A Queer Friendly Spirituality

I saw the DVD “Milk” last night–a poignant reminder of our not so distant past and the ongoing struggle for equal rights for all. I want to make it clear that Universalist Radha-Krishnaism is open to and affirming of queers of all types.

I’ve always been an outsider myself. My struggle against the conservative elements Milk also fought against has been lifelong. At my draft physical, I even told the psychologist I had homosexual tendencies and avoided Vietnam. I think the tendency is there in everyone, some more strongly than others. We’re all on sort of a sliding scale between gay and straight, and bisexuality is probably natural for the species but has been suppressed. I consider myself an androgynous heterosexual and have a number of gay friends.

In the early 1990s, I led a study of homosexuality in the Iowa church I pastored to get them to be more open and affirming of queers. It affected those who attended positively including a local lesbian who was not a church member but felt comfortable coming-out in that group where she was warmly received. I also did a memorial service for the gay son of a prominent church family who died of AIDS in California. His partner attended, and that also brought the issue home. Milk was right. When people get to know gays it’s harder to maintain stereotypes and continue the hatred. Unfortunately, conservative elements in the church couldn’t even accept me, what to speak of new gay members.

When I moved to Michigan and pastored a church there, I became a member of Concerned Clergy of West Michigan. We commissioned an original play, “Come In from the Rain” dealing with church-gay relations. I moderated a television panel discussion and took part in panels after the performances to sold out audiences. We also supported a theatre group that was not allowed to perform the play “Corpus Christi” in the local community college theatre they normally used due to right-wing opposition. The play was held in a large downtown Grand Rapids church instead, and again I led the panel discussion afterward and had much media exposure.

When we allow the rights of one group to be trampled on, how long will it be before ours are too? This is an open invitation to members of the LGBT community. God-dess made you the way you are, and it’s beautiful. We welcome you to the Universalist Radha-Krishnaism community as a safe place to grow spiritually. Aloha.

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