Page 4: Opinion: Relationship with religion complicated

Jordan Parcell

I was born into an extremely religious family. My mom’s side is almost entirely made up of southern Black Baptists, and my dad’s side is either Catholic or non-denominational Christian.

When I was in elementary school, we started attending a Bible study group that eventually developed into its own church. I had the unique experience of being a founding member of a church before I was even a teenager. 

My parents both held leadership roles in the church, so I spent a ridiculous amount of time helping them prepare for Sunday mornings – or rather being dragged along to run errands.

When I got to middle and high school, I volunteered with the elementary school kids and the babies. I was seen as something of a leader and role model for the middle schoolers.

My best friend for years was the pastor’s daughter. It seemed like the church seeped its way into my everyday life, including my political opinions and whether I liked certain people.

I was very queerphobic in middle school. I had always been taught that being queer would get you sent straight to hell without so much as a second thought. 

You can imagine my reaction to eventually realizing that I liked women. I cried myself to sleep several times.

 I tried to pray the gay out of myself, bargaining with God, asking them to do just this one thing for me in exchange for anything they wanted me to do.

It didn’t work. You can’t change who a person is by praying at them. Crazy, right?

This was around the time I began questioning my beliefs. Did I really believe any of these things that I had been taught all my life?

I began deconstruction, first separating religion from my political beliefs. My political standing took a sharp left turn. For the first time in my life, I was genuinely thinking for myself and wasn’t getting my opinions on every issue from an old book.

I kept pushing with my deconstruction, questioning whether I even believed in any god, and what that god even was.

I use they/them pronouns for God. I think of them as less of the traditional ‘sky daddy’ kickin’ it in the clouds and more of a genderless being that exists outside of time and space. 

Although I’m not really sure that God would have an inherently human physical form, I’ve always interpreted them to be a racially ambiguous person of color, since biblically and scientifically speaking, the first people would have been people of color and God made people in their image.

I’ve come to the realization that I don’t need to put a label on my relationship with God. I believe that they’re very chill when it comes to people believing in and worshiping them however they choose to. 

I believe that you can have a relationship with God and be queer, or practice witchcraft, or just be whoever you are.

The whole point of having a relationship with God is to learn to be a more loving and accepting person. 

It’s not about guilting people into living how you think they should based on some old misinterpreted and poorly translated scriptures.