Recent years have seen a turn of the tide for acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. For Keontae Davis, 21, the road traveled of a gay black male hasn’t been the strife engulfed war zone it is sometimes made out to be.
“I haven’t had no problems with people,” said the Old Dominion University pre-med student. “Most people knew I was gay. They just were waiting for me to confirm it.”
The stigma that once blanketed alternative lifestyles has gradually died down, it seems, everywhere, except the church.
There, it where it remains still an unspoken secret, a politically barred topic of discussion that most have opinion about, but few will speak of.
It is here, in the supposed sanctity of spirituality, that Davis notes his biggest challenge.
“No one even knew I was gay,” he said. To the question of whether or not he believes he would have been accepted if they had, he replied with a firm, “No.”
The Secret Secret
The silence about sexual preference in church is deafening.
In response to the question, where in the bible does it state that homosexuality is wrong, church officials declined to remit any response.
Though he grew up in regular church attendance, Davis wasn’t sure such a verse existed.
“I haven’t seen it in the bible where it says two men can’t be together.” he said. “But if you throw bible scripture at me, I’m going to throw it right back at you, and in the bible scripture it say, ‘Judge not ore ye shall be judged.”
In fact, a verse possibly aimed at sexual preference does exist. It took only a response post to render this verse and an explanation of it via Facebook discussion board.
A few click of the keys later, Bible Gateway, a website offered by one minister as an alternative to his statement, substantiated that such a verse exists in context with others that relate to other sexual preferences, including bestiality, adultery and incest.
Leviticus 18:22, a concise one-sentence explanation of what appears to refer to homosexuality. Though its true implications are debated given the context of Pagan time, it is the verse around which religious dissent originates.
Why then the silence from churches? What does a clergyman tell a homosexual parishioner who asks about his fate in the afterlife?
One observer weighed in that the church has become publicly political.
“They would dance around it,” she said. “They say they accept everyone, but, in their minds, that means that they accept you in to change you, not accept you. They just won’t say that out loud. Politics.”
The Absence of Religious Voice
In Act IV, scene 3 of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, antagonist Brutus provides the following advice to his right hand Cassius, who is considering drawing back from a brutal and continuing civil war:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.”
It seems a fitting speech for the church now as references to “the end of days” are made to explain monstrosities that occur.
Time is of the essence. Waiting until a later, more comfortable date, when the time for change is now, results not in victory, but mediocrity, in secrecy, in pain.
“In the wake of calamity, laymen look to faith to answer the unanswerable with the expectation that faith operates outside of worldly walls, and in spite of worldly acceptances,” said the observer. “In the absence of that voice to tell them which way to go, how can they expect anyone to know how to walk with God?”
In the wake of diversion by the church on homosexuality, lie the remnants of original thought amongst its flock, who are not as silent as their leaders.
Though the non-denominational church he now attends is welcoming, he noted, “Some make side jokes and comments about me being gay. ‘Oh, look, the gay person’.”
He added that the whisper behind him used to bother him. “It doesn’t anymore,” he said. “I learned to just not care.”
Despite adversarial reaction by some, Davis’s accepts that opposition with grace, and his spirituality remains in tact.
“Growing up, I was taught God knows things before you do it,” he said. “So he knew I would be gay throughout my whole life. He already knew that.
He’d even like to converse about it because any discussion could foster discussion that leads to change. He and others in the LGBT community will withstand, Davis stated, even in the light of church disapproval.
At least then they can walk out of the proverbial closet and face the opposition.