Faith and Truth: Chapter Two
"Faith and Truth"
By Nar (2006)
Alex sighed deeply as he began to shrug off his work clothes. It had just been two days since he told his mother that he was gay and she seemed almost shell-shocked from the news. She went about her business in a robotic manner, saying almost nothing to him. He assumed his father knew, since he kept looking at him from under a furrowed brow and generally treating him with extreme contempt. But they hadn't thrown his out on the street yet, so he was ahead of the game. He quickly had packed a suitcase with his essential belongings that night and kept it ready in case he was indeed thrown out the door, and every day it stared back at him when he got dressed, taunting him with the weight of his actions. What was he thinking? Maybe he thought his parents would simply say "hell yeah, our son is gay, that's cool" or would say "after all we've done, you turn out gay!". What he didn't expect was the cold silence he got everyday. They never even said hi to him when he came home anymore. Alex whimpered softly as the emotional void began to effect him again before he shrugged it off. The only good thing that had come from this ordeal was that he was freely allowed to snuggle and kiss his boyfriend in Tom's living room. He was nervous about having sex with him though. He was sure that Tom's parents were understanding and open-minded enough to adjust to the fact that the two boys were gay, but probably still a little shaky on their feelings of sexual activity. He treated his relationship with Tom as purely as he could, keeping the snuggles chaste and the kisses short.
After he put his clothes into his plastic hamper, he threw on a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt and made his way downstairs to get something to eat. He quietly shut his door, since it was almost midnight and didn't want to wake his sisters, who always slept lightly. He turned towards the steps when he suddenly heard his parents arguing down the hall. They were literally screaming at each other. He paused, his paw on the doorknob as he listened, knowing he shouldn't, but doing it anyways. He was sure they were talking about him, since his name was sprinkled throughout the conversation, along with the words "fairy" and "sodomy". He winced and closed his eyes, the words stinging harder than they ever had from the bigots he met along his lifetime as a gay male. Those words leaving his parent's lips felt like bricks being laid on his heart, one by one, crushing his spirit. He wanted to leave, but couldn't move as he listened...
"...can't be easy on him! We raised him to be a God fearing young man, not to throw all his beliefs aside and follow the path of evil!"
"You're making this all too black and white James! He's our son! We can't abandon him now! Yes, he says he's gay, but he can change. There's this program that the church is running over the summer called 'Love in Christ' that takes confused sodomites and teaches them about the way of God and they come out clear and straight. I figured out that it will..."
"Oh! You know that at his age, he's going to resist that program at all costs! In the end, he'll just lie to us again!"
"Now don't you dare say that! Alex has never once lied to us in almost four years. He's been responsible even when he didn't have to! Do you know what other boys in his decision do when they're in a family like ours? We're rich James! But other teens like Alex go out and party themselves to death. They drink, do drugs and get girls pregnant and what has Alex done? He's just confused is all!"
"Don't treat me like a moron Brenda! I know that! For Pete's sakes, I know! But at least those boys aren't fairies!"
"So you'd rather Alex have been partying and drinking instead of being confused but responsible?!"
"Of course! At least those things are only liver damage and some such! I mean, in the Bible, the prodigal son was forgiven, but in 1st Corinthians God says that all sodomites go straight to hell, no forgiveness! We're gonna be lucky if God EVER forgives him for the immoral and sick things what he's done!!"
Alex whined softly into his paw as he heard his father yell, his tears flowing anew again. We're gonna be lucky if God EVER forgives him... He had enough and released his door handle.
Finally he heard his mother reply. "You're right, but there's still hope he can be forgiven. I'm sure Jesus will forgive him if he simply admits to being wrong and confused. God is all understanding, after all. I'm sure he won't send Alex to hell for being confused."
James sighed loudly, his voice muted by the oak door that separated him from his son. "How much does the program cost?"
Alex looked up, finding his two sisters standing there in the hallway, clutching their plushie animals in their arms as they watched their oldest brother cry.
Mary, the taller one, spoke up first as she clutched securely to a tiger plush that reminded Alex of his boyfriend.
"What's the matter Alex?" She asked, a look of fear in her eyes. She had never seen her brother cry. Ever.
Alex tried to play it cool and wiped his eyes with his paws. "Oh, it's nothing Mary. Allergies. This guy at work...he...uh...worked on a farm and got some pollen in my eyes."
He lied. He never lied.
Mary nodded and hugged her tiger harder. Ben. That was his name. The little tiger smiled back at Alex, as if mocking him for lying to his younger sister. Alex stepped forward, concentrating himself on drying his tears to appear strong to his sisters.
"Go back to bed you two. It's waaaaaay late." He managed to say cheerfully.
The two cubs nodded and, leaving a kiss on each cheek for their sibling, crawled into their separate beds. Alex closed the door as quietly as he could, leaving it open just a crack to let in some light so they wouldn't get scared. As soon as he turned around, however, he was met with the angry and demanding faces of his parents. His father had his arms crossed but his mother looked beaten and in true despair. Alex whimpered since he knew what was coming.
"Downstairs. Now Alex." His father demanded. The wolf simply nodded and turned around, making his way down the steps into the kitchen.
His parents took seats opposite the table from him, their eyes full of accusation and general hatred. Alex fidgeted in his seat, trying to organize his thoughts as his father laid his paws on the table and began to lecture.
"Alex, your mother told me what happened on Friday. She told me exactly what you said." He paused, as if that would somehow come as a shock to the young wolf. Alex didn't blink. "And I have to say, I'm extremely disappointed in you. How dare you do something like that to us? What have we done to deserve this type of outright rebellion from you?"
Alex stayed silent. He didn't have the emotional or physical energy to fight back. He hadn't eaten in over 10 hours and had run probably as many miles tonight back and forth across the restaurant. His father seemingly didn't expect a reply and leaned back as if in triumph at his son's acceptance to his statement. Brenda spoke next.
"We know at your age you must be very confused Alex. At your age though, most furs just go out and experiment with alcohol and drugs, but what you chose was much, much worse."
Alex looked up at the obvious fallacy of the statement, but remained quiet.
James continued his wife's thoughts. "Do you know how many times in the Bible that God calls sodomy a sin? Even in the book of Genesis, God outlines the plan for mankind as man plus woman equals love. Man plus man equals sin and you know this."
Alex averted his eyes. He waited for his parents to finish before he responded.
Brenda leaned over the table in Alex's direction. "Alex, we're not angry with you..."
Alex ground his teeth at that statement. And calling me a fairy is not an angry statement? Yeah right...
Brenda smiled sweetly and continued, misinterpreting her son's obvious anger as a sign of resignation to his fate. "We've decided to send you to a retreat. Alot of furs have gone to this camp thinking they were gay, but leaving straight because they realized the truth of that lifestyle. It's a psychological disorder Alex. It's been proven."
The wolf curled his lips in fury. That "fact" had been disproved almost forty years ago.
"You're sick Alex and the camp will cure you. Alot of ex-sodomites have gone through similar programs and admitted that they were just confused instead of actually homosexuals. They even started families after that based on God's plan." James continued.
Brenda finished her husband's thought, laying her hand on top of his. "Alex, homosexuality is tearing this country to pieces. All our moral problems have been caused by gay activist groups and they're even destroying the sanctity of marriage, God's most holy union of man and woman-"
Alex finally could stand it no longer. He had to say something. All the lies about gays, all the misinterpretations of the Bible, and all the doctrine of anti-gay literature was finally building up to a head. He raised his head proudly and looked his father directly in the eye.
"Stop lying to me." He stated, as dead-pan as he could.
His parents leaned back in their chairs, taken aback at the statement. James blinked in confusion before he answered.
"We're telling the truth young man, don't you dare tell me we're lying to you. That's a assault on our character as people-"
Alex brought his paws onto the table to steady himself. He was wading into dangerous territory here, but he needed to continue, not matter what the cost. He had to fight for what he believed in and what he knew was right. Antique beliefs may guide some people's lives, but they wouldn't guide his anymore. He needed truth.
"I'm not saying you're doing it on purpose, i.e. restricting the truth from me because you don't want me to know otherwise. I'm saying your information is wrong and misinterpreted." Alex stopped to watch his parent's reaction. They didn't start screaming, so that was a good sign.
James sighed deeply, seemingly already prepared for this reaction. "Then tell us, what mistruths did we tell you?"
Alex smiled as he began to release the pent up knowledge about his own lifestyle versus the lies that his parents were seemingly saturated with. "First of all, psychologists used to believe that being gay was a disorder of the brain, but sometime in the sixties, that was repealed. Now, all independent studies show that homosexuality is determined by genes and certain areas of the brain. A neurologist...I forget his name...Simon Le-something found that an area of the brain called 'hypothalamus' was different in gays versus straights. This is a fundamental biological difference Dad. You can't change that."
James held up his paw to silence his son so he could respond to his statement. "But we all know that those studies were done by secular doctors who just wanted to find some difference so they could boost their careers and help the militant pro-gay movements. Besides, what about the ex-gays who have come out of that lifestyle?"
Alex grinned smugly. He was well prepared for that statement. He had been studying pro and anti-gay arguments for years. "Dad, the people who have come out of those programs usually revert back to their old lifestyles because being straight isn't what they are, and the ones that stay so-called-straight are doing it simply because of fear of hellfire or because they weren't really gay to start off with. I bet that if that doctor did studies on their brains, he'd find out that they share more similarities with straight males than with gays."
Brenda stuck her hand up. "Can I say something? Alex, I'm a neurologist, and I've seen those studies. There are some things in it that don't add up."
Alex shrugged. "But Mom, even in your own studies that you've spearheaded, didn't you have some things in your reports that didn't add up? Mistakes? Nobody is perfect you know, but every one of those psychologists and neurologists has found similar things. It's not a disorder."
Brenda quieted down and let her husband speak. Alex chalked one point up for his argument.
"We're getting off the point Alex..." James said suddenly, trying to avert the subject into less scientific territory, which he always did when he knew he was outmatched. He did the same thing when Alex was arguing the merits of stem-cell research. His dad simply ended the conversation by saying "Abortion is wrong. It's murder. God hates murderers."
Alex cut off his dad's easy escape. "Don't you dare tell me that 'well, Christians have done their own studies and found the exact opposite'. That's like saying 'the KKK has done their own studies and found that all non-whites are bad people.'."
James glared at his son and slammed his fist on the table angrily. Alex almost winced. "Don't you dare say things like that! It's nothing of the sort! And it's true. James Dobson said in his latest broadcast that he found evidence of bribery and outright fabrications in those so-called 'scientific' studies. He's a man of God, so he doesn't have a reason to lie!"
Alex once again smiled. "But dad, the KKK believes that they are men of God too. So does that make them right?"
James suddenly slammed his paws down on the table and threw himself out of his seat, standing and screaming at the top of his lungs. "THAT IS A LIE! GOD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE KKK! STOP COMPARING THEIR RACIST MESSAGE WITH THE REAL WORD OF GOD!!!"
Alex looked upstairs quickly as his father screamed, seeing two little sets of eyes peering out of the door to his sister's room down at them, obviously woken by the screams.
"Shh! Dad, you're going to wake Mary and Vicky." He whispered. His father looked behind him, finding his daughters looking down at them with their inquisitive and innocent eyes.
"Go back to bed girls." He stated, and shooed his wife upstairs to tuck in the twins. He turned back to his son, who was sitting there, a smug look on his face.
Alex smiled wide. He knew he was winning. Even if he was thrown out of the house tonight, he knew he had told the truth, no matter what his parents believed. James marched away and came back with a small stack of magazines, pamphlets and books, all emblazoned with the names of popular Christian theologians. He slammed the stack in front of Alex and dropped the Bible on top.
"Look at all that research Alex. You tell me it's all lying." James said, his own smug smile coming to his muzzle, thinking he had somehow now won. He picked up the Bible and waved it in front of his son's face. "And this! This is the final word! You tell me this is lying."
Alex looked past the book and at his father again. "Dad, in the middle ages the Bible was used as an excuse to burn people alive as witches and warlocks. Now it's used to persecute gays and tell them how they're immoral and sick in the head." The wolf reached out and grabbed the Bible from his father and waved it back at him. "Do you also know, if you followed the teachings of the Bible to a T, that mom would have to sit quietly in church and not be allowed to do anything legal? You would also have to not eat any pork and burn your tithe instead of giving to the church. The Bible talks about burnt offerings, not giving tithes to the church. So you'd have to burn your money."
James groaned in frustration. He wasn't convinced, and was simply getting frustrated at his "thick-headed" son instead of realizing that he was the one being thick headed.
"Alex, you can't just say 'all these people don't know what they're talking about'. Everyone in this stack of books has a doctorate..."
Alex laid the Bible tenderly on the table. Just because he didn't believe in the interpretations of others didn't mean that he disrespected the teachings of the Bible all together.
"But in what dad?" He asked blankly. "I've looked at the resumes of these guys and not a single one is an independent, non-religious doctor. If their message was so 'scientifically accurate' then why has no 'secular' doctor come forward with supporting evidence? Why is it that the only people who find 'evidence' to support their claims a religious doctor?"
James tried to say something poignant and expose a lie in his son's argument, but he couldn't. Now that he thought of it, every doctor that had put a study together for whatever was in that pile of books always said that they were a "Christian", or had a doctorate from some protestant church. Not a single one's resume had a simple PhD from Harvard or Yale. It was always "Doctor of Christian Teachings" from "XYZ Church". He froze and simply averted his attention to his wife as she came downstairs as his mind raced to find a way to answer his son.
"Dad, I dare you. I dare you to just go to the library or to the American Psychology Association's website and find a single credible instance where one of the people in this stack has been proven right or where they really did accept bribes just to further pro-gay campaigns. I dare you to find more than two or three instances. I admit, one or two of the studies are flawed because of greed or stupidity, but the other ten thousand are credible. And I dare you to prove one of these guys in this stack of Christian books right."
James simply stood there. His son was being completely rational. He was offering a challenge that didn't revolve around feelings or beliefs. He was asking for proof! Well, he was well attuned to always proving his belief's right!
"All right. I accept." James said, holding out his paw. Alex shook it softly. "But you have to find a way to disprove all this science here in front of you with facts and I don't want to see your sources as some foundation for gay studies or something like that. In two weeks-"
"Dad?" Alex said smiling up at him. "I already have. Over the past five years I've been studying this in my spare time and I already wrote an extensive report exploring the beliefs of Christianity and your heroes versus facts through scientific study."
James sighed. "Then give me two weeks to refute your 'facts' and we'll talk then."
Alex grinned widely. He knew there was no way that science would be trumped by arcane beliefs this time. James looked at the clock and headed off to bed, leaving Alex with the stack of anti-gay propaganda in the dark.