By Tony Gosgnach
The InterimDavid Morrison is living proof that an individual can move to being “beyond gay.”

The former homosexual activist, who has written a book on his experiences, also with the title Beyond Gay, was in Toronto recently to give a public talk hosted by the Mississauga, Ont.-based apostolate, Precious Blood and Life. According to the apostolate’s president, Brian Moccia, the event was “an evening of discovery,” to learn about God’s intentions for human sexuality and the fact that persons living with same-sex attraction do not have to be defined by the phenomenon, nor do they have to act upon it.

Morrison is a American speaker and writer who currently serves as founder and moderator of Courage Online, an internet support community for those living with some degree of same-sex attraction and who want to do so chastely. He has also written on human rights, population, life and chastity issues.

Morrison was in a sexually active, monogamous homosexual relationship for seven years, during which time he accumulated many of the trappings that the homosexual community smiles upon – he had a good job, made good money, vacationed in “gay spots,” had a steady partner, co-owned a home with him and was “out” with his family.

“Yet, I was really unhappy and miserable for no reason I could discern,” he said. “I flirted with the idea of finding someone else on the side, but nothing seemed to help.”

During that time, he also began to see friends die from the ravages of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In time, 19 people he knew passed away from the malady.

It was while at a barbecue that he revealed his malaise to an acquaintance who surprisingly suggested that Morrison “pray about it.” At first, Morrison thought the acquaintance was acting flippantly, but as he found later, a seed had been planted.

Several months afterward, Morrison found himself alone in his home, after his partner had left for work. “It popped into my head that I could pray then,” he said. “I stopped in the bedroom … got down on my knees and said the classic skeptic’s prayer, ‘Lord, I don’t even know if you exist, but if you do, I sure need you in my life.'”

Morrison said he experienced a feeling that God was in the room and “that He loved me and always had. Nothing’s been the same ever since.”

He soon began attending an Episcopal church headed by a conservative pastor who Morrison expected would “throw me out on my ear.” Instead, he found the clergyman very generous, listening to Morrison’s story of homosexual behaviour and concluding that although he couldn’t affirm Morrison’s sexual practices, he could affirm him as a brother in Christ.

In preparing him for baptism, the pastor challenged Morrison to put his whole self, sexuality and all, on the altar as an offering to God. Morrison accepted the challenge, and began to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship. The first line of the book got Morrison thinking: “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”

Morrison had to consider whether he was seriously taking up the cost of discipleship, which in turn led him to confront his partner with the news that their sexual relationship was ending.

It has now been a decade since Morrison made that move, and while both he and his partner continue to live in the same residence, both have maintained their chastity during that time.

“As a culture, we’ve lost the notion of a committed friendship that’s not sexualized,” he said, adding that his partner is due to be received into the Catholic church this spring, joining Morrison himself, who joined several years ago.

Morrison spoke highly of the Catholic ministry Courage, which tends to individuals who want to live a chaste life despite experiencing same-sex attraction.

“People living with same-sex attraction can and should be saints,” he said, referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teachings on the subject. “As human beings, we have inclinations to do wrong …(but) we should not reduce a person to his or her sexual attractions.”

Morrison said it is his belief that same-sex attraction and homosexual behaviour can arise from a number of factors, including a failure to identify with the same-sex parent. In his case, he thought a desire for attention was what propelled his involvement with other males.

“Guys paid attention to me and wanted me around. I was important to them. From a kid’s point of view, I liked all that.” He rejected that notion that one is “hardwired” as a homosexual or that it is in the genes.

As far as ministering to people with same-sex attraction, or those with opposing views on the subject, Morrison urged that a spirit of humility, authenticity and freedom prevail. “Our responsibility is to present as clear, generous, concise and accurate version of the Gospel as we can. How people react to it, and whether they accept it or not, is not our responsibility. It’s between them and the Holy Spirit.”