I’d been raised a Roman Catholic, but when I came out at the age of 17, I assumed that God and I would go our separate ways. After all, the Catholic Church is infamous for its shabby treatment of homosexuals, both in the lack of recognition of gay marriages and discouraging of gay relationships. I felt very modern, having come out at such a young age, and felt confident that I could live a life without religious faith, which I’d come to view as a sort of crutch. I think when a lot of young homosexuals come out, they turn their back on any religious background they may have had. Even a notion of God at all seems stuffy, old fashioned, maybe even trite.
So the reason I’m writing this short article is to remind young people that even though various churches disagree with the practice of homosexuality, this does not mean you need have no faith in a loving God.
When I went away to university some years later I learned a lot of life lessons and had many different experiences, not all of them positive. It was a very emotional and difficult time in my life. Some memories are among the happiest and some are among the worst. But in those powerful moments, both happy and sad, I could feel the presence of a loving force in my heart. It was something that seemed to be beyond me, something that seemed to stretch across the whole universe, putting its power and faith in me, even if I had no faith to put in it. I would savor these little “God moments” and look for them in my day to day life. Even though it was long after I stopped believing in any sort of God, the force seemed to be ever present.
When I came home I was extremely depressed. My father said “I know you think it’s silly, but have you ever thought that God could be a source of comfort?” It was like a light bulb went off in my head.
Today, I am still not what you would call a practicing member of any church or faith. I am still bitter about the hypocrisy and discrimination that goes on in religious organizations. But I believe that the word of Jesus (or the word of Buddha, or Mohammed, or whoever) is for everyone and that no one need be excluded from sacred teachings, either by churches or by their own cynicism. I know that there are times, especially in the lives of young homosexuals, that a terrible sense of loneliness can come over you, a feeling that you have no one to turn to. But if you can feel the presence of God in your life, I promise that you will know that life can be truly wonderful. Whether it comes in the form of a prayer, or the sound of popcorn popping or an old friend’s smile. The miracle of God is that its holy presence can be found in everything, and by everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation.