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Battle Over Human Rights Law Brings Gay Student Back to Christian Faith

"I have done a lot of thinking and have read the Bible and I have come to the conclusion that Jesus would not condemn homosexuality as it is today."

Dear Editor:

I have been raised in a Christian family.

My grandmother is a Lutheran pastor and my father is a fundamental Baptist. I have always had a strong relationship with God and have gone to Bible school, gone on retreats and have gone to church every Sunday.

This all changed when I decided to come out to my family and friends. My friends were all great and didn’t have any problem with it. They said they loved me no matter what, and that gave me the confidence I needed to tell my family. I started with the family members I knew wouldn’t have a problem with it, but then I ran out of those family members and I knew it was time to tackle the two “Christians” of the family.

My grandmother was in denial and told me never to speak of it again or I would risk her help with my college tuition. My father told me that homosexuality was a sin and showed me the parts in the Bible that condemn homosexuality.

I’m sure you have heard stories of other teenagers having less than satisfactory responses from their closest family members, however only those that actually go through it know how painful it is to be ostracized by your closest family members. The same people you have lived with. The same people that took you to Bible school and then out for lunch and ice cream every Sunday night. The same people you constantly strive to make them proud of the person you have become.

My spiritual road has been a bumpy one and ended after coming out to my grandmother and father. I thought, “If this is what Christianity is about … if God is a mean-spirited force that made me gay just so I can spend my whole life struggling against it … I don’t want to be a part of anything like that.”

I moved on in life and eventually developed tolerant relationships with my father and grandmother. But then I realized that I not only had to fight for my right to bean individual in my household, I had to join a fight to have the same rights that my heterosexual counterparts take for granted in society. I have been in the fight ever since and I still don’t understand why the world has taken Religious Rights a step further to becoming Religious Privileges.

A recent robo call made by the American Family Association (hear the call in the video file attached to this story) focuses on that we are stepping on fundamental religious organizations' rights by not allowing them to keep laws on the books discriminating against me and other LGBT people.

I thought that we all are guaranteed our rights UNTIL we start to infringe on someone else’s rights? This battle has actually had one positive on my life, it has brought me back to my Christian faith.

I know you are probably thinking, “How could these people that claim to be following God's word and condemning you bring you back to that faith?!” I have done a lot of thinking and have read the Bible and I have come to the conclusion that Jesus would not condemn homosexuality as it is today. Jesus taught us to think, question and not make an idol of the Bible. Now I have a renewed idea that Jesus would be behind me in my efforts and that God celebrates love of all colors, creeds and orientations.

As my favorite prayer says:

“Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”

Sincerely,

J. Lee, Co-President, Gay Straight Alliance, Adams High School

Send letters to the editor to editor Kristin Bull at kristin.bull@patch.com

Linda Kaye Davis-Kirksey August 20, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Josh Lee you are an inspiration!
Timothy Maurer August 20, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Excellent letter, Mr. Lee.
Peter Adair August 20, 2012 at 06:21 PM
J.Lee, I must admit the part about Jesus being behind your effort boggles my mind. I have no problem with you J. Lee, but God did not make you a homosexual. Jesus drew a line in the sand and stated, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." So I am not here to cast a stone, but to state that the Creator of the world did not make you and would not force you through the things you have gone through. We talk about God a lot, but leave out the opposing force, Satan. He is the one who is putting you through struggles and the choice you have made. God loves US, not necessarily our actions and decisions.
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Peter, I invite you to let me into your home. I will be more leinent even than the Bible tells me for I will only throw one rock at your head for every shirt I see that is 50% cotton and 50% polyester and only one rock at your head for every piece of Swine and Shellfish that I find. I hope that you can find it in your heart to allow me to do this as a fellow Christian. I know that you will probably die a horrible and painful death but it clearly states that you are to be put to death for eating shellfish, swine, and wearing shirts of more than one cloth. I do not like to kill people but it's not murder because our Bible clearly tells me to kill you. I ultimately wish that Mr. Lee did not go back to our horrible religion that speaks out of every side of it's mouth. I also hope that we never cross paths with you and your multi fabric shirt as a rock will surely be launched at your cranium and I will surely encourage all others around me to do the same as we are only doing our God's will. In summation. I would write something that would surely get deleted that involved the word Go a certain word for sexual intercourse and yourself. However I will instead pray for you to realize the error of ways in eating shrimp, lobster, scallops and wearing shirts given to us by Satan himself.
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
On top of that Peter. You are a coward. If you are going to preach have the cajones to attach your full name to your comment.
Peter Adair August 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Old Testament laws have gone away with Christ. Coward, please, more of a typo.
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Yes and the only law that states that homosexuality is a sin is in the Old Testament. Nice to see you finally decided to attach your name to your hate speech. I for one know that if there is a heaven that Mr. Lee will be enjoying it while you will not. I hope you enjoy your pitiful life. I feel sorry for you.
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I also hope that you never attempt to run for council again. To do so would be a waste of your time and ours.
Josh August 20, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I acknowledge your opinion and I do obviously disagree with you. But we are taught to love even those that oppose our viewpoints. I am sure you are a very intelligent person but I know God made me the way I am for a reason. Just don't pretend like you know 100% of what God is doing in my life.
Peter Adair August 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
"Nice to see you finally decided to attach your name to your hate speech." hmm, MY hate speech. Let's be civil.
Beth Kudla August 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Love you Josh and am SO PROUD of you!
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Yes, your hate speech. I wouldn't expect a small minded fool like you to understand the difference between hate speech and tolerance. I am intolerant of our small minded hate speech. There will be civility when you stop being an ignorant moron. Until then, there will be no civility from me to you. There is no debate, all men and women are created equal, gay/straight/bi/transgendered/black/asian/white/etc. No debate period. Until you get that through to that little brain of yours there is no civility and no discussion that can take place between us regarding this issue. If and when you realize you're an ignorant tool, we can have a civil discussion.
Ryan Frohberg August 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Alex, Continue reading Leviticus. The punishment for disobeying the laws is "surely to be put to death and to have the people of the land stone him with stones". All in all I think a book with a story of a man and 7 friends that pick up every animal on the earth during a massive flood that was only documented in one small part of the world at no where else, should not be making our laws in this country especially when it comes to the rights of the LGBT community.
Deb August 21, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Mr. Lee, Congrats on the journey you have taken, and the place where you find yourself today. I hope that you continue to see the positive side of the many negative situations you will face throughout adulthood.
Amanda Kirksey August 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Josh, you are an inspiration to all. I will continue to fight for you and your rights!
Erin August 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM
So proud to have courageous, bright students like you at Adams HS. Thanks for sharing and Best of luck to you.
Alyce Bauer August 21, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Josh this is amazing and people who don't agree obviously don't know you well. Your story is an inspiration to do many people and you are one of the best people I know
Scot Beaton August 21, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Josh -- great post -- this is a good short unbiased read. Homosexuality and the Bible by Walter Wink -- Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological Seminary, New York City. continued at http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/winkhombib.htm
Linda Marie Hathaway August 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Thank you Josh Lee, You are a strong loving young man, and a great leader. I appreciate you. Linda Marie Hathaway ( Mom of three and Licensed daycare provider)
Abbie Winkel August 21, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Mr. Lee, I am very proud to say that you are a good friend of mine. You are a inspiration, and don't let other people get you down. It's great to see people our age so strong and standing up for what the believe in or what's right. Don't listen to what these fools have to say, they are just old people afraid of change. Stay strong josh, you will always have my support and compassion. <3
Mary Beth Tinker August 21, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Josh, I admire you for putting the Constitution into action- for yourself, your religious beliefs, and our democracy. Here's to you, and the First Amendment!
Scotty O August 21, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Great article Scot, it really shows how scripture is often used to defend both sides of every argument. As for you Josh, I must tell you that as a gay man who had to come out in 1973 (at the age of 19), I only wish that your time coming out is easier. Most older gays want to think things are better, but then we hear of all the teen suicides and wonder why our schools aren't doing more. I wish you the best of luck, Josh, and compliment you on your courage in facing this issue in your life with such integrity and while still in high school. I hope more gay kids out there follow your lead and realize that it does get better.
Elizabeth Brower August 22, 2012 at 12:23 AM
J.Lee - What? Your Lutheran Grandma is a pastor? My branch of the Lutheran church STILL prohibits this!!! So hang in there, and don't let any man-made church tell you about Jesus! Anyone who actually reads what Jesus said as recorded in the New Testament knows that JESUS LOVED ALL HUMANS BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL ORIGINALLY CREATED BY HIS FATHER, GOD! So hang in there, and don't let the haters mess with you! (PS-I'm really old, white, straight, and I support YOU!!!)
Rachel August 22, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Just curious Josh...have you found a church that truely celebrates all colors, creeds and orientations? I'd love to hear about it.
Grant August 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Thanks for the letter Josh. It's sad that you have a state representative that is actively working against human rights and pals around with hate group leaders. You are brave to stand up for yourself and other LGBT students. In 2004, McMillin ran against incumbent Pat Dohaney hoping to be the next Oakland Country Treasurer. He lost. Part of his campaigning included phone calls to voters claiming that L. Brooks Patterson supported the Triangle Foundation's "radical homosexual agenda" because Patterson supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in state hate crime laws. "We don't kill young gay guys just because they're gay," Patterson told the Oakland Press. "Maybe McMillin's brand of Christianity accepts that. Mine does not."
Geena August 24, 2012 at 09:07 PM
This is great Josh! Love you :)
Jasmine August 27, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I love you Josh :)
gjh August 27, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Don't give up your faith, don't ever give up your faith because someone rejects who you are even if you love them and want their agreement and acceptance - my guess is they still love you and don't want differences pointed out to them - we are all failing humans - if you think about it, we were given a specific command to LOVE others; we were not given a commandment to judge others -

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