I have belonged to the same Catholic church for forty years, since I was about 2 years old when my family moved to the town I grew up in. My parents sang in the choir and I couldn’t wait to be able to join them. I can remember sitting downstairs with my Nana, just knowing that music was going to be very important in my life. I would go over to Nana’s house after church and sit down at her piano, picking out by ear the songs we had just sung at mass.
When I was in second grade I was finally able to sit upstairs and sing with the choir. Since then, that’s where I could be found just about every weekend. I started to play the guitar in addition to the little bit of piano I picked up by ear, and in high school I was asked to direct the choir. Now twenty five years later, here I am.
I’m completely conflicted. Recently, as the Massachusetts Legislature and citizens were deciding the fate of same-sex marriage, I was forced to listen to repeated requests from the pulpit for church members to “defend the family” and “protect the institution of marriage.” Weekly they prayed to “uphold marriage between one man and one woman.” One Sunday, I watched my parents fill in postcards to our state representatives asking them to deny me, their own son, the ability to marry the person I love. They have struggled with my being gay, but would never have sought out the postcard campaign on their own. However, since their priest asked (told) them to do it…they did. I not only had to experience this once, but since I play and sing for four masses every weekend, I had to sit through it repeatedly. Just before our most recent election, one of the priests actually said from the altar that the people of the parish should “sit down, have a cup of tea, pray, and take that teabag with them to the polls” (advocating the “teabag” ideology). I guess you can say it’s worn me down.
I have enjoyed what has become my part time job for the last 25 years, but I’m feeling unable to continue in my role as music director. It makes me sad that loving someone would result in me having to leave my job within the church. Isn’t God love?
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