I first started begging for death at 14 years old. Oddly, the same thing that led me down the path to pleading for death was the very thing that saved my life – religion. I knew what was considered a “sin” by the church (which in my family amounted to anything other than being miserable): no shorts for men, no haircuts for women, no playing cards, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no sex until marriage, no jewelry other than a wedding ring, no cussing, no taking of one’s own life (or the lives of others) and don’t forget to say your prayers. It seemed there were so many things I wasn’t allowed to do without being damned for all eternity. But there was one thing no one told me – homosexuality is a sin. This oversight was likely due to the fact that sex was never mentioned in church or otherwise.
Marlin used to be a Church of Christ pulpit minister. Now, he’s an out and proud gay man. He left the pulpit, in effect, to “come out” of the closet he had been hiding in for 42 years. Marlin and I discussed the coming out process, he’s preaching about homosexuality, the effect of his coming out on his faith, conversion therapy/left handedness and religious arguments against homosexuality.
As a gay man and an atheist I find the above very disturbing. Although I’m well aware that my “religion,” unlike my sexual orientation, is a belief with no foundation in fact, I still feel as though pretending to pray would be as vile as pretending to be heterosexual and it would likely invoke the same nausea.