This is what the man in front of me was asked earlier today as I completed my Saturday routine of turning up my headphones and passing the Jehovah’s Witnesses on Davie St. The man in front of me tossed his hand in the air and kept walking, and my temperature rose rapidly at the question they asked him. Why?
I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, and although have been outside of the “religion” now for just under a decade, I still know the belief system front to back. I still know all these logistics and ideas so vividly, because it has taken me this decade to let go of the judgmental mentality that I found, years later, had nothing to do with me as a person; it was the situation in which I was raised that created those traits. Now, I understand that everyone’s personal experiences shape them into the person they become, religious or not, but research some of the things I had to believe growing up, and then tell me that I don’t have a leg up on most regarding judgmental notions.
One of such judgments was regarding gay people.
Jehovah’s witnesses, like most Christianity based in direct and literal biblical principal, believe that homosexuality is an abomination and look to 1 Corinthians 6 (verses 9-11 specifically) as justification. This places homosexuality (according to this scripture) in the same category as prostitution, idol worshipers, thieves and drunks, all not inheriting “the kingdom of God”. BTW, that’s a bad thing.
I remember growing up and knocking on door’s, preaching the bible, and coming across a homosexual couple when I was with my parents, and my Mother, after an uproar from one of the men, very calmly explained that she didn’t believe they were bad people, she just thought what they were doing was bad. Hate the sin, not the sinner. After a little more asking around and research (without giving myself away at that age), I found out that a man could be homosexual, as was the tragedy with “sin” sometimes, but could never act on it. This meant living out a lonely partnerless life. It was then explained that “everybody has their own challenges”. This came from a straight person who was allowed to have love in their lives. I never quite fully grasped that one.
My temperature rose this morning because these people were in MY community, a community that preaches a belief system of alternative lifestyles. I saw these Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion that I know goes against everything that Davie Village stands for, offering literature to passerby’s, passing a message of intolerance on to my community. I realize that these people are dressed nicely, are clean cut, and aren’t nearly as loud and obviously hateful as Fred Phelps, but they preach the same message. Gay is wrong.
Is this my upbringing, my childhood, and everything that I’ve let go of, bubbling up in me and slanting my opinion of free speech? Or is anyone else inside of, or that have a love of, the GLBT community, have a problem with noticing these people in Davie Village more and more frequently? Is this just an issue that I have to let go of? Or is there something wrong with these seemingly harmless people, preaching their message of intolerance in a tolerant community? There’s actually no day that I have time for God, when God has no time for me and my lifestyle. What about you?
Submitted by: Nic O.
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