Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 15, 2012

UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER: Four perspectives on homosexuality and religion

About this series: Throughout the past several years there have been many opinions shared about homosexuality within the community. This two-day series attempts to shed some light on where those opinions come from. — Editor

GOSHEN — For local businessman Eric Kanagy, religion isn’t a large part of his life now.

Though there were many factors, one of the major reasons why he doesn’t attend church is that he doesn’t feel welcome because he is homosexual.

“There’s a belief that gay people aren’t equal,” he said. “It’s something I fundamentally disagree with.”

Kanagy, who grew up in a Mennonite church, said he feels like many religious individuals express their opinions as based in religion, though in reality he feels like they are based on someone’s opinions.

Though he’s found a welcoming community in Goshen from Goshen College and other outlets, he said he still has difficulty with organized religion’s approach to homosexuality.

“What turned me off (from organized religion),” Kanagy explained, “is that I would be different because this part of me is fundamentally sinful.”

Kanagy was involved with the proposed amendment to Goshen’s civil rights ordinance voted on in September 2009 by the City Council. The amendment, which did not pass, would have added sexual orientation to the city’s nondiscrimination clause. Kanagy was a major voice in support of the ordinance, and he spoke at the open hearing of the City Council meeting that filled Goshen High School’s auditorium to capacity.

“I was really angry for about five minutes (after the decision came down),” he said. “I was upset about the decision, but then I realized that I had finally said that this is what’s important for us. We had pastors, and old people, and young people, and us, all standing together.”

Kanagy said he would like to ask people who are in opposition of homosexuality if they know anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT). It’s often with this first-hand knowledge that opinions change, he said.

“It’s transformative, on a level,” he said. “A lot of times it takes a family member or close friend coming out. It’s the same as race or gender — you are born that way. Why, if you can choose, would you choose a path that’s more difficult?”

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