Be Discriminating … Wait, Don’t!

Aug 1, 2011 | 2011 Summer - Faith and Spirit, Articles

By Daphne L. Kanellopoulos

In the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama asserted in his televised speech on May 1, 2011, “This is not a war against Islam.” I posted on Facebook how happy I was that the President said that and I got some responses voicing the opinion that it was unnecessary for him to have said that, and that I was completely ignoring the success of our brave men and women. There is a misconception that Islam encourages terrorism, and that is simply not true. What the President said was very important.

I was baptized Greek Orthodox and, despite my grandparents’ best efforts (which continue), I didn’t really feel that I needed to follow the Greek Orthodox faith. I learned at the age of 16 that boys are brought up to the altar during baptism and girls are not. Had I not already decided I didn’t follow the faith, I would at that point have refused to follow any religion so misogynistic.

This had nothing to do with my sexual orientation. At the time, I was sure I was straight. I identified as a pagan before I identified as a bisexual. For a while before and after I realized that I’m bisexual, I felt that the pagan community was the only community in which I could be safe and accepted.

Today, I still identify as pagan, and I have become more comfortable with people in mainstream religions knowing about my sexual orientation. It generally isn’t a problem. The truth of the matter is that most people just don’t give a s**t. They have their own lives to worry about. Also, even if a religion or a religious leader insists that homosexuality is a sin or abnormal, not all who identify with that religion ascribe to those beliefs. Many believe that people were made however God/Allah/The Universe intended. Not all practitioners of specific religions are anti-gay, and not all Greek Orthodox Christians are misogynistic.

It no longer makes sense to me to be against a specific religion.

Daphne runs a bisexual social support group at the Pride Center of New Jersey. She also submits articles to the Pride Center of New Jersey newsletter and Out In Jersey Magazine.

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