The Herald reports:
Timothy Kurek grew up hating homosexuality. As a conservative Christian deep in America’s “Bible Belt”, he was taught that being gay was an abomination before God.
But when a Christian friend in a karaoke bar told him how her family had kicked her out when she revealed she was a lesbian, Kurek began to question his beliefs. Amazingly, the 26-year-old decided to “walk in the shoes” of a gay person in the United States by pretending to be homosexual.
For an entire year Kurek lived “undercover” as a gay man in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
I think people’s beliefs often change, when they have gay and lesbian friends. This is why there is such an divergence by age on some issues. Many people over 45 never grew up with gay or lesbian friends. But today there would be few who don’t go through school or university without knowing or being friends with people whose sexual orientation is different to theirs.
His account of his year being gay is an emotional, honest and at times hilarious account of a journey that begins with him as a strait-laced yet questioning conservative, and ends with him reaffirming his faith while embracing the cause of gay equality.
Along the way he sheds many friends, especially from Liberty, who emailed him after he came out asking him to repent his sins and warning that he faced damnation. He does not regret their loss. “I now have lots of new gay friends,” Kurek said.
What good friends, telling him to repent his sins or he will go to hell.
In one gay bar, Kurek was stunned to discover gay Christians earnestly discussing their belief in creationism. “I found gay Christians more devout than me!” Kurek says. He became active in a gay rights group and wound up joining a protest outside the Vatican’s embassy to the United Nations in New York.
However, there was a cost. To gauge his mother’s true reaction to the news that her son was gay, Kurek read her private journal. In it he found that she had written: “I’d rather have found out from a doctor that I had terminal cancer than I have a gay son.”
But Kurek’s journey also became hers. Eventually she was won over and changed her views. “My [mother] went from being a very conservative Christian to being an ally to the gay community. I am very proud of her,” he said.
Love conquers all.
Finally Kurek’s journey ended when he revealed his secret life and “came out” again, but this time as a straight Christian. However, he says one of the most surprising elements of his journey was that it renewed his religious faith rather than undermined it. “Being gay for a year saved my faith.”
Kurek feels his experience should not only show conservative Christians that gay people need equal rights and can be devout too, but can also reveal another side of evangelicals to the gay community.
“The vast majority of conservative Christians are not hateful bigots at all. It is just a vocal minority that gets noticed and attracts all the attention.”