Tammy Faye part III

I wrote Annie a brief (for me) reply regarding the subject of Tammy Faye in order to clarify that my views (previously stated here) were more in regard to the "Movement" started in the 1980's rather than with Tammy Faye herself.

Some people saw [Tammy Faye] as wicked, and others saw her as wonderful. I'm fairly neutral on her at this point.

I am certain that she was a lovely woman who coped with much pain in life. My qualms with her stem from the period when she and the husband offered their public pleas for money from viewers. I lumped her (sadly) with all the other tele-evangelists.

There was a brief period when my parents withdrew from the RCC and joined a protestant church (they sought in-depth bible study which our local small parish did not offer.) I detested the ordeal. The youth group was filled with teens that played so sweet to the adults, whilst behaving like horrible heathens at school. These were the ones who made life hell for other youth... who tortured my gay friends, who slept around, who did drugs... all under the guise of sweet little angels passing out bible scriptures during Evangelization Fairs on the city streets. I was seeing a side of Christianity that I plainly did not know existed!

My aversion is due to experience. Whilst I sympathize with Tammy Faye's family, and realize now that she was a beacon of hope for many, I still recall that movement in the 80's that made life so difficult for so many. I never bothered to see what Tammy Faye was up to after she lost the money. I wrote off [fundy] evangelical Protestants as a whole. I also wrote off God for nearly a decade.

I have personally met some of these "wonderful pastors"... Jack Hayford, Benny Hinn, Dr. Dobson, Jim and Tammy Bakker etc. I have also met that idiot out in Colorado Springs who was recently caught with his pants down (he shall remain nameless here.) Each time, I was struck by the irony of these people "off camera". (I shall give Dobson a short reprieve here; I believe Focus is a fiend that can no longer be controlled, but that the man himself seems decent enough.)

I was dragged to a youth meeting at Hayford's church in Van Nuys. We watched one of the Bakker broadcasts [the topic was not homosexuality] and then endured some (fairly disparaging) preaching [from a youth leader] about gay youth and how "God can change them." [This experience – the combination of the broadcast and then the sermon – was seared onto the walls of my mind. I perhaps unfairly associated the Bakkers and the in-person preaching as all being under the same “Jesus loves you unless you’re bad” banner.]

My best friend Dan, who was a young gay boy, endured two weeks at a "reassignment camp" that promised to "purge him of evil homosexual feelings towards other boys." He hung himself a few months later, convinced that God hated him for his "uncontrollable gay feelings."

I do have a bitter taste in my mouth for the [enter the label “wicked”] 80's movement that has wrought so much damage to the lives of so many. This movement ushered in the Westboro Baptists, and others like them. Many of these "leaders" are coming forward now and stating, "we were wrong about gays!" That is of little consolation to those of us who lost loved ones due to the actions of their régime.

It is not that I abhor Protestants themselves (I have met a plethora of charming and Spirit-filled men and women of all Protestant denominations.) Sadly, I closed my eyes to the Tammy Fayes and other Idiot Box preachers at Dan’s funeral and I allowed the bitterness to stay in my heart. I regret that I did not learn of her positive role in the gay community until after her death; the saying still stands, however: "We have only one chance to make a good first impression."

“Jesus didn’t love me, this we know, for the bible tells us so. Little gays by Him demise, for weak faggots He despise.” I can not take any credit for this malicious parody of the popular Christian children’s song. It was Dan who penned it and left it for the world to see, black letters vehemently slashed at the bottom of a suicide note with such force that the wooden desktop bore the gouges in irrevocable effigy. It haunts me to this day, so much so that I will vacate a room if a child is humming the tune.

I do not see happy, smiling faces when I think of renowned television or megachurch leaders. I see no Christ and certainly no Christian love. I do see a timid woman sitting in a folding chair beside a gravesite, weeping weakly as roses are placed upon her son's cold casket.

Suffice to say, I have made the long trek back to God. I have learned to ignore any human being who would offer himself as God’s mouthpiece (“I am God’s Elect and a True Christian and God says ____________ about your sin of ____________!”) as a means of making peace with the Lord. I can only offer my sincerest gratitude towards people like Ox, Peony, Beardi, Annieelf, Rad and Jer 1v7 for inspiring me through their own Christian walk. These are the ambassadors who symbolize “true Christianity” (as the fundys would call it) and mercy. These are the human beings who reveal to us what love truly is. I need not look to the Tammy Fayes or other preachers for inspiration; God has provided me several fabulous models right in my own backyard.

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