with Being Gay
In the spring of 1995, the Reverend Jimmy Creech was a guest speaker at a meeting of gay and lesbian students on a university campus. Creech, a former Methodist minister defrocked because of his gay-affirmative ministry and activism (cf. Hartman 1996, 1–24), talked about the ridicule and harassment he had suffered because of his work and about the damage caused by his church’s tenacious assertion of heterosexist doctrine. When he finished, he invited comments and questions from the audience. Among the many speakers was a young woman, a newcomer to the group, who told a story of the confusion and betrayal she felt as she sought salvation in a church that condemned her.
She was a first-year student at the university who had experienced homosexual attractions since puberty. She despised these desires, she said, because she felt “they were against God.” Hoping to find a way to rid herself of these desires, she had recently confided in her pastor, who told her to pray and then quickly dismissed her. The next Sunday, the pastor preached a hellfire sermon against homosexuality, declaring that one of the “demonic” was among the congregation. His sermon so clearly revealed the identity of this “demon” that the woman left the church, humiliated. When she returned home several hours later, her belongings were in the driveway, the doors were locked, and no one answered her knock. She gathered her things and returned to school. “No one in my family has spoken to me since then,” she said,