I‘ve had difficulty in writing this blog, this week, because everything I try to write is too heavily coloured with anger, my anger. Two weeks ago I blogged about the Churches’ attempt to be exempted from the Equality Bill (http://drewpayne.blogspot.com/2010/01/true-meaning-of-christian-equality.html). Well they got their way, they can refuse to employ someone just because they’re gay, and the Government will not push them to comply. I am so angry, again the Christian Church is clinging to their homophobia and ignoring the reality of human rights.
Some may say I’m obsessed, I certainly write a lot about Christian Homophobia, and that I should just let it go. I am no longer the member of a church, anymore. Maybe they’re right, maybe I should? But my past haunts me too much.
When I was a teenager I tried very hard to be an Evangelical Christian but ultimately I failed because I could never succeed. I’m gay and for far too many Evangelical Christians there’s nothing I could to be a Christian unless I did the impossible, changed my sexuality. I tried to do that but couldn’t (http://drewpayne.blogspot.com/2007/12/based-on-true-story.html).
I suffered at the hands of the other members of the church I attended, people who said they were my friends and that everything they did was “in love.” The worst was, at nineteen, I had daemons cast of me just for being gay (not even for having a “gay lifestyle” because I was still a virgin then).
It happened at the meeting at the church’s Young People’s Fellowship, on a cold, winter Sunday evening. Suddenly the prayer session turned into an exorcism, with me at the centre of it. I was stood there while everyone else gathered around me, my head bowed forward, as they all pressed their hands down onto me and called on God to remove the “daemons” inside of me that were making me gay (!!). My most abiding memory of that evening was the pattern on the carpet, because that’s all I stared at as their prayers went on and on. It was after it had all finished that I was hit by a wall of depression and pain. I felt so deeply betrayed, those people had seemed to turn on me so completely. I wasn’t evil or corrupt, there was no screaming daemon clinging to my soul, nor was the devil on back with his talons in my neck. I was just different, no more.
Shortly after this I found myself being treated like a leper just for being gay. Everyone turned against me, I was pushed out of all my involvement at church, no longer was I wanted around, and I lost all my friends there, just because I was gay. I had not even taken the first steps to accepting my sexuality and suddenly I had a huge door slammed in my face, Christianity didn’t want me.
All this happened in a suburban, Liverpool, Anglican parish church. This didn’t happen at an extreme fringe church, or a Pentecostal church with a name that fills the side of the building. This happened in church that was part of the official church of my country, the same church that has disgracefully wormed out of the Equality Bill.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, only yesterday, called on the Church's general synod not to use "megaphone tones" when talking about sexuality, to give consideration to the views of other Christians (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8506617.stm). I am not holding my breath to see what happens, the church’s leadership seems obsessed with their own brand of homophobia.
know there are good and open people who are Christians, I know many of them, but it’s the Leadership of the church I have no faith in. It is them who seem desperate to hold onto their homophobia, just as our country finally moves away from it.