Reconciling religion, Sexuality, and Communism

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My biggest challenge in my life has been reconciling my faith and my political orientation. Equally a struggle is my sexuality. But at the same time I struggle with being both a Christian and a socialist. The three seem worlds apart when cross compared at first glance.

I can't say it's been easy. I've been subjected to accusations and comments on my blog and Twitter feeds that I am somehow a bad person for holding onto all three identities. But are things really that bad? Maybe it's time to take a second look at these three things which seem irreconcilable.

My faith has always been an important part of my life. I grew up in the Evangelical Church. As I got older I started learning about other forms of Christianity and social justice. I recognized many of the hypocrisies and errors the Church was committing towards the poor, women, racial and sexual minorities and other marginalized groups. 

I ended up joining the CPUSA because I found myself agreeing with many of the things they supported. I then faced the daunting task of reconciling those things with becoming a socialist.

I always like reading the CPUSA convention discussion "Religion in the Current Period." I take great comfort that there's resources available like that. This brings me to my next point, we in the CPUSA are particularly lucky to have our own religion commission that works to outreach to people of faith within the party.

I think it's very important that we have this kind of outreach to progressive people of faith like me. The CPUSA is seeking to build and lead a broad based coalition of the working class. Many working class men and women are people of faith. And it's just not Christianity; there also are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and other progressive faith communities out there just waiting to be tapped into for support.

I know the history between Communism and people of faith has been rocky, and I also admit I don't have all the answers on what Marxist thinkers like Lenin, said negatively about religion. But I do know that the CPUSA and many progressive peoples of faith have much in common and can learn from each other.

And I also recognize that secular, atheist, and agnostic party members do bring much to the table and that I too can learn from them. I admire their strength on keeping Church and state separate. Not only does this vital separation insure that all regardless of belief are equal under the law and that no faith or church is supreme over others or that church doesn't influence political decisions. It also protects communities of faith from each other and from government interference.

Which brings me to my last point, my faith and sexuality; in my opinion this has been my biggest struggle. It's not easy being gay, and Christian. It was hard enough to come out to my family, although in the end they've been supportive enough to get me through some hard times. Many people ask why? People on the right say it's impossible to be gay and Christian.

People on the left shake their heads in disbelief and ask "Why?"

"Why cling to the very thing that oppresses you?"

My answer: Religion only oppresses when it's in the hands of the oppressors. Of which for much of American Christianity is true. When it's in its pure form, it offers hope and a message for a better tomorrow beyond the hurt and anguish that's so full in this world.

Once again I know what traditionally my faith says on being gay. I know traditionally the Bible is read as saying "You can't be gay."

And I know science says being gay isn't a choice and is as normal as heterosexuality. But I also know that Jesus interacted and liberated all sorts of people that the Bible says were bad originally; the disabled, the sick, the poor, prostitutes, the list goes on and on. I take great comfort in those parables and stories of Jesus defending those who could be considered in modern day terms the "working class."

Because although I may have trouble getting around the passages on being gay, I don't have any trouble on those with Jesus, Jesus didn't condemn and he liberated those who were outcast. I stick with my faith because of that message of hope.

And to me the CPUSA is the best chance for that hope. A party and an organization dedicated to uniting the progressive movement and the working class for a better future.

One day I want to meet another man and form a life partnership with him. I want to build a life together permanently with him. And in the future when we're old and ready to pass on, I want to be able to look back with him on all our accomplishments. And I hope one of those accomplishments is that through the CPUSA we were able to build a better world for everyone who is currently outcast and oppressed or in the working class; a world where my hope is a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Kudos from another gay Christian leftie. I follow Jesus because he overturned the tables in the Temple and declared God's commonwealth for all people, especially the outcasts. I am a socialist because I believe in the commons, including common ownership of the basic infrastructure needed for society to work.

    I am not a member of the CPUSA because I do not feel that the party has yet thoroughly dealt with and expunged itself of Stalinism, but progress has been made or else you would not have been able to join as an openly gay, Christian person.

    Once again, thanks for your witness!

    Posted by pinkjohn, 09/02/2012 7:19pm (5 years ago)

  • This is also my struggle with my Buddhist identity. Religion in some form has been more available and participatory to people than society's other institutions. And in some ways, monasticism, both Buddhist and Catholic, provides an empirical study that people can live simply and in community. In Tibetan Buddhism it is required to be study medicine. I figure that even if good, religion is a means used to control us.

    Posted by Tenzin Angmo, 08/22/2012 8:16pm (5 years ago)

  • Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery,(one who was responsible for the development of M L K), theological giant who officiated at the inauguration of president Barack Hussein Obama in '08, pointed out recently that Jesus never made comment on homosexuality, although it was wide spread in his time-commanding all to love God and love one other like we love ourselves.
    Organized, institutionalized "Christianity"(and other dogmatic religions)has all too often, dogmatically disregarded these commandments of Jesus, and in turn, "commanded"that "heathens", gays, people of color, women and native peoples meet the edicts they lay down, while this officialdom lifted not a finger to support this majority of humanity.
    Thanks to brother Mike Lado for this article which gives insight into why the CPUSA must reject religious dogmatism. This dogmatism divides humanity, judges humanity and condemns humanity. It justifies repression, persecution, violence, war, and its organized murder.
    One of M L K's heroes and models, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commented that he liked Christ, as he practiced an anti-imperialism that the world shall never forget.
    W. E. B. Du Bois, in his application letter to join the CPUSA, asserts that political democracy calls for no dogmatic religion(his point 10).
    Jesus preached and taught no dogma, we can agree with not only Mike Lado, but with Gandhi, M L K, and Du Bois, "...but liberated all sorts of people".

    Posted by peaceapplause, 08/22/2012 10:19am (5 years ago)

  • Many thanks to Mike Lado for this very insightful piece. No matter what one's orientation in any of the three fields he discusses, this article provides important food for thought.

    Posted by Marilyn Bechtel, 08/19/2012 12:38am (5 years ago)

  • Just a note to say great article. Can't say I'm inclined toward a communist orientated socialism (I'm a social democrat trade unionist) definitely sympathise with the struggle you set out.

    Posted by Casper, 08/18/2012 1:40pm (5 years ago)

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