Blessings to you. Thank you for this post.
I wasn’t raised in any particular religion. My mother is a practicing Roman Catholic and my dad, though a Jew by ethnicity, is a staunch Atheist. I think their differences of opinion in this area were (and are) a source of tension between them, and they seemingly chose to largely ignore it in my upbringing (my brother may have a different take on this).
I felt bereft; all of my friends had a “club,” i.e., religion, to which they belonged, and I had nothing, or so I felt.
So I was easy prey for what I now see as a manipulative form of evangelical Christianity, namely that practiced by my next-door neighbors/best friends. I adopted that lifestyle (I use that term as opposed to “religion,” because I never truly understood what it would mean to actually adopt this as a religion, though I thought I did at the time) to fill a void, and I was indoctrinated into everything that entails, including tremendous guilt about sexuality in general, especially sexuality that doesn’t conform to the strictures prescribed by that interpretation of Christianity.
As a bisexual (or maybe pansexual; I’m not sure which term better describes my sexuality) man, I’ve struggled with my sexuality ever since then. This despite the fact that my parents are open-minded and supportive people who would never judge someone for their sexuality, and they made it a point to teach me this.
What I take from my experiences isn’t about religion per se; it’s that people will use whatever tools are at their disposal to achieve whatever aim they have. If people allow their fear to make their choices for them, and they have power over someone else (as a parent does over their child[ren]), they will use religion and whatever other tool they can find (xenophobia, superstition, etc.) to exert power and control.
I don’t want to sound judgmental. I empathize with this fear I see; we’ve all felt it. And we all want to please the people we love and care about. It’s not easy.
I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this; I guess I’m just trying to say that I empathize with aspects of your story, and I send my solidarity and support as a fellow human to you.
Thanks again for this post.