Earl and I were recently watching “The Red Line”, a CBS mini-series about many things, including the storyline about a gay couple and their adopted daughter. One of the dads is fatally shot, leaving his husband and their daughter behind. As the story unfolds, their daughter has the opportunity to meet her birth father. He claims to have changed since he ran out 17 years ago, as he found God and religion and he is now in a wonderful place in his life, all because of his new found faith.

During one of their meetings, the birth father mentions his sorrow for the loss of his birth daughter’s dad, and that it’s a shame that he is in hell because of his chosen lifestyle.

The daughter asks him to leave and never, ever contact her again.

The mini series is well written and something I found quite interesting, and I recommend folks watch it if given the opportunity.

While I was watching this episode, I couldn’t help but reflect on all of the family, friends, and co-workers I’ve had over the years that claimed to have been saved through their faith, said they were perfectly fine with who I am, but some still told me that I was going to burn in hell for choosing to be gay. While I don’t have an adopted daughter and all of the trimmings of “The Red Line” storyline to go with it, I related to what the young woman was hearing from her birth father. I’ve been told I’m going to hell on more than one occasion, in fact, a man I hired many years ago for an open position that reported to me told me that he thought I was great but that I would burning in hell for being gay. He told me this during his first week of employment with the company. There was no HR department to report this to. I just had to deal with it. Naturally the owner of the company hired the guy’s equally faith-based sister and she liked to talk about The Flood and The Arc. Apparently the unicorns missed the boat.

I have far flung family that have friended me on Facebook and the like even though I haven’t seen them in decades. Like many of my friends in high school, if I follow them long enough I’ll probably be able to collect every damnation verse from the Bible courtesy of their daily prayer updates. While they profess love and kindness and acceptance, I can help but notice the clutched pearls when it comes to brown people and their fervent support of Trump. Perhaps I go to extremes, but I see MAGA hats as a pseudo-socially acceptable version of the KKK hood. Under the veneer of pledges of light, happiness, and the eternal way, I can’t help but think that if given a dose of “Truth Soup” they’d be telling me how I’d be burning in hell at the next family or high school reunion. (For those that keep score, I’m not talking about my city side). I know they love me, but they love me in spite of me.

It’s kind of crappy when you think about it.

When I was still aged in my single digits I asked my mom what “hell” was. She was honest and told me it was probably made up, then she mused that we were probably in it together. My mom has always been hip like that. The question was prompted because a woman at a church we had been going to told me and my sister that we weren’t properly baptized because we had been sprinkled instead of dunked.

We stopped going to that church. Thank God.

My belief, my truth, is that if I screw this life up bad enough, I’m just going to reincarnate as someone else to learn what I should have learned this time around. If I do it right, I may choose to reincarnate again sometime down my road to experience something new, after spending some time on the Other Side, celebrating life with all the others that did good in their last existence. I look forward to hugging Shirley MacLaine again, just like I did the last time.

At this age I’m not in the mood to tolerate fake compassion, willful ignorance, or false teachings. If you want to believe I’m going to hell, go for it, just don’t tell me about it or try to change me into something I’m not. The universe made me as I am. It’s a undeniable, unalterable truth.

Don’t try to make me live in your hell.