IS GAY SPIRITUALITY REALLY MASOCHISM by Don Sanders Reproduced from the June 1989 issue of

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*************************************************************** IS GAY SPIRITUALITY REALLY MASOCHISM? by Don Sanders Reproduced from the June 1989 issue of the American Atheist Magazine. *************************************************************** Born in Waco, Texas, to Southern Baptist parents, Don Sanders was a Bible school dropout as a very young child. He studied speech and sociology at Baylor University and the University of Houston. Mr. Sanders founded Dial-A-Gay-Atheist in Houston, Texas, in 1980 and still moderates it. Mr. Sanders was a litigant in a 1982 ACLU case against the Texas Department of Corrections to compel it to allow inmates to receive Gay/Lesbian and Atheist materials while in prison. With Dominic Florio of New York, he founded American Gay Atheists in 1983. He still serves as the national director of that organization. ******* Christianity's record of intolerance toward homosexuals is unprecedented in all of history. The Christian church's sustained anti-gay campaign is the bloodiest and most violent and exhibits the most virulent hatred of any ever waged against us. Of all the world's religions, Christianity has been the worst for forcibly trying to convert others to its faith. Even its closest rival in intolerance, Islam, has not carried out as many religious wars and pogroms as has Christianity. Under Christianity, homosexuals have been the most persecuted of all minorities for almost 2,000 years. It is with amazement that I look upon gays who, today, seek accommodation within the parameters of its various institutions. Is it at all logical for us to expect the church to say it has been wrong all along? To admit to such an error would be to undermine the very authority by which it holds millions of followers in thrall. The phenomenon of gay people trying to accommodate themselves to Christianity can be likened to trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Gay spirituality as advocated by the gay church takes a different tack in attempting to make the square holes become round by smoothing the jagged edges of the clearly anti-gay, anti-life, erotophobic Christian Scriptures. Those gay ministers who explain away the blatant atrocities committed upon gay people in the name of Christianity as "misrepresentation'' of the Scriptures are not only doing a great disservice to thousands of gay Christians, but also they are committing the single most heinous moral atrocity ever perpetrated upon gay people. Gay churches, such as the Metropolitan Community Church established by Troy Perry, are teaching complacency instead of activism. Their leaders claim that those who deny us equal treatment under the law are only "misguided" and will see the error of their ways AFTER THEY DIE. How insane! From six feet under, no one has ever done anything to improve the human condition. Instead of teaching that life is for living and for trying to improve the here and now, the gay church teaches that there is something better in the great beyond. Such teaching encourages masochism, since it not only invites complacency but also encourages emotional gratification based upon the humiliating denial of one's true and natural inclinations. Those gay Christians who claim that the mythical Jesus died to "save" them (no one has ever died on behalf of anyone) are saying nothing more than that their love-filled savior will permit them to rot in the torments of the Christian hell for all eternity if they do not "accept" him. This concept goes beyond evil; it is disgusting. THE "UNCLE TOMS" AMONG US Gay churches hide the truth that Christianity is the underlying force which, to this day, makes gay men and women second-class citizens. Smoothing over the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, gay ministers have become the "Uncle Toms" of the gay culture by helping to perpetuate a system of attitudes, practices, rituals, and beliefs that has bound mankind for centuries. Instead of being on their feet, thousands of gays are on their knees groveling before a make-believe god, begging for a heavenly solution to our earthly problems. By channeling our yearnings into prayers, we are simply appeasing our selfish emotional needs, rather than directing our thoughts into programs of education and research. Praying is a selfish exercise which does nothing more than agitate the molecules of the atmosphere around us. The flow of subsidies that are needed to go into research and education are instead going to the self-appointed apostles of gay religion. The Christian religion is the epitome of masochism: virulently erotophobic, it is at the same time totally preoccupied with sexual activity. And this obsessive preoccupation goes all the way back to the Christian concept of "original sin." The fable of Adam and Eve not only is an affront to the dignity of all females, since Eve was more or less an afterthought of a patriarchal god who created her as a "helpmate" to Adam, but also is an insult to every gay person. Adam and Eve did not even realize they had sex organs until they ate the forbidden fruit, after which they scurried about for fig leaves to cover their genitals. I am not sure why god would bother to attach sex organs to Adam and Eve if they were never supposed to use them, but, of course, sexual strictures have been used by the Christian religion throughout its history in order to control its communicants. The gay church continues this barbaric practice. Marriage -- or, as the gay church likes to call it, "holy union" -- is one of those ancient control mechanisms which the modern gay church continues to endorse. Marriage is nothing more than a state-sanctioned, church-sanctioned license to fornicate, and licensing is a wonderfully simple yet extremely effective means of exercising control. What two (or more) adults do in the privacy of their bedroom should not be the business of the state, of the church, of parents, or of the community. By sanctioning "holy unions," the gay church is perpetuating the ancient control mechanisms of the Christian church. Freedom of association, without the intrusion of licensing, is essential to the dignity of the human species. There is no greater reminder than sex that human beings are part of the natural order of the animal kingdom, a concept which is anathema to Christian dogma. Consequently, practically every "sin" in the Christian Bible has to do with sex. Christianity teaches that humans are a "special creation," set apart from -- and above -- all other species by an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god. Unlicensed sex brings us down to the animal level. This perverse notion has led to an utter disregard not only for the environment in which we live but for the lives of other animal species and for the lives of non-Christian humans as well. The Inquisition, in which millions of homosexuals and suspected homosexuals were tortured and killed, makes perfect sense in light of this doctrine. Those in the gay community today who claim that the Bible's "apparently" anti-homosexual Scriptures have been "misinterpreted" give little comfort to the millions who were tortured and killed during the Inquisition and to those who, centuries later, were gassed, shot to death, or starved to death by Adolf Hitler, a devout Roman Catholic. It is astounding that so many gay people still support a creed which has destroyed millions of their brothers and sisters throughout the ages. THE VATICAN'S CRUSADE AGAINST GAYS I cannot conclude my critique of gay spirituality without mentioning the Roman Catholic church and its homophobic leader, Karol Wojtyla, alias Pope John Paul II. It was on October 31, 1986, that the Vatican released its now famous letter about homosexuality, calling homosexual acts an "intrinsic moral evil." Wojtyla's letter to his American bishops went on to say that although violence against gays is deplorable, it is "understandable" that "irrational and violent reactions" are inevitable as long as gays continue to demand and work for equal rights protection. What is even more "deplorable" is that most of this country's gay religious leaders have chosen to remain silent on the Vatican's blatant assault upon our community. Given the estimates that between 30 and 60 percent of the Roman Catholic church's priests and nuns are themselves homosexual, it is disheartening that there has not been a major divorce between the clergy and the church. Yet, given the pervasive doctrine of masochism which the church instills in its followers and leaders, could we reasonably have expected the American bishops or the lowly priests and nuns to stand up against Rome's conservative policies? During the fall of 1987, the pope visited the United States. To be sure, the purpose of his sojourn was not simply to bestow upon us a neighborly call. His trips always have had an underlying social and/or political motive. On his last visit to the United States, he flatly told women that there was no place for them in the priesthood (it is baffling that any woman would ever seek such a position) and that their purpose was to remain breeders and servants to men. On his visit to Nicaragua, he openly called for the church and the people to rebel against the government. Let us not forget that he has been meddling in the affairs of his native Poland, causing all kinds of civil and political unrest. After the recent Vatican Letter on Homosexuality and his 1987 visit, it is evident that the pope used this trip to the United States to further instill his bitter hatred for homosexuals. At the time of his visit, American Gay Atheists encouraged every gay man and woman in this country to send Karol Wojtyla, the medievalist troublemaker, a thirty-three-cent postcard urging him to stay home. Some of AGA's members staged rallies and demonstrations in the various cities and localities where he visited. It is appallingly naive for gay people to expect tidings of great joy from the man who is their greatest living enemy. It is even more appalling that thousands are wasting their time and energy seeking acceptance into an institution which has been the greatest oppressor of humankind in recorded history. Not only is Christianity's bloody record of intolerance being continued by the likes of Karol Wojtyla, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, and Jimmy Swaggart, but all the openly gay and closeted gay ministers -- the leaders of "fag fanaticism" -- are just as guilty. The only difference between Jerry Falwell and, say, Troy Perry is that Perry preaches that the Christian Scriptures have been "misinterpreted" regarding the intolerance of gays, while the underlying message is the same -- supplicate. The incongruities of upholding a religion which has been our number one oppressor throughout the ages are incomprehensible. It is logical, therefore, to compare a gay Christian to a Jewish Nazi or a Black Klansman. Whereas religion encourages retreat into blind obedience to a particular doctrine or faith, Atheism encourages freedom of thought and inquiry. To be an Atheist is to have a clearer perspective upon life, since Atheists are free from all theological doctrines and superstitions. While some gays may consider themselves Christians and uphold the very doctrine which has enslaved us for centuries, I am proud to call myself an Atheist, one who is mentally free from theism and superstitious nonsense. Only by exercising one's right to question and to think can one ever be free. AGA AND AMERICAN ATHEISTS American Gay Atheists is very proud to associate itself with the world's most progressive Atheist organization, American Atheists. Members of the board of directors of American Gay Atheists are all, each and every one, full-fledged members of American Atheists. Membership in American Atheists is a pre-requisite in order to hold a position on the board of American Gay Atheists. In fact, even each and every member of AGA is encouraged to obtain an American Atheist membership, for we realize that in order for gays and lesbians to attain equality of civil rights, all so-called sodomy laws must be ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that such laws are violative of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. American Atheists is the only organization in the United States which readily recognizes this simple but vital fact, and is willing to fight for repeal of sodomy laws on these grounds. American Atheists is also the only Atheist organization which does not cloak itself behind "respectable" and disguised terms for Atheism. Being out of the closet Atheists is our first step in overcoming the centuries of oppression meted out by the Christian church. There is no excuse any longer for us Atheists to fear reprisal from churches, parents, spouses, friends, or even society. Our principles and ideals are rooted in reason and science, which are completely based upon the laws of nature, whereas religious notions are based upon illogic and superstition. American Gay Atheists aggressively fights for Atheism everyday. By upholding the principles of Atheism, we are thereby supporting the right of every human being, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, age, physical condition, race, or creed, to enjoy equality of access to basic civil rights, to which we are entitled by right of birth. For a freedom-rousing commentary, call Dial-A-Gay-Atheist twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is (713) 880-4242. If you are not prepared for a genuine, from-the-gut, Atheist, non-censorious message, it is not advised that you call. Otherwise, do not miss out! AGA's mailing address is: P. O. Box 66711, Houston, Texas 77266-6711. All donations are tax-deductible. Why not join us and help us fight "the good fight," that for freedom of the mind. Each of us has only one life through which we can make a difference. Why not actively and financially support both American Atheists and American Gay Atheists? Atheism is humankind's only real hope for a future. So why delay sending a check to help us out today, so that we can continue our work for the betterment of the human condition tomorrow? *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: * * PO Box 140195 FTP: * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: * * Info on American Atheists:, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************


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