I began this poem before the shooting in Orlando took place. I was raised in a Christian household, went to a private Christian school, and it had been drilled into me from a very young age that being gay was wrong. It was a sin. I had a gay uncle who died of AIDS. I remember the shame my family felt, the lies they told about how he died (they said it was cancer), and the pastors whose churches he had grown up in and who had known him since he was born that refused to come to his home and pray with him as he was dying. I don’t remember much about his death or him as a person because I was too young, but now that I’m older I realize how hurtful and painful that must have been for him. I’ve never understood the hate that people who say they love God have for people who are gay. Those who say they are damned to hell for their “choice.” Then I got pregnant when I was 20 years old and unmarried, and some of those same people from the same church that shunned my uncle congratulated me on the birth of my child. The Bible says what I did was a sin. I had sex when I wasn’t married, and I got pregnant. How was my sin so different than his? How was what I did any different? Every Christian sins on a daily basis. There’s a quote I love that says, “Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.” That’s what so many Christians do, and it makes me sad and angry, and at times, ashamed to be a part of the same religion. So, I wrote this poem, and it sums up my feelings about the way so many Christians treat the LGBT community.

I don’t understand the hate, it just never made sense to me

How can you claim to love God while you’re shouting obscenities?

They call people faggots and tell them God doesn’t love them

The Merciful God that I know loves all of His children

How does gay marriage ruin the institution?

When over half of straight marriages end up in ruin

We all sin daily, nobody is ever perfect

Yet you damn them to hell, as if it’s your choice to determine

The God I know is love and compassion

So take the love He is and turn it into action

Offer a kind word, or lend an ear for listening

We know what hate does, it’s written in blood in our history

God called us all to love our neighbor, and pray for our enemies

So before you speak, take a moment to think about it

Love is love, there’s no other way around it

You can contribute to the problem, or you can try to help

Before you judge others, take a look at yourself