Saturday, October 22, 2016

You are not "struggling" with your sexuality - Your religion is struggling with you

Elliott Gladwin and Tom Zuniga
Elliott Gladwin (left) and Tom Zuniga (right)
Christian men “struggling” with their sexual orientation
Saturday, a headline at Christianity Today says it all: “Christian Men Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction Launch Storytelling Project to Give Each Other Encouragement.” The piece continues with:
Christian men struggling with homosexuality often feel alone in their plight, but the storytelling project "Your Other Brothers" hopes to connect these individuals and comfort them in the fact that they are not the only ones struggling with unwanted sexual desires.

Two millennial men Tom Zuniga, 29, and Elliott Gladwin, 28, were total strangers who Googled "Christians struggling with homosexuality." The search led them to a blog called Xanga where several Christian men who have the same issue are sharing their personal stories and struggles.

Zuniga and Gladwin became friends through that blog, and their friendship helped them cope with their issues. When Xanga went defunct in 2013, the two launched their own website "Your Other Brothers" in November 2015 to send this positive message to homosexual Christian men: "You don't have to experience this alone."
That is a “positive message?” I do not think so. A positive message affirms the good in who one is. Their message is about what they are not which, in this case, is heterosexual. These men know first-hand the truth that they did not choose to be gay. In their world their god chose them to be gay. Did their god do so to make them miserable? Their answer would likely be something about being tested. For what purpose they are being tested will remain a mystery to them and nonsensical to me.

I do not have much use for religion but the devout should realize that there are many choices available to Christians and Jews. The large number of openly gay clergy are evidence of the fact that those choices exist. One does not have to be a self-styled eunuch to be in good standing in a more enlightened congregation. Gay men and women in those congregations are fully accepted in their religious community and can even get married in their church or synagogue.

“Enlightenment” is the correct word. The people who wrote those ancient chronicles knew virtually nothing about their own sexuality. They did not understand that sexual orientation even existed. In the 21st century we have mountains of peer reviewed research pertaining to sexuality.

Armed with willful ignorance, this is all about guilt and shame. These gay men feel guilty because of their “same-sex attraction.” They call it same-sex attraction for a reason. It is a deliberate effort to minimize the importance of sexual orientation and to equate sexual orientation to something like a predisposition to alcoholism. Yet who we are romantically attracted to — our sexual orientation — is at the core of who we are. Therefore, these men must be wed to the idea that their god put them on earth to be unhappy. How absurd is that?

Usually, storytelling is something that we do with children. Perhaps these men are self-infantilizing which suggests that they might be looking for adult supervision. Life is too short.

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