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Out of the Shadows
was three years ago and I was a freshman at Earlham College, a Quaker liberal
arts college in Richmond, Indiana. Like every other freshman, I had mixed
feelings of excitement about all the new people, clubs, and the independence,
as well as a little apprehension about so much newness and so much unknown.
What I did not know, however, was just how much I would discover that year.
National Coming Out day rolled around, I forget the date, but we all
knew because of the chalking on the sidewalks that the campus' GLBTQ group
had done the night before. You know, catchy phrases like, "2, 4, 6, 8.don't
assume your grandma's straight." The following Friday in the school's
newspaper a conservative Christian student had written a letter to the
editor in which he harshly condemned homosexuality using Leviticus 18:22
as his basis.
Having been raised in a Christian home, and having felt a calling towards
ministry since the eighth grade I was quite aware at the time that his
usage of the Leviticus law was quite ironic since Leviticus also condemns
shaving one's beard, eating shrimp, wearing clothing made of two fabrics,
etc. As I was writing a response, I recognized that the reason I felt
compelled to respond was not simply because he was misusing Scripture
or because I wanted to defend my gay friends, but I realized I was defending
myself. It was in writing that letter that I realized I was gay.
I finished the letter, pointing out his hypocrisy in using Leviticus,
but I knew very well that there were so many other verses in the Bible
used to condemn homosexuals. That week began what turned into three years
of personal Bible study. I wanted to answer the question, "What exactly
does the Bible say about homosexuality?" Nobody knew at this time that
I was gay, and when the next issue of the school paper came out my mom
even asked me on the phone if I was gay, and I remember lying to her.
Through my studies I found numerous resources on both sides, but I didn't
want to jump to a conclusion based on a little 2-page leaflet that "proves"
the Bible doesn't say anything about homosexuality. I wanted whatever
conclusion to be a true conviction. What I discovered through in-depth
Bible study did, nonetheless, begin my personal journey out of the shadows
of self-hate and lies, into the Light of self-acceptance. Never did I
imagine that I would be sitting here writing a letter about my story to
be published in a newspaper. I had come to see that there was no blanket
condemnation of homosexuality, but rather homogeniality was only mentioned
within the context of rape, prostitution, pederasty, etc., all practices
common in biblical times which I too would condemn.
A few months after coming out to my family and some close friends I
wrote a study in which I examined the six verses commonly misinterpreted
to condemn homosexuality. Eventually my Bishop and two others came beside
me to financially support the printing and publication of this study.
I eventually established www.TruthSetsFree.net as a means of sharing my
study with those in need.
Since I launched TruthSetsFree.net I have been interviewed on the Michelangelo
Signorile Radio Show on SIRIUS radio and am arranged to be interviewed
on Canadian gay rights activist Cheri DiNovo's radio show "Radical Reverend"
on May 26th. I have even recruited a media coordinator and fundraising
manager, both of whom are amazing gay Christians!
My study presents the Truth that set me free - not free to do whatever
I want, but free to step out of the shadows of lies and self-hate to a
place where I can truly embrace myself. As I am writing this I am mindful
of the fact that there will be an article about my emerging ministry in
my hometown paper, which serves a very rural area in the thumb of Michigan.
I know, however, that there is nothing to fear, for Truth has brought
my thus far, and what an adventure it has been!
R. Cannon is the 20-year-old founder of TruthSetsFree.net.
Cannon founded TruthSetsFree.net to shed light on how the Bible has been
misinterpreted to condemn homosexuality.
Copyright © by the author
All Rights Reserved
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