Chu worries that gay people like Mr. Byers have been “pushed out of the church.” That’s not true for all of us. My father was a Catholic deacon, my mother was a lay minister and I thought about becoming a priest. I was in church every Sunday for the first 15 years of my life. Now I spend my Sundays on my bike, on my snowboard or on my husband. I haven’t spent my post-Catholic decades in a sulk, wishing the church would come around on the issue of homosexuality so that I could start attending Mass again. I didn’t abandon my faith. I saw through it. The conflict between my faith and my sexuality set that process in motion, but the conclusions I reached at the end of that process — there are no gods, religion is man-made, faith can be a force for good or evil — improved my life. I’m grateful that my sexuality prompted me to think critically about faith. Pushed out? No. I walked out.
I loved this. The first area of my faith I dissented against was homosexuality. I’ve written about how I have LGBTQ people close to me in my life (here, here, and here), and I saw first hand how the homophobic positions of Catholicism (and other conservative forms of Christianity) negatively impacted their lives. It got to a point that I couldn’t in good conscience agree with my church’s approach to LGBTQ people. A couple years later, I realized that my church’s teachings on premarital sex and contraception had very real and very negative effects on my and my friends’ lives. So, I discarded those teachings as well.
Now, I didn’t stop believing in the Christian concept of god because I wanted to have sex or wanted my friends to stop being judged because they had non-heterosexual-marital sex. I have been accused of this by some of my former coreligionists. For one, it’s not true – I don’t want to go around hooking up with a bunch of women. For another, there are many practicing Christians, both individuals and churches, that don’t adhere to conservative sexual ethics. So, even if it was about me being able to have all the sex imaginable (which isn’t the case), I don’t have to give up Christianity or god to do so.
I left my faith because I ceased to believe in god (something I’ve discussed before). The role that sexual morality played in that was getting me to think critically about my faith. When I realized what a bunch of controlling bullshit conservative sexual morality is, I realized that my church could be fallible, that an element of Christianity that’s been prevalent throughout its history could be wrong. It opened the floodgates, and then I started questioning the fallibility of the church, the bible, and eventually god himself. So, like Dan Savage, I didn’t feel isolated from the church because of sex, sex helped me see through the crap and free myself from it.