If I was on the fence about why there was a reason to come back and start blogging my usual tirades against religion, I was given the final push over the edge. Earlier this week, I had a friend attempt suicide due to untreated depression issues. It was tremendously sad, but it and the nearly 50 stitches accompanying it were a wake up call she dearly needed. But what happened yesterday is on a whole extra level of just fucking wrong.
A friend from high school, we'll just call him D, realized that after years of trying his best to deny who, at his very core, he truly was, it was time to accept reality and help the people near and dear to him to accept the same. The problem is, everyone near and dear to D was strongly tied to a particularly conservative group within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormons. When D told them that he is, and always has been, attracted to other men, his his friends ostracized him. His church shunned him. His family disowned him. And when D realized that there was nobody in his life who cared more about his well-being than in the immutable writings of books written hundreds or thousands of years ago, D tried to kill himself.
I've lost friends to suicide. Far too many. For a middle class white boy from the suburbs of Minnesota, I've lost far too many people to their poor choices, be it drugs, violence, drunk driving, abusive boyfriends or self-destruction. I think suicide is an extremely selfish act. But being that I also have a history of health issues, both physical and mental, I don't judge people who make this choice. Especially not D. When I feel extremely depressed, I have a giant net of people who are there to catch me, to keep me from plummeting into that dark abyss. D didn't have that. In his time of need, every single person who he counted on to be there for him turned their back. His brother, his mother, his father, his grandparents, his friends from college, his friends from work, his pastor, his congregation -- none of them cared more for the life of a sweet, gentle man than for the words of hate passed down through their religion. In the end, a neighbor D knew only in passing saved his life as he dangled by his neck.
If it weren't for religion, the closest thing we'd have to an anti-gay movement is "it's just icky", and you can guarantee that would never get support in the polls. Only organized religion can take an entire person's quarter-century history of good deeds, kind words and well wishing and reduce it down to "he's an evil queer." And only organized religion can have the power to try to legislate this holy mandate to hate into law.
Somebody once asked me what the proper term for homosexual people is: is it gays, homos, or queers?
You know what I like to call homosexual people? People.
How do you respond? Has the Christian church hurt someone you know? Have you ever had a friend try to commit suicide? What can Christians learn from these stories?