There is a new hit song, Montero, by Lil Nas X, whose controversial video has recently become the talk of Pop Culture. The song’s lyrics reflect the classic love story between a young gay boy who falls for a closeted guy. Lord knows that I have been there! Although many gays praise the young rapper for his catchy and relatable lyrics, others, both gay and straight alike, find a lot of negativity in the music video.
The video takes on a religious theme, starting with the Garden of Eden and ending with Lil Nas X twerking on Satan in Hell, putting an interesting twist on the teaching that homosexuality is a sin. These words are not unfamiliar to many of us who grew up in religious or spiritual surroundings. I grew up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic school from elementary to graduate school. Although I had my fair share of experiences, I could not ignore that “end of life destination” that I had heard so many times.
Many people still struggle with the relationship between religion and sexuality. Personally, I am usually conflicted during this time around Easter. Pre-COVID, I would be with my family celebrating Jesus’ resurrection in Mass in the morning, and dancing in the streets at the Gay Easter Parade by afternoon. A lot of us are ostracized by family and friends, and are made to feel like we have to choose between God or happiness with a companion. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even depression.
How can we cope with these feelings? How can we live in a world created by a God who we are taught doesn’t like us? Let’s start by focusing on the good rather than the bad. Many people can reference one of the eleven Bible verses that negatively mention sexuality, but it is rare that people mention how the word, “love” is mentioned over 500 times in the same book. Let’s spend more time focusing on people’s virtues rather than their vices.
Remember that religion is manmade and is a collective interpretation of God’s dealings with humans, but our relationship with God is personal. Let your experience with God be what you want it to be. Try your best to keep positive things in your life and to eliminate bad things. Don’t be the reason for others to have bad experiences with religion. You never know, you might be their only experience of God these days.
Dr. Andrew Watley, PhD, LPC-S, NCC