gift God has given me has been the love of my life and husband of over 40 years.  How can a gift from God be evil?
  3. How can a church hierarchy made up of men who don’t have sex (supposedly) be taken seriously as the source of sexual morality?
  4. We are all imperfect beings.  How is it possible for any human being or organization of humans to be incapable of making mistakes?
  5. If God’s judgement is the one we need to be conscious of, who are all these people who claim the authority to judge me and other people?

It’s taken a very long time but my beliefs are very different now than they were when I left parochial school.   I am a much happier man and have maintained my faith despite the obstacles.  I said all of that to get to a point.

I look at things now as gifts from the Big Guy.  I think it’s non-controversial to say that sexual pleasure is a gift.  As I said earlier, men who supposedly don’t have sex set the rules telling us the only time we are allowed to experience that pleasure is when making a baby.  Is it possible they’re jealous and want to throw a little guilt into the mix?  You use birth control?  No pleasure for you.  You are not medically capable of creating a baby?  No pleasure for you.  You’ve passed menopause?  Forget it.  Gay?  Get real.  How about masturbation?  No pleasure for you – that’s what wet dreams are for.

It seems to be that if God gives me a gift, I should celebrate it, enjoy it and be in a state of gratitude for it.  If adults are responsible when using this gift, they are showing God their appreciation.  If you are given a gift by God and you intentionally ignore that gift, it sure seems like disrespecting the gift giver.