It Is About Religion, But Not In The Way You Think

It Is About Religion, But Not In The Way You Think June 15, 2016
(c) John C O'Keefe - use as you desire
(c) John C O’Keefe – use as you desire

In The Naked Jesus I process the idea of what many call “being born again.” Without getting into great detail, I see being born again as finding the you the Divine created before the world heaped a butt-load of crap on you. The thought that any religion, or community, telling you that you’re worthless, and you can never truly be loved because of who you love, is contrary to what I believe the Divine made you to be. In denying who you are, religions have been telling people of the LGBTQ community that they are evil, wrong, misguided, sinful, and so much more. Think of it this way, you’re born gay and your church, your community, and the world around you, keeps telling you you’re worthless, you either reject what they say [which is very healthy], or you accept what they say [which is not healthy at all]. It is when people reject who they are, hide so they can conform, where a great deal of problems come to light. As I read more and more about the Orlando shooter, I am starting to think he spent his life hiding who he was, and internalized that anger into something evil.

As more, and more, information coming to light concerning the shooter I’ve been trying to process the events of that evening in my mind, and my spirit. My mind wants to take me in one direction, while my spirit wants me to go in a very different direction; when I listen to my mind, I find myself in a place that’s uncomfortable, I think I’ll go with what my spirit is telling me.

Here are somethings I have been processing in my spirit:
We know the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS the day of the shooting via a 911 call
We also know he visited the nightclub on many occasions, and some even saw him as a regular
We also know he had profiles on gay dating sites
We know, from his father, he saw two men kissing in public and it set him off.

Many claim his homophobia, and allegiance to ISIS caused the shooting, and they would be right – but not in the way many seem to think. I think it was his hidden-homosexuality, and his desire to fit in with his chosen faith that cause some internal fraction with his spirit. I want to add at this point, I’m in no way justifying his actions – what he did was pure evil. But let me see if I can connect the dots, as my spirit tells me – and I hope this makes sense.

One of the central points of the Divine, through Christ, is that we are to “Love each other, as you love yourself.” It’s in that, in loving himself, where I find the disconnect. Not loving yourself places many in a very hard spot, they desire to be active in their faith, but their faith tells them being who they are violates the core of the faith. It’s in that, people deny who they are, hide who they are, and become self-loathing. When this happens, people hate themselves, so they hate others.  If your faith is teaching “God hates homosexuals” and you’re gay, how do you process loving yourself? How can you process a loving Divine nature? If we recognize that the shooter could’ve been striving hard to be a “good Muslim” while struggling to find his sexuality we find a natural conflict between loving himself, and, in turn, loving others. In the reality of the Divine, there is no way he could’ve loved others, because he was unable [because of his religious upbringing] to love himself. His faith told him to hate homosexuals; in that, he naturally hated himself. So, if he was homosexual he had to hate himself, deny himself so he could be a “good follower” of his chosen faith.

So, what does all the mean? For me, it means that we need to encourage all people to love and accept the person the Divine made them to be – When I listen to hate filled speech from religious leaders [all religions – and I’ll not share their names, others are doing that and I refuse to give them a platform on TNJ] I have to wonder if they are teaching people to hate themselves, while telling them to love others? There is no possible way we could every love other, if we are unable to love ourselves.

Being “born again” is embracing the you the Divine created, and it does no matter your sexuality. If you’re struggling with your sexuality, and are hearing religious leaders telling you, you’re evil, wrong, a sinner, and worthless – ignore them. Know this, there are Communities of Faith who will love you, for you – accept you as the Divine made you – and encourage you in your struggle to find the you the Divine created, and not the you they think you should be. Any religion that teaches you to hate who you are, is wrong; be you, love you, it makes it easier to love others.

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