Jessica Alba revealed her true motivation for leaving the church during a candid interview with The Daily Beast on Monday. Alba grew up Catholic but converted to Evangelicalism before abandoning religion altogether, considering herself to be simply spiritual. She has spoken before about the church's treatment of women as a factor that made her uncomfortable, but never has she mentioned the church's stance on being gay as another reason for her discomfort, until Monday's interview.
Alba opened up about her relationship with a bisexual boy when she was 16. She said that while she was at the Atlantic Theater Company in Vermont, she fell in love with the boy, who was a ballet dancer. Alba said:
"We used to go to this gay club and I’d dance with him all night, four nights a week. I was so in love with him and thought, 'There’s no way this guy’s going to hell,' because in my church, it was, 'Anybody who’s gay is going to hell' and 'Premarital sex is evil,' and I thought, 'There’s no chance! This guy is amazing!'"
Alba realized that the anti-LGBT rhetoric of her church conflicted with her deep support of LGBT people. For this and other reasons, Alba made the personal decision to throw religion "right out the window."
Alba's strong support of the LGBT community is nothing new. The actress was present at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in 2006, and again at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in 2009.
However, increasingly more and more LGBT people are learning to reconcile their sexual and gender identities with their religious beliefs and even finding solace and comfort in their religious communities. For example, earlier this summer, the Presbyterian Church of the USA took the progressive step of permitting same-sex marriage within the denomination. And Casey Stegall, despite losing his job at a religious-affiliated Children's Home for being gay, found immense support at the Metropolitan Community Church, an evangelical LGBT denomination. At The Naming Project Summer Camp, a program for Christian youth of all sexual and gender identities, the campers learn that being Christian and being LGBT is not in fact a contradiction.
Most recently, Christian rockstar Vicky Beeching came out to a conservative audience, saying "What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people…rather than abandon it and say it’s broken, I want to be part of the change."
Christian allies of the LGBT community have also been coming forward. Dan Haseltine, lead singer of the Christian folk band Jars of Clay tweeted a bunch of messages proclaiming his support of equality.
I don't particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is "wrong." I care more about how it says we should treat people.
— Dan Haseltine (@scribblepotemus) April 22, 2014
Pop sensation Demi Lovato even opened her newest music video (which was shot at the LA Pride Parade where she was Grand Marshall) saying "You don't have to hate because my Jesus loves all."
Every individual's religious beliefs are personal, and support for the LGBT community does not necessarily conflict with religion. This was simply Alba's personal journey which she so honestly shared.