Dear Christian Values Voters

Dear Christian Values Voters,

I was raised a Christian in Alabama. Though as an adult I identify more as an agnostic, I’m still a believer of Christ’s teachings. I would like to think that I still follow his core principles of love and kindness toward others. However, I have found I do not need a church or Bible to convince me that this is the path I should follow. I do not need to be threatened by an eternity in Hell to lead a moral life. If you do, that is your business and not mine.

I am also a gay American. Something that I have known my entire life. This was and is not embraced by my family. They have not been able to “judge not, lest they be judged.” Ashamed, I hid this part of myself from them for over 19 years. When I was outed not by choice, my mother beat me until I relented. I stayed in the closet another 5 years. It wasn’t until after college, after I became a federal agent and moved to San Diego that I came out. My family tried but never understood, never fully accepted. Amongst my family, I am often referred to as “The Faggot” when I am not around. I am never around. Today my family is of my choosing, not of my birth.

But you should know that my family was not the only reason I hid my true self. A great deal of my shame came from you, Christian values voters. I was taught to be ashamed  by you. I hated myself because of you and your rhetoric. And though I know not all Christians espouse this nonsense, those that do have had a great influence on our leaders and therefore on us as citizens. Specifically, I am referring to those in the Republican Party.

During my teenage years, I watched as the evangelicals and other homophobic Christian groups attached themselves to the Republican Party. It was during these years that homophobic phrases were used in everyday conversations: “That’s so queer,” or “Don’t be a fag,” or “That’s so gay.” President Reagan refused to recognize AIDS and fund research because he thought it was a gay man’s disease and that they were deserving of such horrible, painful deaths, and many of you agreed. So much so that many of you stopped pouring all of your spare change into your churches and communities, and instead funded candidates and PACS with an anti-gay agenda.

I watched as our government refused to let gays serve in the military. As if we were any less American or patriotic. As if we were somehow a threat to our country. I watched as DOMA was enacted and led to more vicious witch hunts of my people. I witnessed the brutal beatings and killings of young gay men. I saw trans men and women being killed. I read about lesbians being beaten by straight men. And for what? For being discovered as gay, for talking with a lisp, for being effeminate, for refusing a man’s advances. And then I witnessed our courts consider the homophobic excuses of these people; that somehow their prejudicial, misguided ignorant opinions were valid legal defenses. That the thought of a gay man hitting on a straight man was a valid defense for homicide. That simply being trans was enough to beat or kill a person. That having a religious objection to homosexuality was a valid defense.

I watched as your religious bigotry escaped your pulpits and bled into our democracy, influencing my legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. I remember when the president of the United States held a press conference to announce a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. I vividly recall watching Senators stand before my Congress to discuss how I was akin to a pedophile, a sexual predator. I watched as members of a government that I pay taxes for claimed that should gay marriage be allowed, we would have to allow pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia and polygamy. My own government, my own elected officials.

Today, even as gay marriage is legal, I watch you all continue to try and influence my life. From your petty bathroom bills to continuing to deny housing, jobs and healthcare to the LGBTQ, you just won’t quit. You refuse to “judge not lest thee be judged.” You cannot “love thy neighbor.” You refuse to “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” Your latest and greatest is that your religious beliefs are “deeply held.” As if your beliefs are any more deeply held than any others. As if your religion is the only religion, that your religious freedom is the only freedom that counts.

And now your bigotry and hatred of gays and others you don’t agree with has completely taken over your so called deeply held religious beliefs. You are willing to vote for a man who has never once in his life espoused or acted in a Christian way. You are wiling to vote for a man who’s only guiding principle in life has been to do for himself no matter the cost to others. A man who lied to get out of serving his country. A man who has committed adultery too many times to count. A man who has assaulted women. Who has cheated the system in any way he could to benefit himself. Who will lie to anyone and everyone to get what he wants. A man who does not care about your Christian values unless it will win him this election. A man who cannot quote a single Bible verse correctly.

I don’t want to ever hear about your “deeply held religious beliefs” again. You cannot vote for this disgusting, sinful man and claim that the only thing that matters to you are the teachings of Jesus Christ or the Bible. If you vote for Trump, do not ever stand before a judge or legislature claiming that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian teachings and must therefore remain so. Do not ever bring your Ten Commandments into any of my government branches again. Do not ever hold your perverted religious views over me again.