The repentance of an anti-gay bully
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15-08-2013, 10:54 AM (This post was last modified: 16-08-2013 09:07 AM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
The repentance of an anti-gay bully
I'll keep this one short:

I was an anti-gay bully in high school. Not the physically violent type, but the kind who would go around telling gay people that they were in open rebellion against God and that they were NOT born that way, they chose that lifestyle and I had every right to condemn it because my Bible told me so.

In particular, I lashed out at two gay kids, Scott and "David," and told them in no uncertain terms that I condemned their lifestyle choice.

Fast forward: years, later, my views on homosexuality moderated. I accepted that our society was secular, and that my religious views were mine. I figured that if homosexuality is not a choice, then I was obliged to respect it, just as much as I expected all people to respect my ethnicity (not a choice). And I figured that if homosexuality IS a choice, then I was STILL obligated to respect it, just as much as I expected all people to respect my religion (a choice).

At this stage (three years ago) I wrote a blog post apologizing to Scott and David, with whom I had lost touch (I graduated from high school in 1987).

Thanks to Facebook, I found Scott soon after I wrote that blog post. He graciously accepted my apology and chuckled at the thought that I considered my obnoxious behavior to be on par with bullying. But he did not remember David. I found that odd, considering that I remembered them as pretty good friends.

Scott and I remain "good" friends on Facebook (that is, we no longer have a personal friendship, but we are on good terms and write on each other's walls from time to time).

Ultimately, my views shifted again. I no longer look at the hypothetical "if being homosexual IS a choice" as being a reasonable possibility. I'll trot it out when discussing gay rights with Christians (if it's a choice, why should it be treated with any less respect than your choice to be a Christian?) But I no longer believe being gay is a choice and I favor marriage rights for gays as a matter of equal protection under the law.

This is already longer than I planned to write. My apologies.

Cutting to the chase, this week, Scott helped me find "David" by recognizing the possibility that I got David's name wrong. He threw some names at me. I looked at pictures, but the people in the pictures are now in their early 40s. I couldn't be sure. Finally, he approached a guy named Michael, who read my blog post and confirmed that, in fact, he was David.

So Michael got in touch with me yesterday and, like Scott before him, graciously accepted my apology while dismissing the seriousness of my behavior (annoying and pushy, he called it, not bullying).

We are now friends on Facebook as well.

The kicker? I hollered at these teenagers for refusing to abide by the commandments of my God. Twenty-six years later, David is studying to become a reform Rabbi. I told him I'm an atheist now. We agreed not to argue about that.

Scott and Michael are better people than I was as a kid in high school. I am honored to be counted among their friends, even if it is just on Facebook.

[If anyone wants to read the original blog post, Google "apology from an anti-gay bully" (include the quotation marks). My only request is, please do not out me as an atheist. Ironic, no? Look who's "in the closet" now!"]
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15-08-2013, 11:40 AM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
That's asweomse! it's not easy to apologize for things we did in the past, so congratulations on that Smile

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15-08-2013, 11:49 AM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
This is good shit, sir.

And believers love talking about non-believers being arrogant. Pfffft.

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

- Bertrand Russel
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15-08-2013, 11:59 AM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
An ATHEIST!

You are in rebellion against God!

You were NOT born that way... it's a choice.

REPENT or I condemn you because...

<random Bible verses>

Yes

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15-08-2013, 12:16 PM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
I think you were very brave!


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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15-08-2013, 12:21 PM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
This is an awesome story. I loved this. Yes
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15-08-2013, 03:09 PM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
(15-08-2013 11:59 AM)DLJ Wrote:  An ATHEIST!

You are in rebellion against God!

You were NOT born that way... it's a choice.

Actually, I WAS born that way, but I got talked out of it at an early age. Wink
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15-08-2013, 05:55 PM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
Jesus forgives you.

That and your post was awesome. I've had some significant changes of heart in my life to the extent that I am embarrassed about who I have been to some people in the past. Nothing worth apologizing for, but nothing I'm proud of either.

Good on you for making amends.
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16-08-2013, 09:12 AM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
I'm actually relieved. Finding Scott was easy. I remembered his full name, and we had friends in common from high school. So once I found him, I showed him the blog post and learned very quickly that the bullying did not have a lasting impact on him. In fact, he found my use of the term "bullying" quaint. We made amends very quickly and he was exceedingly gracious about it.

David was another story. I did not know whether or how my behavior affected him. In my worst imagination, my bullying led him down a dark, dark path. And because no one could remember who David was, my imagination ran free. Earlier this week, Scott suggested that maybe I got David's name wrong. That led to us finding Michael, and my finding that my pessimistic concerns were unfounded. That he was just as gracious and forgiving as Scott is a testament to his character. I could just kiss him.

Ok, maybe that's going a little too far. But I'd love to buy him a beer.
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23-08-2013, 06:55 PM
RE: The repentance of an anti-gay bully
This was great to read! I must say, as a transwoman, that I often wonder if the people who bullied me in high school would still feel the same way now. I don't ever have the courage to seek them out on facebook and see because I figured they weren't friends of mine to begin with. However, your story is sweet and I'm glad you were able to apologize and make your peace. Since I have become an atheist, I actually find myself more frustrated with Christian members of the LGBT community. Part of me wants to have them read the Bible with its passages of hate, particularly the one about homosexuality, and question how they can reason with a religion that ultimately shuns them. I have met some who are so devout that they pretty much call me every name in the book because I dare to be an atheist. Then I think: aren't we all part of the LGBT community? Hasn't organized religion as a whole made our lives hell for ages? Yet they cling to a religion that ultimately hates them. It's probably why a majority of my friends are straight.
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