For any person of faith I’ve met who has rejected Trumpism and Religious Nationalism, they have experienced some degree of a faith deconstruction and maybe some reconstruction. For me personally, shifting from being a lifetime Texas Republican Christian/Catholic to a “Woke” Catholic Democrat since Trump mocked the disabled reporter was just the beginning. Discovering that I have gay kids and that affirming parents are a matter of life and death have also shifted me theologically and politically in an enormous way. Parts of the conservative white American Church and other fascist-leaning global regions have internally shaken me through my deconstruction process. In addition, I recently became a certified affirming LGBTQIA+ provider and part of MamaBears, a mission to radically love our LGBTQIA+ kids. For those of you who may not know, I am a life-long Church historian by hobby, and I also have some seminary training. I am also an Educational Therapist and write articles about the intersectionalities between Neurodiveristy, the LGBTQIA+ experience, and a life-giving affirming faith, all of which have occurred within a five-year period.
The question is, do I stay Catholic or even still believe in God anymore? Thanks to the progressives in the Catholic Church like the Jesuits who are also interreligious and pro-LGBTQIA+, I think I can not only keep my faith but join them in their justice efforts. This involves leaning hard into Catholic Social Teaching (Social Justice tradition) while honoring sexuality and gender as very personal matters for each individual out of their human dignity, Tenet Two of Catholic Social Teaching.
As I stated in two articles prior, before 313 AD, this was a time of REAL Christian persecution where Christianity was illegal and underground mostly, not the Americanized whining of “Persecution” that we see now. The earliest Christians didn’t discriminate who was worthy of God’s love and care from the Church and who they thought “were not.” They certainly didn’t use their faith to “bulldoze,” and “force others to convert.” They gave to marginalized people unconditionally. They did indeed care for the widows, orphans, the poor, and who Jesus called “The Least of These.” According to several Church historians, such as John Boswell of Yale, the earliest Christians even took care of minority populations like eunics and sexual minorities. They didn’t cast them out and condemn them for “being differently created in God’s image.” Prior to fifth century, the Doctrine of Hell was not formally established. Christians in the pre-Constantine era believed in the Jewish afterlife which included a temporary period of refinement, not an everlasting hell.
Even after this study and being a lifelong Christian/Catholic, I will admit that I sometimes struggle to hold on to any religious beliefs, primarily over the fact that LGBTQIA+ people and even other marginalized groups have been seriously harmed “In the Name of Jesus.” This harm doesn’t pertain to just LGBTQIA+ people but women, racial minorities, the disabled, and other historically marginalized groups. American “Christianity” is not like most regions of the world where the Church has become bedfellows with the Republican party. In most global regions, the Church practices her justice teachings for the Common Good of humanity, another tenet of Catholic Social Teaching.
The only way I can salvage my faith is to be part of the 180 progressive Catholic Social Teaching movement which shows the Real Jesus and the Real global Church of justice and love, not the GOP Jesus and the Republican Church. The GOP Jesus is clearly antithetical to everything a true and loving God stands for.