I was having one of those "Religion" Vs. "Reason" discussions on line the other day. When, this Frustrated, Sacrosanct "Theist" finally ran out of Rational Defenses for his Superstitious Beliefs, he came up with the following...
"You know what? - The only reason you're an Atheist, is because you're a Gay."
Needless to say, not all gays are Atheists. In fact there's a multitude of Gay Religious Groups, Churches, Synagogues, Temples even Mosques, (on the DL of course) but his statement did get me to thinking.
Even though I was raised in the Catholic Church, Parochial Schools and all, was it easier for me to resist Indoctrination because I was Gay? You see I always knew I was gay from my earliest recollections (about age 3). I always thought boys were cuter and more interesting than girls. Except, of course, when girls were talking about boys, that - I must admit, could be pretty interesting too. I didn't like sports much as a kid, but Barbie's Dream House always fascinated me a bit. Now granted, at age three I didn't know what it was called, but let's just say I knew I was different.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a big Swish or anything. I knew how to "Pass". Growing up in The Bronx, going to Catholic School, and dealing with Nuns, Brothers and Priests everyday, I kind of had to. After all, we all know how Straight the Clergy is. Right? Well at least so I thought at the time.
I not only had to "Pass" as Straight growing up, but I had to "Pass" as a Catholic as well. You know, pretend like I actually Believed all this crap they were teaching me. Trust me, it wasn't always easy. You see, I was a skeptic and a bit of a cynic, pretty much from the start.
Granted, when I was very young I did sort of reluctantly embrace the Jesus Story, but I kind of believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, as well! (although, I still believe in fairies - just not the same kind.) But, When I found out the Truth about the Santa Dude and the Bunny Guy, I just naturally figured the whole Jesus thing was Bullshit too.
I remember in second grade we were preparing for our "First Holy Communion", Sister Mary Whatshername told us we must never, ever bite into the "Host".
(For those of you unfamiliar with Catholic Absurdity, The Host, The Holy Eucharist, is an unleavened wafer that Catholics Believe is the body of Christ. Not that represents the body of Christ, like many other Christians believe, but actually is The Body of Christ. They even have a word for it, it's called the "Transubstantiation". Don't believe me? Look it up on the Vatican Website or any Catholic Encyclopedia for that matter. It's there, it really is!)
Anyway, when Sister told us we must never bite the Host, but rather, let it dissolve slowly in our mouth, and then swallow, I raised my hand and asked, why? Innocent enough question, I thought. I wasn't trying to be a smart ass, really. I was only seven, after-all. Well, She looked at me sternly, with her eyes ablaze and shouted...
"Because It Will Bleed In Your Mouth and You Will Burn In The Fires of Hell For All Eternity. That, Young Man, Is What Happens When You Violate The Body of Christ!" Ah, come on Sister I said, "You don't really believe that, do you?" With that, Sister raced down the aisle to where I was and vigorously slapped me across the face several times. (no easy feat for a 200 lb, 4 ft. 11 in. Nun)
Latter that month, when we made our "First Holy Communion" the first thing I did was Bite into the Host, as Hard as I could. You Know What? No Blood, Not a Drop! So I just kind of Grinned! I grinned as I solemnly walked back to my pew with my hands clasped in prayer. I did just as Sister taught me and just as we had been rehearsing for weeks. And that grin on my face. Believe it or not? No one saw it as sarcasm. In fact, Sister latter commented, "I could tell by the look on your face Edward, that you were finally filled with the Sanctifying Grace of the Holy Spirit". She kissed me on the forehead as she gleefully exclaimed how proud she was. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, but I didn't.
You see, even at the age of seven, I was learning how to "Pass". How to survive, in this spiritually strange, and superstitious alien environment. I was learning how to be what Sister called, "A Perfect Little Angel". I was indeed, the Perfect Little "Straight Boy" and the Perfect Little "Catholic"!
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