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This I Believe: Gay Forever, Hell For Never

Gabe Knott at the microphone
Dan LaGrasso
NPR Illinois
Gabe Knott - Jacksonville High School

You’re going to hell. Yes, you, the young male wearing the loud shirt, scarf, and skinny jeans. Yes, you, the student tutor with a 3.8 GPA, who aspires to have a family, who has goals for your life and a career in mind and who was baptized in a Southern Baptist church? none of that matters when the TRUTH is that you aren’t natural and neither are your actions.  

The previous paragraph is what much of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) community hears on a daily basis from “Christians” everywhere. As a young gay man, I have learned to hide it in front of “those” people; the ones who I know will condemn me for wearing eyeliner in public or holding my boyfriend’s hand. I have quickly learned that in their eyes it doesn’t matter what kind of home I was raised in, what kind of childhood I had, or how many scriptures I memorized between the ages of five and twelve. None of it matters as long as I want to live happily ever after with my handsome prince instead of the stereotypical and “normal” princess that society wishes for me to have.

My God and I have talked about the fact that I like boys, and we have decided that Hell is not my fate.

As long as I wish to profess my love for another man I will not be accepted for who I am by many denominations of Christianity. I have been driven out of one of my childhood churches and the church I found as a teenager made me uncomfortable when the pastor began talking about all of the immoral people, including “the Homosexuals.” Because I am gay, finding a church has been one of the hardest things to do, right up there with having to tell my parents.

Although many Christians don’t agree with homosexuality, I can’t wrap my mind around why people like me would be sent to a place of eternal burning. Being raised in a Pentecostal church, I was “saved” at a young age and subsequently was taught that my salvation could not be taken back. People now seem to have a horrible double standard about the reclaiming of salvation for those of us that decided to tell everyone how we really feel. It just blows my mind that, because I want to fall in love with a man, I am doomed to a cursed afterlife full of wounds that never heal and infinite darkness.

What is even worse than having to battle about where my eternal soul will go after death with a group of people that won’t change their opinion is the internal struggle to carry on. There have been times in my life where I could see the way out clearly and wanted to take it. To end it all and prove them wrong. To be in Heaven with my God… but I couldn’t just throw everything away because someone doesn’t like how I live my life. I am meant for greater things and suicide will never be the best option.

Ultimately, not all gays go to hell: this I believe. Because of this belief, it is not in my best interest to send myself to be with Him before my time has come. My God and I have talked about the fact that I like boys, and we have decided that Hell is not my fate.

This I Believe Illinois Logo

This I Believe Illinois is an essay program for high school seniors to share their perspectives as they prepare to enter adulthood.  Each year, a panel selcts ten submitted essays to be recorded by their authors for broadcast on NPR Illinois.  Since 2007, the selected authors also deliver their essays at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise where the students receive scholarships from the organization.

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