Your Heaven is My Hell

Dear Christian,

Hello again. Today we meet on the other side of a door that, until this week, had been left unopened: nationwide marriage equality. This was a historic, monumental day and it is a day that many in the LGBTQ+ community never imagined would come true, in large part, friend, because of you. You have put so much effort—so many arguments, so many articles filled with biased polls and inaccurate information, so many prayers, so many days petitioning or voting against us—in keeping us from gaining as many rights as you possibly could. You’ve done very well, and had many successes. But this year, dear friend, the tides have turned. Marriage equality is nationwide (notice that I call it marriage equality and not “gay marriage”), the President has formally spoken against reparative therapy, the general public is being educated on trans* rights and issues. We have a long way left to go, but we have come far.

This makes you sad. Or mad. Or, as many of you have put it, “heartbroken.” You take a public Facebook stand, proclaiming “I believe the Bible’s definition of marriage, which is one man and one woman,” you send messages loaded with Bible verses encouraging acquaintances to repent, you rally a group of friends and march in or picket a Pride Parade to tell the participants they are going to hell. You call trans people confused, you call us sinners. “But don’t worry!” you say, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!” There is still time, you imply.

Chicago Pride Parade

Here’s the thing, Christian, that I’ve been saying in my head for years. Here’s the thing that I wish you knew when trying to sell me on eternity spent with you. Your heaven is my hell. A place that shames and excludes, a place filled with those who proudly stand against my own and my friends’ rights, a place where no one may think for themselves or love who they love or be who they are? That is not a place for me. Everyone agrees that Westboro Baptist Church takes their messages too far, but you, friend, are preaching the same message, and it is not a message of love. It’s not a message that makes me want to draw closer, I want to push farther. You have tried to deny me my rights, and are still calling for it. You have stopped speaking to my wife and I upon our coming out. You have refused to be a part of our lives because you disagree with our “lifestyle.” You toss Bible verses our way when we have not asked for your interpretation of your Scripture. The murder of 9 transwomen this year alone is on your hands because you publicly state that they are confused. The countless LGBTQ+ youth who are thrown out of their homes, cannot access needed services, and attempt or complete suicide because they are told, directly or by this hate-infested culture, that they are leading perverse, sinful lives is on you. Do you see how hurtful religion is to the LGBT community? We have been shot down and shut out as a community for decades. Come on, friend, you’re killing us.

A comic depicting Georgia’s new Religious Freedom Law

You have made this life hell for people, so excuse me if I pass on an invitation to your heaven. If it is more of the same, I’d like to avoid it at all costs.

The thing is, I know all of the verses. I know your intention: you’re trying to save me from eternal damnation, which is in some ways really sweet and caring, but also forceful, unsolicited, and generally pretty ignorant. A blog on Herman Cain’s website explained why Christians’ nonacceptance of marriage equality should be seen as loving, and I have to say: I know it already. I went to a Christian college and—believe it or not—studied the six verses damning me to hell long and hard, and I’m still happily here with my wife. I’m tired of having long, circular discussions: everyone knows where I stand, and I can pretty much tell where you stand without you having to spell it out for me.

I’m not trying to win a spitting contest. I just want me and my community to be recognized as whole people who aren’t wearing “ask me if I know about your Savior” signs. We are people who deserve love, safety under the law, and peace, just as everyone deserves.

[Also, gay heaven has ice cream.]

Unbelievers—Vampire Weekend

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8 thoughts on “Your Heaven is My Hell

  1. I am a Christian, and your charges are completely justified. It hurts me that even now lives are being lost. I left a bible church to join a gay friendly church to better support equality. Still church institutions are slow to change. We need more dialogs and I really appreciate your honest fact based writing.

  2. Augury Harbinger says:

    The thing with marriage is that only those put together by God are legit. Tomorrow, my wife and I celebrate 28 years and we are still in love. But when we met first, the Lord told us to marry. It is no typical crush or attraction situation. I really think that the majority of Christian hetero marriages are based on what man wanted. Are these legitimate before God? One has to marry within His specific will so as to ensure the calling and purpose of one spouse won’t sabotage that of the other.

      1. Augury Harbinger says:

        It explains what marriage is in God’s eyes. Few people ever marry because HE puts them together. But that id HIS requirement, making every other marriage illegitimate in HIS book.

        Read my page Creation is an Act of Love. Unless you first understand your purpose, your reason for being, you simply cannot fully understand marriage.

        God is about purpose. You are no freak accident nor is your life intended as a random event.

      2. I understand that you were talking about marriage in God’s eyes, I just don’t know what that had to do with my blog about Christians’ systematic rejection and isolation of LGBTQ people.

      3. Augury Harbinger says:

        It is to educate the ghost readers on your blog that there is a perspective quite different to the current heated debate over in the USA. In my city, some very traditional churches are quite accommodating and there also is an “open” mosque! ( Until ISIL gets its address…)

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