Church & Hate

Nick Brown reads the Bible every morning to begin his dayText & Photography by D. Giles Clasen

For most of Nick Brown’s life the thing standing between him and true love was a deep belief in God. 

“It occurred to me that the word ‘gay’ might apply to me when I was fifteen,” Brown said.  “I was terrified. Just terrified. I’ve never prayed so much in my life. ‘God, take it away, take it away, take it away,’” he said. “I’d known that I was attracted to guys. I’d just never really realized that that attraction was also sexual.”

For Brown, who is deeply religious, being gay and Christian became a defining struggle in his life, a source of confusion and empowerment, but the process has not been perfect.  Nor is it complete.

Brown’s life is like a narrative exploration of one question: is it possible to be gay and Christian? According to a 2009 Gallup poll, 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian, putting this question at the heart of many people’s lives.

And churches fall on all sides of the issue. A Canadian organization called the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT), which publishes the website, have been following the debate closely. Their website lists the positions of 47 Christian denominations in North America. “Of the thousands of Christian denominations in the United States, it is the mainline faith groups who are most actively discussing homosexuality,” OCRT said.


Read More

The Psychology of Hate

By Patrick Naylis

Illustration by Rob Shetterly (

Derrick Jensen is an American author and environmental activist. In 2008, he won the Hoffer Award and was named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” His 2003 book, “The Culture of Make Believe,” was a finalist for the Lukas Prize Project Award for Exceptional Works of Nonfiction, sponsored by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. “The Culture of Make Believe” explored issues of hate and violence in our culture.

As a launching point for our thematic issue this month, Patrick Naylis talked with Jensen by phone about the issue of hate. Whether you agree with him or not, Jensen offers a thought provoking interview about some of the most controversial issues in American culture. He’s not shy to state an opinion, and we hope you’re not as well. Our hope is to generate a discussion about these issues. Share your thoughts online at, or submit a letter to the editor at Comments and feedback, both supportive and dissenting, will be published in the May issue of the Denver VOICE.


Read More