You’ve just gotten pregnant and your long dormant spirituality has begun to
awaken. Or you have a high-energy three-year-old and you’re starting to think a little
values infusion couldn’t hurt. It’s time to shop for a church, you decide, but you’re gay so you naturally have a healthy dose of cynisicm, skepticism, and other “isms” when it comes to organized religion. What if you land in a Christian cabal of gay haters and they want to exorcise you? What if they decide to brainwash you back to grace, turn you against your partner, find you a suitable opposite sex mate, and help you discover the joys of Adam and Eve in the garden?
One field trip to a church can tell you everything you need to know about the clergy and congregation’s attitudes toward people who are different. So go on a “mission,” observe carefully, and then take the simple screener below to find out if you’ve found a spiritual home for your gay family.
1. When you stand at the back of the church and survey the heads occupying in the rows of head, what you mostly see are:
A) Various shades of blond highlights and lowlights ranging from platinum to
honey blond but nothing darker than that.
B) blond, brown, black, and gray hair; cornrows; church lady hats; shaved heads; and uncombed locks.
2. The sermon you heard touched on one of the following:
A) The godliness of abstinence before marriage; fidelity during marriage;
wifely obedience; the seven deadly sins; the flaming fires of eternal damnation.
B) The pressures of unemployment; finding new doors when old doors close; reaching out to people in need; the hypocrisy of some “Christians.”
3. During the Passing of the Peace, that time during the worship service when Christians reach out and greet one another, the parishioners:
A) always seemed to be turned the other way when you extended your hand.
B) rushed over and pumped your arms as if to say, “You’re safe here. In this
congregation, we don’t really care about that silly, stupid Corinthian’s passage. “
4. At coffee hour your gaydar
A) remained in perpetual sleep mode.
B) Pinged constantly, even when you were being introduced to “straight” married vestrymen.
5. When you asked about the Tuesday night dinners at church they were described as
A) Alcohol-free events (of course) that begin with a group prayer, include rousing conversations about how to whip up congregants anti gay marriage sentiments before key elections without jeopardizing the church’s tax exempt status, and end with a bible study hour.
B) buffet style feasts where the cheap wine flows and people freely admit, “I’m just here to socialize.”
6. As you observed the Sunday School program, children were:
A) learning that they will burn in hell forever if they don’t pray, go to church regularly, and listen to everything their parents tell them.
B) writing advice letters to the Virgin Mary about how to find a hotel room in Bethlehem rather than hole up at an uncomfortable stable.
7. You overheard some parishioners talking about how the church outreach fund is being used to:
A) build a bigger office for the pastor so he can really spread out and be comfortable as he tends to his flock.
B) run a weekly soup kitchen for the homeless.
8. As you were leaving, you noticed a sign in the church lobby announcing the upcoming visit of:
A) Nigerian ministers who want your church to break away and join their communion.
B) Muslim refugees who need a place the learn English.
If you answered A to any of these questions, keep looking.
© 2009 by Carrie Smith. All rights reserved.