Discussing religion has always been a bit tricky for me, mostly because an old American saying that has stuck with me: “The quickest way to clear out a room is talk race or religion.”
My parents were from two separate branches of Christianity, my father was a Catholic and my mother was Baptist. (I should add that they both frowned upon Pentacostal theatrics.) This created somewhat of a conundrum for them when it came to what branch I’d be raised in. What they came up with was what I’d call “Commercialist Protestantism” although that wasn’t what they called it.
“Commercialist Protestantism,” is basically “Christmas = Santa Claus and presents” and “Easter = candy and the Easter Bunny,” with a belief in The Golden Rule and that you can always talk to God.
To their credit, they wanted me to establish my own spiritual relationship with the world, although my mother often worried that I was never baptised (oddly enough, Baptist liturgy says that children shouldn’t be baptised as it is a choice one should make on one’s own without pressure).
I mention my religious background because one of things I have encountered a lot as a gay man are other gay men for whom religion was wielded as a weapon of fear and intimidation. It’s something I really cannot comprehend: how can any faith sustain itself when it scares others into such trauma?
Personally, I have no ill will towards any religion, and I believe that there are not necessarily bad belief systems, but rather people who seek to use faith to serve their own biases and selfish ends.
And in case you are wondering if I still subscribe to Commercialist Protestantism? Well, I do…with a bit of a twist: