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The gunman could have been me.

12.14.2007 @ 10:20 AM in Lifestream
New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The gunman believed to have killed four people in a pair of shooting sprees at a megachurch in Colorado Springs and a missionary training school near Denver had been thrown out of the missionary school a few years ago and had been sending it hate mail, police said in court papers Monday.
Matthew Murray, the 24 year old gunman who was killed when a security guard overtook him and shot him, grew up just like me. Now, before I get into this, I'm not condoning his actions. People are dead, yet there is something to take form all this. Matthew grew up homeschooled and lived in a a very religious conservative household, just like me. Growing up, he was probably made to go to church, as I was, until it just a cycle. As Matthew matured, I'm sure he began to realize his sexuality and noticed that how he felt was different from the rest. Just like me. In a religious household like Matt's and Mine, you are told to seek the church for help in everything. You get counseling, you have prayer meetings, you do 12 step programs, you go to youth group. We are taught to trust our clergy, trust The Word, and work to remove sinful things from our life. But what if something that is so "sinful" is actually part of your makeup? Its so ingrained in you, that it doesn't feel like everything else that is "sinful." You string along a lie, you feel it and you know God knows you are lying. You confess and get forgiveness. You feel better, whole again. But this, this is so different. It doesn't feel wrong; sure, sexual promiscuity before marriage is a touchy immoral subject to begin with, but when you open up to your church and family, they tell you that you are sinning and living a "sin lifestyle." You believe them. They tell you that you don't want to be queer, that its a choice, and you want to believe because you want to be whole in God's eyes and the Church's. However, at night you still masturbate to the thoughts of the boy you saw on the street. Afterward, you pray for forgivenes, pleading to God to change you, and that you don't want to be like that, even though that orgasm felt so real and powerful. The church sees that you are a harder case than what simple prayer and will can "cure." You need to be re-conditioned. But its not called that, its called Bible Study, its called Documentaries, its called retreats, its called turning it over to God. They begin the process of tearing down any shred of happiness you have about yourself left. You can't be happy living in sin, and you are destroying the lives of your loved ones. In fact, your actions are so hurtful to the church that you should probably only open up to a few people, no one else needs or should have to deal with your issues. So you trust this group of people in the church: the pastor, the youth minister, and a few others. You may even get to see a "real" ex-gay. Wow, look at him, so happy with his beautiful girlfriend, crisp clothes, and bright smile. But something's off with him, and you are the only one to see. You can smell a fag a mile away, seriously. Your genetic makeup makes you sensitive to male pheromones, and his smell queer. Even his moves and mannerisms are conflicted. Its like a possession of heterosexuality, and every now and then you see a crack in the facade. But he says he's happy, no longer fighting a feeling that feels right, he knows its sinful and he got rid of it, and is now a hetero man. It doesn't make any sense to you because the feelings you get are natural, how can they be bad. Your youth pastor tells you that you don't know its bad because you are living a sinful lifestyle. Until you give it up you will never know true happiness. Your folks, if they are like mine and Matt's, will back all this up at home. You have no other coice but accept the brainwashing as you slowly begin to hate yourself. You really are miserable now, you know you live in sin and you hate the very core of your being. Its a poison to your happiness and the happiness of others. A few more propaganda videos and boycotts and you are now a shell of a man. Drained of feeling, a robot, you feel free for the first time. You are hetero. However, like a dried out sponge that sucks in a drop of water, you slip and slide. All of a sudden the feelings are back, stronger than ever... a sexual rage repressed by pain and self loathing will not be ignored for long. This happens a few times, until the church begins to realize that you are not as programmable as they would like. They discard you. Not officially, but they grow "fatigued" with trying to help you when you are so unwilling to change. You are still a product of the church, and now without a master, you feel betrayed and alone. How could something you were raised to trust for everything just turn away? This is the point where my experiences break off from Matt's. I got out of the church at 17. My father was so supportive even though I never officially said I was gay till years later. He took me in as whoever I was, and I moved away from it all. However,Matt had to experience a stronger device of hypocrisy than I: Ted haggard. He saw the scandal, he almost felt like he could relate. But one thing was different. When all was exposed and settled, Haggard was forgiven and taken back into the church. Matt? he was shunned, and kicked out of his youth group. He couldn't handle the rejection, the hypocrisy or the pain.  He was rageful, fueled by confusion. The life he trusted was nothing more than a gag, a hierarchal community that severs the weak when they aren't easy to mold. He sent letters -- granted hatemail--, tried to get understanding, but it was all lost. He was never going to trust the church again and he acted. It took a long time to break a lot of the programming, to be proud of who I was. I'm sensitive to the anti-gay propaganda now. I see it now and shake my head, not because it exist, but because I know i used to believe it all. I went to a fucking group home once just so I could turn straight. what would have happened if things continued as planned? What if I spent a little longer with the church, fighting who I was and ripping my soul apart to live the lie of heterosexuality? Would I, Could I have done what Matthew did?