God Like Us: Loving the Lord Who Loves You
I think most Americans grow up as part of some kind of religious community, even if they were raised by hippies on a commune, like Wynona Ryder. Children, however, don’t have a say as to which communities and beliefs they’re exposed to. That’s one of the few perks a parent has. But, as kids get older they realize they are gay, bisexual, two-spirit, Chaz Bono, and start to feel the pressures of dogma on their sensitive backsides. For many of us, it’s the first real challenge of our faith and our faith in our community.
Where religions teach love at best, tolerance at the very least; practice and interpretation by faith leaders runs the gamut. Higher faith was the first political party responsible for conflict—a favorite call-out being the Defenestration of Prague, which kicked off a little 30-year skirmish between the Catholic Church and some Protestants. Every congregation undoubtedly has a gay member who might not be out. They’re afraid of losing part of their identity. Some communities ostracize people for failing to fit into a rigid construction, however subjective (and boring). Others encourage diversity and are open to sexual orientation. It’s the classic battle of homogeneity vs. heterogeneity, just with the prefixes swapping party lines.
Sorry to be flighty here, but just as a poem’s metaphoric meaning is interpreted differently between readers, so is a spiritual passage deciphered by religious leaders. Rick Warren will have a different take on Leviticus than your average Unitarian Universalist minister. And that’s fine, encouraged, and super American. We just have to remember there’s room enough for every perspective.
I attended Sunday school at an Evangelical Baptist church because it was two blocks away and my single mother needed one day alone. I became an altar boy when my staunchly Catholic aunt decided to correct this oversight. And my father held meetings with the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in California, so the houses that Mary helped build loomed heavily. It’s a shame none of them were openly inviting to homosexuals.
Other gay people grow up in similar situations and, after finding a backbone or new community, eschew their old world to embrace one that accepts them, face value. That seems to be the journey Shane is on. Alternatively, as other cast members point out, you don’t have to be part of a group to have faith. You can communicate directly with your higher power without worrying about anybody else passing judgment. Still, it’s nice to find people who speak your spiritual language and it seems as though Nashville has plenty of that.
An all new season of GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS is just around the corner. Tune into Sundance Channel on for the Season 2 premiere Friday, November 18th at 9 PM et/pt.