The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Have I ever felt hated or rejected or made fun of? Yes, I have.
Ever since summer, I see posters filling Madrid saying “I'm lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual. In the face of hatred, you must denounce”. I’m glad to read this, because no one deserves to be hated.
However, it made me think: “Have I ever felt hated or rejected or made fun of?”
Yes, I have. And the main reason was because I openly said that I believe in God and in the Bible.
We live in a postmodern world, in which all beliefs are true or believable, it doesn’t matter how contradictory this is. Everyone “respects” everyone. Well, okay then, I’m going to share with you something that happened to me, which left me extremely sad.
I was in my physics class and the professor decided to ask the class what each student believed in. There were many answers and one of them was that they believed in Buddha, others believed in disbelief. One of them even said he believes in reptiles that come basically as aliens to live among us and control a large group of people. The response of the whole class was: “Hmm, interesting, yes that could be”, “well I don’t think its true, but I respect you”. Then, it was my turn. I said I believed in God. Never in my life, have I felt more disrespected. I heard every type of slur: “I thought that this girl was smart”, “Only weak people believe in God”, “What a dummy”, “She must be a fascist”, “Surely she is homophobic”. And the professor did not say a word.
I have studied in 6 different schools so far and I can assure you that in any of them that I have been able to say that I believe in God without being laughed at, and hurtful things were said to me. For instance, one time a fellow student in my class sat next to me in a class just to whisper to me, throughout the whole class, blasphemous sexual actions that he would like to do with God.
They talk about “respect” for everyone, of the open minds. But when I say that I do not have sex with my boyfriend because I consider my body to be very valuable and I only want to give it to him who has done a public pact with me and with God, someone who will love me for our whole lives; the only thing that I heard was: “So out-dated”, “He’s going to break up with you”, “They’ve brainwashed you”, “She’s so boring”, “You should be a nun”, “Liar”, “You?” But no, I did not hear, not even ONE “I respect you”, like that one friend that said he believed in aliens.
They talk about “respect” for everyone, of the open minds, but when I said in my philosophy class that I do not agree with abortion because I’m always going to choose life and because I think everyone says ‘this is my body and this is my decision’ but they don’t talk about the post-abortion syndrome, of the anxiety from depression which leads to higher consumption of drugs and alcohol, low self-esteem, suicidal ideas, nightmares of the baby weeping, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, breakdowns in mother-child bond in future maternities, post-traumatic stress, grief, ‘I am not saying that I am right, I am only saying that I have enough reasons to not agree’; ...they called me all sorts of things, but I never heard a single ‘I respect you’.
They talk about “respect” for everyone, of the open minds, but when I say that I don't want to smoke because I appreciate my health and the ability to breathe; that I don't want to go clubbing because I don't want some stranger touching me without my consent; that I don't want to get drunk because I want to be able to have a good time and remember it the next day; that I don't want to take drugs because I like to have control over my own body; that I don't want to watch pornography because those videos hide abuse, slavery, women trafficking, and I do not want to support that and I also don't want to believe their lies of sex that they want to put in our minds... They talk about respect for everything, of the open minds, but when I say all these things, I scarcely arrived to hear, ‘I respect you’.
I'm not going to lie, a lot of these things I have tried, and I have been addicted to many of them. And that's why I can now say with clarity that I tried to get out by myself, but I couldn't. I tried seeing psychologists and taking pills, but I couldn't, and then I remembered that in the Bible it says that God frees us (from our sins). And then I thought "I don't lose anything trying it", I met God like that, without faith, without willingness, but God just needs your ‘yes’ to begin to work in you. And that is what He did. And now I am a new person.
You can deny everything I said. But my experience, what I have lived and seen, that, you cannot deny.
I might not be able to tell you that God exists but you cannot tell me that He doesn't exist. And I respect you, all I ask is that you also respect me, because I haven't seen a single poster in Madrid that defends me.
María Fe Zúñiga (18) is a musician, photography and cinema student. She lives in Madrid (Spain).