There have been many difficult things I’ve had to go through in life, but watching someone who began identifying themselves as a gay individual long ago, someone who just so also happens to be my best friend in the world, come to the decision that homosexuality is a sin, was not one of them.
Writing about this isn’t easy because I have somewhat unstable feelings and emotions surrounding it, not just because it primarily deals with my best friend, but also because it deals with religion overall, chiefly the Christian religion, something that’s always been a loaded topic for me. Thankfully, I did receive the blessing from my best friend before writing this, as he knows how much my writing helps me to work through my spiritual struggles in life.
This story begins with me being born and raised a Christian, which for the longest time I was proud to consider myself one. I was also born gay, as I discovered through many complex forms of therapy I did over the years where I remembered that even in my very early single digit years I was attracted to the same sex, which to this day is still true having never found any sexual attraction to a woman whatsoever.
Nevertheless, this spiritual journey in life to figure myself out took me through intense studying of the Bible, participating in numerous Bible study classes, and even becoming a Deacon at one point. Along the way, I began to see how Christians, and people from many other religions as well, used what they saw in black and white in the Bible, and any other spiritual books they followed, against gay individuals just like me. And the more I did, the more I became disgruntled with religion in general. Eventually, I steered clear of religion altogether because of it, that is until I decided that maybe God was bigger than all those religions and that maybe all their books weren’t necessarily the “absolute” truth of God either. I mean after all, how could each of those religions say their Book was the “absolute” truth of God anyway? In light of all that, I no longer label myself as being from any spiritual background, other than being a spiritual type of guy who seeks God and does his best to use the main principle of Christ (i.e. loving each other unconditionally). Unfortunately, this is where my best friend and I began to clash.
It started about seven months ago or so, after an excessive string of promiscuity had come to an end and a period of celibacy had begun for my best friend. It was then he decided what he had been told from many Christians over the years and what he had always read in the Bible was actually true, that homosexuality was indeed a sin and not approved by God. Believe me, when he first told me this, I was utterly shocked. For being the guy who helped me come out of the closest, the guy who helped me find God and the love of Christ, the guy who led me into my life of recovery from addiction, and the guy who agreed with me for over two decades that those passages in the Bible that denounced homosexuality had to be wrong somehow, it was like receiving a huge slap in the face that stung so hard it left a permanent mark.
But, being who I am these days, I believe it’s ultimately important to live and let live, to accept others for where they are on their spiritual journey, and to just love unconditionally, so I opted to accept his new path as best as I could. That was going just fine until I told him that my partner Chris and I were planning on getting married next year and that I looked forward to him being my best man. We had always talked about us being that for each other if we ever got married. Sadly, it was at that precise moment that he shook his head and said he wasn’t sure if he’d even be able to attend my wedding now, because it went against his new religious beliefs. Immediately, the image of that baker in Indiana who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple came to mind, except in this case, the baker was actually my closest friend in the world.
So, as you could imagine, I was shocked and honestly, I still am. All of those years and all of those rejections I received from pastors, churches, friends, family, and plenty of strangers too, solely because of my sexuality, never once did I EVER imagine that one day, a form of it would come from my best friend. What’s even harder about this is how the last time I had been planning a marriage with someone I thought I was going to spend my life with, my Mom did the very same thing by telling me she wouldn’t attend my wedding either. Things were never the same after that with her or with that partner. With that being said, the dilemma I face now is whether I want to get married at all. If I get married, there’s a strong likelihood that a 22-year friendship could come to an end, and if I don’t, there’s a strong chance that my relationship with Chris may suffer irreparable damage. I feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t and my deepest truth is that I really don’t know what to do now.
What I do know is that I love my partner with all my heart, mind, and soul, and remain monogamously dedicated to him. I so wish that all religious people could see that there is a beautiful God-based love even in a same-sex monogamous relationship like Chris and I have. But sadly, a relationship like ours is still detestable in their eyes and, in their opinion, in God’s as well.
But if God and Christ are nothing but unconditional love as I’m often told, then why wouldn’t God support the unconditional love my partner and I have for each other and our desire to enter into marriage? And wouldn’t my best friend coming to our ceremony be part of demonstrating that? These are the questions I continue to wrestle with over and over again as I try to put myself in my best friend’s shoes. Shoes that have never been in any long-term, monogamous, deeply loving relationship with any man. Shoes that only knew for the most part, a promiscuous lifestyle with men. And oh, how do I know those shoes so very well, because I lived in them at multiple points, and it’s those shoes that I believe are the actual sin that those spiritual books like the Bible speak of, not the ones I have on now where I absolutely love my partner and want to spend my life monogamously with him.
So yes, I have a hard time believing that God is really telling my best friend that he shouldn’t come to my wedding. I have a hard time as well believing that God actually disapproves of my love for Chris. And I especially have a hard time believing that God approves of all those judgments that continue to be made towards gay people just like me, because God made us the way we are. I certainly didn’t choose my sexuality, but boy if I could, I absolutely, positively, wouldn’t have chosen to be gay in a world where Christians and plenty of other religions constantly choose to look down upon people like me day after day after day, calling my lifestyle a sin.
In the end, all I know is that I love both my partner, and my best friend, immensely and equally, and don’t want to lose either. That’s why I’m choosing to leave this conflict in the hands of God to figure it all out, because I honestly can’t make sense of any of it.
So, what do you do when your best friend says they’re no longer going to be gay because homosexuality is a sin? I really don’t know, but I believe God does, and hopefully His unconditional love will prevail through it all…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson