by Connie Torrisi
Long before I understood the meaning of such terms as freethinker, agnostic or atheist, I knew I could not buy into the concept of religion. I was only thirteen when I intellectually separated myself from the Catholic Church and its mumbo-jumbo dogma.
I hated parochial school with its emphasis on religion and the supernatural. Pointed questions about religious teachings were waved off with non-explanatory responses such as “God works in mysterious ways.”
I resented the Church’s attitude regarding girls and women. Emphasis was placed on what was assumed to be God’s plan: girls were to grow up to be mothers and housewives. Boys, on the other hand, were destined by God to explore, create and achieve. Long before the women’s liberation movement began, I was outraged by this overt discrimination against females.
Throughout my adult life, I rarely gave religion much thought except when it was involuntarily forced into my consciousness.
One day, after a discussion about the existence or nonexistence of God, a friend and I decided to embark on a quest, of sorts, in an attempt to discover the truth about God and religion. We began our individual quests and occasionally provided each other with brief updates on our progress toward personal enlightenment. About ten months later, – my friend reported that she had completed her quest. Her conclusion was that she was unworthy of salvation and condemned to hell.
“I’m going to hell because I’m gay,” she said woefully. “The bible says so. God hates gays.”
“But you always say that God made you as you are,” I said. “He made you gay.”
“Yes, but, you’re supposed to fight against being gay. You’re not supposed to act on it sexually. If you do, you fail God’s test.”
“Isn’t he stacking the deck by creating you gay in the first place?” I asked.
“I guess so, but God has his reasons.” she replied.
“It doesn’t make sense,” I said.
“It’s not supposed to,” she answered.
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