Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
God Told Me To Hate You:
An Evangelical Minister's Escape From the Clerical Closet
by Tom Muzzio
About the Book
This book is a memoir, an expose, and a journey … but an indictment as well. Millions of people around the world have a secret. It is basically the same despite gender or nationality tribe or tongue. It is a scientific fact that about a tenth of the world's male population are born "different." About the same percentage of those born left-handed, millions are simply born "sexually left handed." Some adapt easily and well, others struggle. Multitudes are not allowed to adapt. They have to hide, conceal and pretend. This is the story of one of those who learned to pretend.
The primary reason that homosexual men (and women) are forced to subordinate their inborn natures and sexualities is due to one thing overwhelmingly: Religion. It is often said of Catholic boys who have no interest in "girls" … that they marry the church. Protestant youths and young adults suffer no such co-erosion. Instead, they are required to marry, produce copies of themselves, and live exemplary lives that enshrine true American Christian Values. This is Tom's story, now over fifty years in the making.
"I guess I was lucky in one way. I was not a biological Christian (one born into a Fundamentalist family), but a convert. After fifteen years in the movement, as it grew into a hideous political movement and an extension of the Republican Party, I had to bail. Most bio-Christians simply have no other place to go. They have no other options. But I did. I made my way into the gay world, the gay universe, and was welcomed. I poured all my evangelistic zeal that I learned from the church into a more worthy and "real" endeavor, gay activism."
About the Author
Rev. Tom Muzzio served as an ordained evangelical minister and missionary for fifteen years in Europe and Asia. Born into a post-WWII modernist home, he converted to fundamentalist Christianity in college at the very beginning of the "Jesus Movement" (1968-1978). His spiritual journey continued as a U.S. Army photographer in Vietnam and as a "spook" for the NSA in Europe thereafter. But his growing commitment to Christ led him to pursue a career in the ministry.
He worked with numerous well-known evangelical groups during his years as an ordained minister with Teen Challenge in Europe and the Far East, and with the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the opening years of resumed missionary outreach in China. But he had a secret. He was gay.
"I just figured that was my thorn in the flesh," he recalls. But the evangelical world began changing in the 1980s. It became increasingly political – and anti-gay. "I heard the most horrible things coming out of the mouths of my Christian friends and co-workers," he states. "They were just dripping with hate and a creepy sort of ugliness that I never had associated with Jesus-people before. They simply had no idea that I was listening to their every word … being hurt and crushed by all of it."
In 1985, he resigned his ministerial credentials and began a life as a gay rights activist. His story is that of struggle against the dark political realm into which the born again world was slipping, and the efforts of true Christian friends who stood by him as he lost countless friends during the AIDS epidemic. "Like true good Samaritans, so many Christians did, in fact, overcome the political toxicity of their own denominations, to rise above the globalization of the media driven. Some Christians did, in fact, actually act like Jesus of the Bible. But not many.