I CONFESS: Church has gay obsession
THE TRUTH IS always difficult to swallow, especially when it clashes with people’s perceptions. This is why so many have difficulty accepting various developments taking place across the world, in their community, and in their personal relationships. They feel things in life should follow a certain pattern, and when this is threatened or stops happening, they have real difficulties coping.
I see this played out every day in Barbados in so many ways. And when you add the pretence and hypocrisy that as a people we have perfected, it has resulted in dysfunctional relationships, major resentment, prejudice and intolerance.
Two examples in point are Barbadians’ feelings towards other Caribbean nationals and gays. We actually refer to people from the Caribbean who look like us as foreigners which, though not a derogatory term, is meant to convey they are outsiders and not necessarily welcomed. But we call Brits, Americans, Canadians, Europeans – most of whom are white – visitors. The connotation being that they are welcomed.
As for gays, they are perceived as ungodly people who engage in depraved behaviour. Men are referred to by a derogatory term that is often preceded by the words “a big nasty”, while females are similarly frowned upon.
Since I became aware of my sexuality, I continually ask myself why Barbadians hate homosexuals so much. As I aged and got to understand life, I realised the hate is really an expression of their repressed sexuality. In other words, a lot of Barbadians have feelings for people of their own sex but stifle these emotions to conform to the norms of this society. Then they oppose, sometimes vigorously, those individuals who have the strength to declare they are gay.
I know of what I speak because as a gay Barbadian, over the last 30 years I have gone through the “hornpipe” for this. I was made to feel unwelcomed at church, I lost the best job I ever had, and the people who said they were my friends blanked me after I revealed I was gay. That’s what I mean by major resentment, prejudice and intolerance. It’s one thing to be effeminate, but another to boldly declare yourself gay. I did that and suffered.
I only decided to speak out about this after someone shared a Facebook post with me. The person asked:
“I want somebody to tell me what is the church’s obsession with homosexuality as opposed to the same passion and obsession with ALL sin, especially adultery, which continues to divide families and cause so much hurt and pain across the world.
“Why if God is in control (as we say all the time) is he allowing the LGBT community to grow by leaps and bounds?
“Please do not tell me because of free will. Help this Christ follower to understand.
“Why did Jesus show love and compassion for the sinners and ‘loathing’ for the religious people (the hypocrites disguised as Pharisees and Sadducees?) What was it about this Jesus that He saw right through their religious rhetoric?
“I am ready for the righteous tongue-lashing. Here we go, let us reason together in love.”
That post made me realise that maybe some honest Christians are beginning to see through the hypocrisy of their church leaders and would like the truth on such things revealed. At least this is my hope, so that the experience I went through at the hands of a supposedly respectable person would not recur.
The incident to which I refer occurred when I was 12. My mother used to send me to a certain church in the hope that they would straighten me out as I always got into fights because I did not like being teased and called a girl. I also developed a reputation for lying, as I lied to try to get out of any trouble.
At that church I came under the wing of a middle-aged man who ran the Sunday School. He was always nice to me and prevented the boys from teasing me. He was the first person who said that though I was different, I should still be treated with respect. I admired that, so I used to talk with him all the time. Little did I know he was a paedophile.
I found out just how wicked this man was during the long vacation when the church held a summer camp. One day the boys were pitching marbles but as I refused to join in they started calling me “girlie”, so I hit one of them and a fight started. This man rescued me as the lot of them had turned on me. He took me in the annex room where the stewards would normally be and gave me something to drink.
Then he started touching me up and asking if everything was all right and if I had any pain. He started with my face, then went to my chest, stomach, used both hands on each of my legs, then through my pants touched my penis and asked if I got hit there too. I began having a strange feeling with his hand rubbing it and did not say anything, so he kept on rubbing it and kept asking me if it got hurt. All I could do was look at him. I felt strange but good. He eventually stopped.
As I am brown-skinned, the bruises in my face showed, so when mummy asked what happened I told her about the fight as well as how and where the man touched me. She called me a liar.
The next day she told him what I had said and he too called me a liar and declared that he no longer wanted to deal with me, so she should not let me return to the camp.
It was only years later after that man had died that I heard how he used to trouble little boys. So many of the supposed Christian people at that church knew of his proclivities but said nothing. I wonder how many boys he molested in that room before and after me.
That was why I was so impressed with that question on homosexuality aimed at getting Christians to discuss why this sin seems such a big deal when daily in our churches unmarried members of congregations are having illicit affairs with married congregants and breaking up families, but little is said about that.