[A] as gay men and lesbians grapple with their sexuality and an evangelical upbringing they cherish, some have come to accept both. And like other Christians who are trying to broaden the definition of evangelical to include other, though less charged, concerns like the environment and AIDS, gay evangelicals are trying to expand the understanding of evangelical to include them, too.Meanwhile, over on Firedoglake, TRex has this:
“A lot of people are freaked out because their only exposure to evangelicalism was a bad one, and a lot ask, ‘Why would you want to be part of a group that doesn’t like you very much?’ ” [Justin] Lee said. “But it’s not about membership in groups. It’s about what I believe. Just because some people who believe the same things I do aren’t very loving doesn’t mean I stop believing what I do.”....
But even when they accept themselves, gay evangelicals often have difficulty finding a community. They are too Christian for many gay people, with the evangelical rock they listen to and their talk of loving God. [Justin] Lee plans to remain sexually abstinent until he is in a long-term, religiously blessed relationship, which would make him a curiosity in straight and gay circles alike.
Gay evangelicals seldom find churches that fit. Congregations and denominations that are open to gay people are often too liberal theologically for evangelicals. Yet those congregations whose preaching is familiar do not welcome gay members, those evangelicals said.
You know, I have been spending my time since the election attempting to hone my knowledge of the Radical Gay Agenda in hopes of infiltrating the Christianist chuch [sic] and bringing it down from within. But it looks like the sad, sick, repressed faggots that run the place are saving me the trouble.He notes the two evangelical leaders who have recently stepped down after allegations that they had engaged in homosexual behavior. In contrast to the sympathy the NYT showed for gay men who need to find a way to understand themselves in the context of their religious beliefs, TRex has nothing but contempt:
[N]ow we're supposed to sit still without giggling while they unspool their angst and beg us to forgive them.That is sort of funny... if you can tolerate the mockery of religion. As for the "cognitive dissonance" between religion and sex, you don't have to be gay to experience it. There are many ways to struggle with sex and religion, and to turn your back on religion entirely is not necessarily to take the most difficult path. It may be the best choice though, and it certainly is an independent wrong for a man who knows he's gay to marry a woman (unless she's completely informed and means to do it). TRex focuses on the evangelical leaders, caught in their ludicrous hypocrisy, and it is easy to lampoon those guys, but what about the sincere young men in the NYT article, who really are trying to find a way within their own religious tradition? They've chosen a more difficult path. Are they just fools?"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy,"Funny, you know? So have I. Except I didn't feel the need to lie and lie and lie about it. I didn't marry some poor overweight alto from the church choir and then proceed to run around behind her back with other men. I didn't present myself as any kind of moral arbiter to a bunch of weak-minded, easily duped Christianist Sheeple, either.
In a way, I guess I can sort of understand where these guys are coming from, though. Jesus Christ is the Elemental Boyfriend. Sensitive Jewish guy, big brown eyes, rich dad, and he loves you no matter what you do. He would die for you. And there he is, hanging (*cough*) out naked at the front of the church every week. You are encouraged to fasten your eyes upon his lithe, nude body and think about luuurrrrrve. Big lurrrrve. A lurrrrrrve that transcends time and even the bonds of death itself. It's got to send some pretty confusing messages to those poor men's limbic brains.
I know it caused me no end of cognitive dissonance to sit there in church each Sunday and gaze in rapture at the Holy Hipbones and Inner Thighs of Jesus Christ, My Personal Lord and Savior™. But then, you know, I turned 14, kissed my first boy, and never looked back.
ADDED: In a second NYT article, Jason Lee, one of the gay men discussed in the first article, is asked about the resignations of Paul Barnes the Ted Haggard.
Justin Lee, a self-described gay evangelical, said many men had written messages to his Web site, gaychristian.net, telling of anguish similar to what Mr. Barnes described.(Hey, the NYT is providing hyperlinks now!)
“The church has created a double standard that all of us are sinful and have temptations and need to be open about that — unless you’re gay,” Mr. Lee said.
MORE: For an alternate description of finding a depiction of Jesus sexually attractive, listen to track 11 on disc 2 of the CD version of "God Said Ha!" Julia Sweeney describes her mother's enthusiasm about the "new Jesus" she picked out for her church. (The old one was "so depressing.") I don't think this part is in the movie version (which is also good). [ADDED: A commenter says it is in the movie. There are things on the CD that aren't in the movie. I should say I have both versions and have listened to/watched them many times, so I've lost track.]