By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
My colleague Dan Gilgoff's latest filing is headlined, "Gays Step Up Efforts to Reverse Gay-as-Godless Stereotype."
I guess growing up in "godless" New York City, I, too, labored under the delusion that most gays and lesbians did not believe in god or go to church, as neither did anyone else I grew up with. I had two experiences, however, within the last 10 years ago or so, that made me realize some gays are extremely religious.
In the first, I boarded my horses years ago at a gay rodeo barn. Yes, there is such a thing as gay rodeo and if you were a gay cowboy you would understand why it's needed. Imagine what might happen to an out gay cowboy at a rodeo out West in a small town hundreds of miles away from a big city. While I would hope the answer would be "nothing" one can imagine terrible consequences.
There was a gay couple there who were from Louisiana and very devout Catholics. I asked one of them why he continued to believe in a faith that rejected him so completely, and he said that religion was drilled into him from birth and he couldn't imagine living without it.
The second instance was when I covered the international conference put on by the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay Christian church started decades ago in California. I walked into a huge church auditorium and there were thousands of gays and lesbians singing hymns and crying as they watched a gay pastor deliver a sermon, many of them for the first time. It was an extremely emotional experience.