Kevin E. Taylor found a passion for church almost as early as he discovered an attraction to boys. Baptized at 10-years-old at a small Baptist Church in the Southwest section of Washington D.C., he fondly remembers the congregation’s blind, piano-playing pastor, who preached about God’s love with the fervor of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He said it never crossed his young mind that his sexual orientation and his Christian faith would one day come into conflict.
But when Taylor turned 17, his beloved pastor died, and a new reverend–with a new message–took the pulpit. “It was the first time I heard God and hate in the same sentence,” Taylor said about the new pastor’s fiery rants. “I could not wrap my young mind around why the same God who created and loved everybody now hated so many people.”
Taylor stuck it out until the situation finally came to a head. “One Sunday, he turned the rifle on me — on gay people,” he said. “I remember when he started up, I looked at my mother. She turned to me and knowingly said, ‘Bye, baby.’ And I walked out of the church.”